How do you follow up a classic like Aliens? If you're 20th Century Fox you hire an untested music video director named David Fincher, hand him a piece of shit script about a prison colony, and then brow beat him into producing the worst possible Aliens movie. At least the worst possible Aliens movie until the next one, which would prove to be even worse. After that, well, the aliens retired to fight predators and we all know the result.
Over the years the views of many people about Alien 3 has softened. It shouldn't have. There are redeeming qualities to be found in Fincher's work on the series, but you have to ignore the travesty factor. First among the travesties was killing off two of the four main characters that survived Aliens at the very beginning. Not only do Newt and Hicks die ignobly in the crash of the Sulaco's escape pod, they perish off screen. Ripley and the audience are told that they are dead.
Hicks? Hicks!? HIIIIIIIICKSSS!!!!!
Much has been written about the many screenplays floating around that were considered for Alien 3 and how these scripts might have saved the movie. None of them are really that great and some, like William Gibson's, border on complete insanity. Humans changing into aliens because of a virus? Wooden planets? These are just as stupid as the prison.
On the other hand, Newt and Hicks survived in those scripts, and it's hard to deny that the proud Aliens franchise has never recovered from the lame deaths of Newt and Hicks in those opening minutes of Alien 3. We miss them both and their deaths will forever be remembered as the 10th Most Awful Moment in Science Fiction.
"The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together."- Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars
"The reading's off the chart - over 20,000. Even Master Yoda doesn't have a midichlorian count that high."- Qui-Gon Jin, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
In the original Star Wars trilogy the Force was a mystical energy that suffused all things and could be manipulated and sensed by a Jedi. In the prequel trilogy the Force isn't so much sensed as detected by a CSI blood test and the Jedi Powers are derived from microorganisms inside their DNA. Comparing the two approaches is like comparing years of martial arts training to picking up a floating video game power up.
It also begs the question, has Lucas created a Jedi Master race? They are verifiable as genetically superior to all other lifeforms in the galaxy. It only makes sense for them to rule over the plebes.
Though only a few lines are devoted to midichlorians in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, the damage has been done. Ruining the Force with pseudoscience babble easily takes the 9th slot on our list of Most Awful Moments in Science Fiction.
SciFi Channel Sunday schedule circa 1998
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM Dark Shadows - Count Darcy cries about a dead pigeon.
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM The Incredible Hulk - Bruce Banner fights a racist sheriff.
11:00 AM - NOON Automan - Automan goes on a date with an air hockey table.
NOON - 1:00 PM Earth 2 - The survivors find a pickle in the desert, but it's evil.
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Star Trek The Motion Picture - Kirk and Spock fight the Voyager probe.
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Forever Knight - A vampire pharaoh pleads not guilty to racketeering.
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM Sightings - An excitable white guy sees a UFO shaped like a helicopter.
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Mystery Science Theater 3000 - The gang watches Planet of the Hate Hutch. 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM Highlander - A greasy Frenchman may be more than he seems.
8:00 PM - 9:00 PM The Prisoner - Number Six thinks he escaped, but it's part of a charity pageant for an ailing evil balloon.
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM Ghost Hunters - The team drops a camera when they hear a sound.
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Ghost Hunters - Kip's Infrared finds a cold spot on a wall.
11:00 AM - NOON Scare Tactics - Paid actors react to a man with a chainsaw at a restaurant.
NOON - 1:00 PM Extreme Championship Wrestling - Guys hugging on the floor.
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Rage of the Python - A giant python escapes in a Manhattan high rise.
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Dragon Blast - Survivors of a dragon apocalypse struggle to retake earth..
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Python Fighter - Dean Cain must battle in the post python-apocalypse.
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Terror Turtle - Scientists mate a turtle with a dragon and release a trained giant python to hunt it down. Bruce Boxleitner must stop them both.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
It is said the Lord did write upon the sky, "Only the Most Awful shall be cataloged herein." And a wind did come and blow away the words and turn them into a skull. And the writers did fall upon their knees and give thanks, for yea, the Most Awful was good. Thus the lists were born. Read them, sons and daughters, and be strong.