MIND MELD: Which SciFi Movie Ending Would You Change?

Common sense and statistics say that, even when you think you’re watching a decent SciFi film, you should refrain from celebration until after the end credits – because sometimes movie endings suck. We asked a host of luminaries the following question.

Q: Which SciFi movie ending do you wish you could change?

*** SPOILER WARNING! ***

Some of these answers (and accompanying videos) contain spoilers. But in this case, the answers are more entertaining than the end of the movie anyway, so…spoiler warning redacted. :)

Mike Brotherton
Mike Brotherton is the author of the hard science fiction novels Spider Star (2008) and Star Dragon (2003), the latter being a finalist for the Campbell award. He’s also a professor of astronomy at the University of Wyoming, Clarion West graduate, and founder of the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop for Writers (www.launchpadworkshop.org). He blogs at www.mikebrotherton.com.

First, what makes for a good ending? The hallmark of a great movie ending is that it’s impossible to anticipate while watching it, but seems like the only ending possible in hindsight. It shouldn’t fall prey to sentimentality, at least not overly so, and should follow through with the power of the premise. Surprising, inevitable, memorable; some examples that come to mind include: A Boy and His Dog, 12 Monkeys, The Thing, Planet of the Apes (1968). I guess I like the shocking sci-fi horror ending! A lot of sf movies have conventional endings, a little too pat and expected, but not weird or ugly.

I decided to start with a list of movies I think have endings flawed one way or another, a list that includes a lot of movies I truly like. 2001 is pretty confusing. Contact is a bit of a let down and the government cover-up seemed unnecessary. AI goes for the weird alien happy ending. The Hulk ending is a dark mess. The finale of Sphere sucks. Changing the ending of Armageddon sure couldn’t hurt it. Return of the Jedi is full of Ewoks and happy happy joy joy Darth Vader. Ridley Scott himself has changed the ending of Blade Runner several times.

And then there’s the movie I finally settled on: Signs


Signs isn’t exactly a rigorous science fiction movie. It’s more of a horror movie masquerading as science fiction, all in service to a bigger message about whether or not there’s purpose in the world. I think some of the scenes in the film are terrific, and the movie sets a great mood. I usually have to watch a few minutes of the film when I find it on TV. But then comes the ending, and it literally makes me scream out. WTF? WTF? Water burns alien flesh?! Water?! This is so, so dumb, I can’t even make sense of it. Maybe there was a purpose in this, some biblical allusion or something, but it’s so stupid I can’t see it. Even going with this crazy development, we’re supposed to believe that the aliens would like to invade a planet where acid falls from the skies, and the native children carry it in toy guns.

Signs has the worst ending of a movie with some otherwise redeeming qualities, and I wish I could change it.

[Editors Note: Couldn’t find the verbatim ending of Signs, but this video does contain scenes from the mentioned ending.]

David Gerrold
David Gerrold is in training to be a curmudgeon. Approach at your own risk. You’ve been warned.

I’d change the ending of E.T. I’d show Elliot barbecuing the little animated baseball mitt for his family. Enough with this feel-good crap! Next thing we’ll have sci-fi writers adopting Martians.

Gabriel Mckee
Gabriel Mckee is the author of The Gospel According to Science Fiction: From the Twilight Zone to the Final Frontier, published in January 2007 by Westminster John Knox (and thus, *ahem,* eligible for this year’s Locus and Hugo Awards), and of the blog SF Gospel. He is also the author of Pink Beams of Light From the God in the Gutter: The Science Fictional Religion of Philip K. Dick, and has written for Religion Dispatches, The Revealer, and Nerve. He is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and currently works in Bobst Library at New York University.

I would love to see a different ending for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Let me begin by explaining something: I think Star Trek V gets picked on unfairly. Sure, it’s not the best film in the series, and it may in fact be the worst. But one of the worst films ever? I wouldn’t go nearly that far. It has some wonderful character moments, and some of the design and effects are gorgeous. People like to beat up on it, but it isn’t that bad.

But there’s that ending: After hearing Spock’s hippie brother Sybok tell us about the impassable barrier at the center of the galaxy, the Enterprise sails right through it with no problems at all. On the other side they find Sha Ka Ree, a planet that supposedly houses the origin of the universe. It looks like a quarry, which is par for the course for television SF like the original Trek or Doctor Who, but a bit of a let-down for a feature film. And then God – yes, God, depicted as a glowing, rear-projected guy with a beard – demands the surrender of the Enterprise and starts zapping people with beams from his eyes. And then – well, then they ran out of money. There’s a somewhat nonsensical spaceship rescue (God can be defeated by a couple disruptor blasts, apparently), Kirk delivers a platitude about God existing “right here, in the human heart,” and the credits roll. It’s a mess, but there are some parts of the ending I truly like. In particular, Kirk’s inquiry about what God needs with a starship is legitimately classic line and a key bit of Star Trek theology (on which more below). But on the whole, the ending feels a bit off.

