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10 Sci-Fi Movie Endings That Completely Ruined The Story


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Sci-fi films are known for their ability to build worlds and explore possible futures, but all of that can come to naught when the ending ruins what came before. Sci-fi is an incredibly flexible movie genre that can feature aliens, distant futures, technology beyond the possible, and stories that push the limits of reality, but even with all of that, it can still go wrong. Any movie calls on viewers to suspend their beliefs, and sci-fi does this more than most other genres, aside from fantasy, but it then needs to set out effective limits to give the story boundaries and create tension.

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If a sci-fi film neglects to set up the rules of reality, or, when it is convenient, ignores them all together, it can leave viewers with a sour taste. This is again made worse when a movie has so much promise and potential throughout, only to falter at the last hurdle. Thankfully, some sci-fi stories then go on to create alternative endings as a means of damage control, but it doesn’t erase what came before.

10 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Forced Connection To The Franchise

Of course, 10 Cloverfield Lane was going to be connected to the earlier Cloverfield movie, but the movie would have been better if it was left as a standalone story. When a young woman gets into a car accident and wakes up trapped in an underground bunker with two men telling her the world outside has ended, she is understandably hesitant. The movie examines her distrust of these men and the dark past of one of them to create a gripping horror story, but the sci-fi element only comes in at the end when aliens suddenly enter the picture to force a connection to the wider franchise.

9 Star Trek: Generations (1994)

Captain Kirk’s Death

Star Trek Generations Kirk dies

Star Trek: Generations was the movie that was meant to pass the torch from the original series to The Next Generation. However, when the movie gave Captain Kirk such an anticlimactic death after almost 30 years in the captain’s chair, fans were not happy. It makes sense to have his character retired permanently, but the ending didn’t give enough respect to the character. The original ending had Kirk shot in the back, but this didn’t test well, so the studio revised the scene to have him fall from a bridge collapse and be fatally wounded before delivering a final moving speech. Marginally better, but still a lacking end for the heroic captain.

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8 A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

David’s Final Day

A.I. artificial intelligence David looking sad and holding a teddy bear

Stephen Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence is an incredible and evocative film that resonated with general audiences and critics alike, but considering the film was initially being put together by Stanley Kubrick (via Variety), the happy, dreamy ending feels somewhat misplaced. Throughout the film, David (Hayley Joel Osment) desperately longs to be a real boy and thus worthy of his adopted mother’s love. While he comes to terms with his identity as a robot and searches for a magical blue fairy, David continues to chase an impossible dream and suffers a tragic end.

Steven Spielberg then delivers a happy twist ending 2000 years later when aliens give him a perfect day with his mother restored to life. Sweet as this ending is, aliens and an imaginary fairytale ending lessen the impact of the story as a whole. It’s not that it is necessarily a bad ending, but it kind of creates an entirely different story that feels distant from the lessons of the original storyline up to that point.

7 Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise Of Skywalker (2019)

Invalidating And Repeating The Original Trilogy

Rey and Ben Solo wielding their blue lightsabers in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker is evidently flawed in several ways, but for the sequel trilogy to build toward its epic conclusion and resolve in the way it did, was a slap in the face to long-term fans of the franchise. Palpatine miraculously survived his fate in Episode VI, Ben and Rey become magically intertwined as a dyad of The Force, and Rey is revealed as the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine. The ending feels jarring, confusing, and like everything up to that point was a misdirect. Hopefully, the future of the franchise will be better.

6 I Am Legend (2007)

Neville Needlessly Dies

I Am Legend was controversial for its theatrical ending and the discarded I Am Legend alternative ending, which has now become official canonically with a sequel following its story. While both endings are emotive, the theatrical ending also seems pointless. In the same way that Rose has more than enough room on the plank at the end of Titanic, the small coal chute that Neville places Anna and Ethan in has more than enough room to keep him safe too. Sure, the Darkseekers would continue to attack, but he could have tossed the grenade into the room and locked himself in the chute. Otherwise, the monsters would still need to clear out by dawn.

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5 Lucy (2014)

100% Brain Power Equals God

Lucy Scarlett Johansson Monkey

Lucy is a movie based on the myth of humans becoming superhuman when they unlock the ability to use all of their brains, which already put it on the edge. However, the ending when Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) unlocks 100% of her brain and suddenly becomes a time-traveling, all-seeing, all-powerful being, goes beyond the limits of any sort of reality. The movie was entertaining, but the ending did not hold up.

4 Passengers (2016)

Unearned Happily Ever After

Passengers images - Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence

Passengers has some serious star power with an awesome cast and the story is certainly an engaging one, but the ending lets the whole thing down. When Jim (Chris Pratt) is awakened alone on a transport ship 30 years into a 120-year voyage through space, he struggles in solitude. After a year, he decides to awaken another passenger, concealing the truth as a malfunction like the one that awoke him, and the pair fall in love. Eventually, the truth comes out, and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) is understandably upset, but the film just moves past this without ever truly resolving it.

3 Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

Spectacular Start But Progressively Worsens

Valerian Movie Dane Dehaan

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the epitome of a visual delight, but the story is incredibly lacking. Unfortunately, the lead actors struggled to embody the roles that called for far more charismatic individuals and the film ended up going nowhere. While the entire thing is a spectacle and full of engaging visuals and exciting aliens, worlds, and ideas around every corner, the story that is presented is limp and exhausting. It begins tremendously and carries that same excitement for a while, but by the end, it’s tired and struggling to figure out how to resolve the epic sci-fi, resulting in a complete lack of an ending.

2 Life (2017)

They Sent The Wrong Pod Home

Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson in Life Movie Poster

2017’s Life featured a great ensemble cast with Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson, but that doesn’t save its hopeless and hollow ending. After fighting off an alien life form that proves to be a terrible threat to the humans on board the International Space Station, the crew attempts to dispose of the threat in an escape pod. The aim is to send it into deep space, while another escape pod will bring Dr. Miranda (Ferguson) back to Earth. The film chooses to take the less creative method and ends with the alien pod landing on Earth, obviously hinting at the imminent extinction of humankind.

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10 Great Sci-Fi Movies Not Based On Books

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1 The Book Of Eli (2010)

Reciting The Bible From Memory

The Book of Eli is a clever dystopian sci-fi movie set in a post-apocalyptic world. Eli (Denzel Washington) is on a mission to deliver a mysterious book to a place he feels drawn to in the far West. While some viewers may be dissatisfied with the reveal of the book that could supposedly give man a greater power over other people, or the reveal of Eli being blind as a twist at the end, neither of these elements ruin the story. They may be a stretch, but they are clever and based on reality.

The real issue comes from Eli’s miraculous ability to memorize the entire bible. He recites this to others who record the words he speaks and they compile a new printing of the book, but as much as the film stretches reality, this single feat is the most unbelievable. Sci-fi films can clearly stray from reality in many ways, and with a proper foundation, Eli could have been set up to have an extraordinary memory, but this comes out of nowhere and unfortunately spoils a perfectly good movie.

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