THAT WAS THE 1990s - PART ONE  (1990-1994)


Total Recall


The new decade jumped off like a hangover of the 1980s - which shouldn't really come as a surprise. Therefor the most popular - and probably best as well - sci-fi movie of the year was a typical 'Eighties Arnold Scwarzenegger (still riding the crest of popularity - before he started fooling around with kiddies' comedies and did what he did best, namely action movies) vehicle. 

What made the film better than most of Arnie's efforts (like Commando, Red Heat, etc.) was the typical Paul Verhoeven touch: ultra-violent to the extreme with a viscously black sense of humour. Add to this a dizzying script based on a short story by Philip K. Dick and you have a real crowd-pleaser . . .

Edward Scissorhands 

Batman director Tim Burton showed us what he was capable of with this whimsical and clever fairy tale of sorts. A variation on the Frankenstein theme, it cast teenage idol Johnny Depp in an unlikely and eccentric role showing that he wasn't really interested in any roles that'll enhance his sex symbol status, setting a precedent for the rest of his output for the 'Nineties.

Back to the Future Part III
(Last of the Back to the Future movies, set in the Wild West, it delivered on audience expectations of silly fun . . .)

Circuitry Man
(Cyberpunk video cheapie gets by on sheer energy…)

(Scientist left for dead returns as 1930s style superhero - directed by Sam Raimi of Evil Dead 2 fame)

(Med students "fake" death to see what it's like . . .)

Gremlins 2 - The New Batch
(Gremlins go on post-modernist rampage in New York Donald Trump-style high rise . . .)

The Handmaid's Tale
(Allegory about future society in which women are treated as breeding machines . . .)

Jacob's Ladder
(Exceptional horror/sci-fi tale showed that director Adrian Lynn need not churn out stupid sex-pot boilers like Fatal Attraction and 9 1/2 Weeks)

The NeverEnding Story Part II: The Next Chapter
(Title says it all - sequel to 1984's NeverEnding Story…)

Predator 2
(Alien hunter beats up Mel Gibson's Lethal Weapon partner - badly . . .)

RoboCop 2
(RoboCop in pursuit of drug dealers led by kid . . .)
(Carnivore mutated worms terrorize small hicksville . . . )


Terminator 2 - Judgment Day


The first real glimpse into what digital advances would be possible perhaps came with the liquid creature in The Abyss in the 1980s, but the most stunning example of what was to come was the liquid metal Terminator of this even-more- successful -than-its-predecessor sequel. 

Cleverly throwing the whole 1980s action movie genre around by making Arnie a pacifist (of sorts), this movie was Hollywood produce at its most capable; boasting the type of stunts and special effects that only a huge budget can accomplish.

Highlander II - the Quickening 

Hollywood at its worst. Subpar acting, special effects, storyline, etc. this unnecessary sequel almost destroyed whatever fond memories fans may have had of the cult original; but worse was yet to come . . .

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
(Airhead American teenagers outwit Death . . .)

(French flat dwellers subsist on handymen hired to run the place . . .)

Eve of Destruction 
(Dutch female robot goes on killing spree, former tap dancer has to stop her . . .)

Naked Lunch
(Talking anus!)

The Rocketeer
(1930s superhero with jetpack - but most guys just remembers Jennifer Connelly's cleavage . . .)

Star Trek VI - The Undiscovered Country
(A fond farewell to the original Star Trek cast. From now on the Next Generation would take over, but this movie reminded us of the original magic that enticed several generations of fans.)

Until The End Of The World
(Mistimed German flick has them dismantling the Berlin wall at the eve of the new millennium . . .)

(Male and female prisoner teams up to escape from high-tech jail . . .)


Batman Returns


It bombed at the box office - badly! But Burton's dark vision turned out to be the definitive vision of the Batman universe. Not really for kids at all - but rather adult fans of graphic novels. Later attempts to lighten up the material by Joel Schumacher would only lead to disaster…

Blade Runner - The Director's Cut 

While making a point of not including any re-issues here, a special mention should be made of this particular version of the early 1980s cult favourite starring Harrison Ford that actually made it to big screens across the world giving fans the chance to finally see it as it was supposed to be seen . . .

Memoirs of An Invisible Man

Or at least the most disappointing considering it was made by the one and only John Carpenter . . .

