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THE BEST AND WORST OF 1998



1998 hasn't been a very good year for big screen sci-fi. The problem is that Hollywood doesn't really want to invest huge amounts of money into something original and new so instead prefers to recycle old proven formulas. The result is that your average, let's say, Babylon 5, episode was much more interesting than the entire Godzilla.

There is hope however: audiences seem to be tiring of such formula-driven affairs as the poor box office showings of Godzilla, Species II, Soldier and Sphere ultimately showed. However, a gem such as Dark City simply vanished without a trace while the incredibly derivative Armageddon went on to become one of the year's biggest hits. Also, the above-average big screen X-Files movie didn't do as well as its studio has hoped. Audiences seem as fickle as ever - both Armageddon and Deep Impact did quite well at the box office proving that audiences doesn't really mind seeing basically the same movie more than once.

Like Calvin said: "Who wants to cope with a new plot anyway?" On the other hand, one of the year's most original movies - The Truman Show - did incredibly well.

Things become bleaker though for the sci-fi genre: strip away the stunning production designs of the Sci-Fi Movie Page's Best Movie of 1998, Dark City, and one is left with the type of story which has been in several old Star Trek episodes. Not to mention those paranoid novels Philip K. Dick wrote back in the 1960s . . .

All in all, 1998 was a bad year for celluloid science fiction.


BEST SCI-FI MOVIE OF 1998:

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DARK CITY

To be honest it was almost a tie between The X-Files: Fight the Future and Dark City. Dark City won out because it would be of bigger appeal to non-X-Files fans. Always being a sucker for cities of the imagination (Metropolis, Blade Runner, Batman, etc.) the result was a foregone conclusion.

RUNNER UP:

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X-FILES: FIGHT THE FUTURE

The big screen X-Files movie proved to have all the Right Summer Stuff that movies like Godzilla simply lacked: intelligence, humour, action, thrills, etc.


WORST SCI-FI MOVIE OF 1998:

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SPECIES II

Also a foregone conclusion. Sleazy, stupid and dumb, Species 2 suffered from the straight-to-video school of filmmaking. They really don't come any worse than this . . .

RUNNER-UP:

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SOLDIER

Except maybe for Soldier which was just stupid and dumb . . .

 


What we also saw this past year:

 

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ARMAGEDDON

Like venereal diseases, Armageddon was also the "gift that keeps on giving". Maybe I'm getting too old for this sort of thing, but this movie was so LOUD that I got a splitting headache from it that lasted me the entire evening . . .

Which stole from:
Countless disaster movies and The Dirty Dozen
Deep Impact
Meteor
Lucifer's Hammer (the Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle novel)


DEEP IMPACT

Proof that "plot doesn't matter". Audiences flocked to see both asteroid-about-to-hit-the-earth movies. They even had the same endings for crying out loud!

Which stole from:
Countless disaster movies
Meteor
Lucifer's Hammer (the Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle novel)


GODZILLA

Instead of Godzilla we got Jurassic Park with just one overgrown dinosaur instead of lots of them . . .

Which stole from:
The 1933 King Kong
Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park: The Lost World
Aliens
Independence Day


LOST IN SPACE

The plot didn't make much sense and audiences were supposedly to just gawk at the flashy special effects and sets. Except even that got dull after a while . . .

Which stole from:
Countless Star Trek episodes
Star Wars
StarGate (the armoured visor)


STAR TREK - INSURRECTION

I'll get to see this next year.

Which probably stole from:
Old Star Trek episodes


SPHERE

Intelligent sci-fi - if you don't watch a lot of movies or ever saw any old Star Trek episodes . . .

Which stole from:
Forbidden Planet
The Abyss
Solaris


THE TRUMAN SHOW

Original and funny, but not strictly sci-fi I suppose. .

Which stole from:
Princess Diana's life




 

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