In a way, it’s a good thing that the film went over budget. The original plan was to have God summon an army of rock monsters to fight the Enterprise crew. Test footage of a monster suit is included on the special edition DVD, and the full scene made its way into the DC Comics adaptation. Judging from that evidence, the ending wouldn’t have been better, and could very easily have been a great deal worse. (What do rock monsters have to do with God, anyway?) It wasn’t just running out of money that made the ending a failure. The ending we got was a bit of a mess, but the ending they wanted could have been a complete fiasco.

When I was writing The Gospel According to Science Fiction, I had a small dilemma over this film. I knew that I needed to discuss it – after all, it’s Star Trek‘s clearest (or at least loudest) statement about religion. But what does it mean? After struggling with it for a while, I had an insight: Kirk’s interrogation of God is an awful lot like Abraham bargaining over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Despite McCoy’s protests, Kirk wants to be able to challenge, question, and haggle with God. Buried in the murk of that ending is a plea for a humanistic religion, but we simply don’t get enough of it. I realize that a feature film needs to end with an action sequence, but did God have to jump to the eyebeams so quickly? An additional 30 seconds of dialog would have done wonders for bringing more sense to this scene, but apparently fully fleshed-out ideas are even more expensive than monster suits.

The real problem is that I had to struggle to find something thematically interesting here, that I had to put so much thought into this movie to figure out what it was trying to say. Trek usually packages its philosophy much more clearly than this, but this film just doesn’t try hard enough to be interesting. It ends up being just a rehash of the original series episode “Who Mourns For Adonais?“, which isn’t the best episode to begin with, though it did reveal the interesting fact that Starfleet ships have religions specialists on board. Star Trek V could have gone further and done something more original, but it didn’t, and that’s a shame.

Kevin Maher
Kevin Maher is the host of American Movie Classic’s The Sci Fi Department. He is also an Emmy-nominated comedy-writer whose work has appeared on Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and HBO’s This Just In.

1972’s Conquest of The Planet of the Apes is my favorite of the original Apes films, but man, that ending blows.

For those of you who haven’t seen it (or don’t remember which movie it is)…Caeser spends the entire movie organizing and executing a bloody ape revolution. At the end of the film he delivers a stirring speech, with the city of Los Angeles burning behind him.

But then, he changes his mind and says apes and men must live together in peace.

This change-of-heart speech was tacked-on, using close-ups of Roddy McDowell’s eyes and a rough voice-over. Apparently test audiences disliked the revolution ending, so this was added at the last minute. I would prefer to see the original ending.

Gary Westfahl
Gary Westfahl, who teaches at the University of California, Riverside, is the author, editor, or co-editor of nineteen books about science fiction and fantasy, including the Hugo-nominated Science Fiction Quotations: From the Inner Mind to the Outer Limits, the three-volume The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Hugo Gernsback and the Century of Science Fiction. He is a regular film reviewer and commentator for the Locus Online website, and in 2003 he earned the Science Fiction Research Association’s Pilgrim Award for lifetime contributions to science fiction and fantasy scholarship.

It probably never would have been considered a masterpiece in any event, but one science fiction film ruined by an absolutely wrong ending was Ivan Reitman’s Evolution (2001). Having depicted tiny alien organisms that landed on Earth and rapidly generated more and more advanced creatures, up to and including primates, the film should have properly concluded with the development of intelligent humanoid aliens, who would calmly introduce themselves, apologize for all the problems caused by their more ferocious predecessors, and announce plans to gather all of the alien beings together and depart to another world that is not already inhabited by a thriving biosphere. Such an ending would not only have been logical, but it also would have provided a worthwhile commentary on the process of evolution, which was after all the film’s title: the idea that, whatever value fierce competitiveness might have in the advancement of species, the best strategy for ultimate success is usually cooperation. Unfortunately, since such an ending would not have provided the spectacular special-effects fireworks and improbable heroism which contemporary Hollywood lore insists is essential in concluding a sure-fire box-office success, the filmmakers instead opted for the inane emergence of an enormous one-celled organism which could somehow be exterminated, as I vaguely recall, by the desperately improvised application of some Head and Shoulders shampoo – foreshadowing, it seems clear in retrospect, that a lot of investors were going to take a bath, and the film was going down the drain.