Alien 3
(Ripley dies in this one - believe it or not!)

Disaster In Time
(Something strange about tourists at a hotel . . .)

(Emilio Estevez being chased around by Mick Jagger. Yeah, I know . . .)

Lawnmower Man
(Mentally retarded gardener turned into Cyberjobe by James Bond - or something like that . . .)

(Soft focus shots of Robert Redford leading a group of hackers . . .)

Split Second
(Alien clone monster hanging around in partially submerged London of the future . . .)

Universal Soldier 
(Muscle man Dolph Lundgren eats raw meat in supermarket with muzak playing in the background.)


Jurassic Park 

Not that good really when you think about it. The characters weren't, er, particularly fleshed out and the plot - of humans being chased around by monsters - wasn't exactly hot either. 

But with its excellent sound and computer-generated special effects utilised to bring dinosaurs back to cinematic life, this movie paved the way for what is probably the biggest revolution in film-making the 1990s: CGI. Later it would be used to make the Titanic float again and bring entire alien civilizations to life in the first Star Wars movie in more than 16 years.

Alas, whilst CGI meant much cheaper and better special effects, it also proved that special effects alone a movie not make - as is evidenced by the likes of Spawn and Wing Commander.

The truth is that some of the model work of sinking ships in the old 'Seventies WWII movie Tora Tora Tora were more realistic than some shots in James Cameron's 1997 Titanic . . .

RoboCop 3 

This franchise hit rock bottom with this entry aimed solely at kids. It couldn't get any worse - and luckily no-one in Hollywood were intent on proving us wrong . . .

Army of Darkness
(Klaatu Barato cough cough! Okay, did you get that?)

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
(Animated Batman faces animated Phantasm villain . . .)

Demolition Man
(So how exactly does one use the three sea shells?)

(Computer warden peeks in on prisoners' wet dreams . . .)

Ghost In the Machine
(Serial killer downloaded into the Internet plays havoc with family's domestic appliances . . .)

Groundhog Day
("I Got You, Babe . . .")

(Sci-fi cheapie gets androids mixed up with cyborgs . . . )

(Androgynous Elizabethan refuses to die . . .)

Trapped In Space
(Astronauts get space ship's oxygen tank ruptured by passing meteorite . . .)

Wild Palms
(Cyberpunk TV series with villain that is a cross between Ross Perot and L. Ron Hubbard . . .)


Ed Wood

This affectionate homage to Ed Wood, who is almost universally considered to be the worst movie director ever having conceived such "cult favourites" as Plan 9 From Outer Space remains immanently re-watchable. Quirky and eccentric it was everything the year's big sci-fi box office hit wasn't . . .

Highlander III - The Final Dimension 

Call it the most resilient franchise ever - because despite this huge stink bomb there are rumours of yet another big screen Highlander movie - this time starring the guy from TV and of course Christopher Lambert who must be desperately needing the money in star in shit like this . . .

Body Snatchers
(Second remake of 1950s classic . . .)

Deep Red
(Dark alleys, people being chased around . . .)

Escape from Absalom
(GoodFellas star stuck on island prison with TV's Frank Black . . .)

The Hidden
(Shape-shifting alien predates Fallen . . .)

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
(Helena Bonham Carter is . .. the Bride of Frankenstein! Robert de Niro is . . . Frankenstein's monster! Kenneth Branagh is Doctor Frankenstein!)

(Dark alleys, people being chased around . . .)

The Puppet Masters
(Heinlein alien invasion tale that predates Invasion of the Body Snatchers finally gets big screen treatment . . .)

(Aliens crash-landed at Roswell! Oh, you knew that . . )

Star Trek - Generations
(Vaguely disappointing first big screen outing for TV's Next Generation crew.)

(The year's big sci-fi hit at the box office. This movie not only cemented the careers of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, its success single-handedly revived science fiction at the cinemas - a genre that suffered a low-point on the big screens in the early-1990s and no longer seemed bankable. Because StarGate was so hugely popular 1995 was to see more than your average number of sci-fi movies - something it shouldn't exactly be thanked for considering the quality of those offerings . . .
Me? I wasn't particularly crazy about it - and when I saw it again on the telly a while back I pulled a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and annoyed everyone around me with my bad puns about American GIs coming in peace . . .)

(A not bad Jean Claude van Damme outing - especially when considering his previous output .



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