Paul Levinson
Paul Levinson, PhD, is an author, professor, and media commentator. His first novel, The Silk Code, won the Locus Award for best first science fiction novel of 1999. Entertainment Weekly called his current novel, The Plot to Save Socrates, “challenging fun”. His eight nonfiction books have been translated in a dozen languages around the world, and have been reviewed in The New York Times, Wired, and major newspapers and magazines. Levinson appears on The O’Reilly Factor, CNN, MSNBC, and is interviewed every Sunday morning about the media on KNX 1070 all-news radio in Los Angeles. He is Professor and Chair of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in NYC.

I would change the ending of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.

Now, I actually loved most of this movie, and for that matter, Stars Wars I and II, and I hate to offer any criticism of this saga, lest it give comfort to its critics, and/or be seen as taking candy from a baby.

But…the way Padmé dies was a real letdown. What do you mean, she lost her will to live? What kind of limp fish way is that to go out?

If I could change the end of that movie, I’d have Padmé giving birth to Leia and Luke, then going down in a blaze of glory, fighting off the clone army to save her children, with perhaps Vader even trying to come to her assistance at the very last moment, failing, tortured, and not knowing what became of his children.

End with Padmé fighting with her last breath to save what was best in her universe…

But, then again, I’m always an optimist when it comes to these things…

Adam-Troy Castro
Adam Troy Castro‘s film/DVD reviews appear regularly on SciFi Weekly. His book reviews appear in SCI FI magazine. Several of his award-nominated short stories are available for download on FictionWise. For further updates, check out www.sff.net/people/adam-troy.

I’m certain that there are any number of possible answers, but the first to come to mind is Contact. Too many members of the audience wholly misunderstand the nature of the first encounter at the end, and believe the point of the movie is than an atheist gets heaven shoved in her face and is forced to change her mind. Second choice: 2010. Audiences thought the end of the movie was a greeting card, when in actuality it was an event of cosmic importance. Both endings needed clarification.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul Di Filippo has been writing professionally for over 25 years, accumulating close to 150 stories and twenty-five books in the process. His newest book, Cosmocopia, will soon appear from Payseur & Schmidt, with art by Jim Woodring. His website can be found at www.pauldifilippo.com and he blogs at http://community.livejournal.com/theinferior4/.

I want to rewrite the ending to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and make the revelation be that HAL’S AI consciousness is downloaded into the Star Child’s wetware, and the Singularity is upon us!

Jay Maynard (Tron Guy)
Jay Maynard (also known as the Tron Guy) is a professional computer geek who became famous on the Internet for the first costume he ever made for a SF convention. He spends a lot of time reading, and most of that is SF.

I can’t think of any SF movies whose endings I’d like to see change. By and large, they’ve all worked for me. I do have to say that I haven’t seen every SF movie out there; in particular, I stay well away from the horror stuff (Aliens, Predator, and the like), and a lot of the rest I just haven’t caught up with.

Michael L. Wentz
Michael L. Wentz is a writer and filmmaker. He blogs over at RealHonestFilm.com and PhantomReflections.com. He’s also been known to dress up as The Doctor at costume parties.

This was a tough question for me to answer. Most of the time if I don’t like a film I come to that realization well within the second act and the ending is just the final little bit of suffering I have to endure before leaving the theater or ejecting the DVD. The thing about the film industry is that when it comes to making a movie there are so many cooks in the kitchen that a film’s tone and watchability are cemented consistently throughout the picture by the time any of us see it. Chances are if the beginning stinks, the ending will follow suit.

So if I really had the opportunity just to change the ending of a film I would have to tinker with Serenity. I know I can hear the collective groans of the fans right now, because we all know that Joss Whedon is awesome and can do no wrong, but there was one thing that bugged me about the film–the death of Wash. It seemed to come at the wrong time and for apparently no reason. He didn’t die fighting–he was just sitting in the pilot’s seat after a masterful flight through a huge battle between the Alliance and the Reavers. It shocked the heck out of me and I couldn’t get past it for the rest of the movie, which was sad since I couldn’t initially appreciate some of the wonderful things about the ending because I was so disturbed by his sudden death. I can maybe understand it as a mechanism to allow River full acceptance into the crew, but I still didn’t like it. If I would redo the ending, I’d let Wash live and leave the rest of it as is, because Whedon is awesome.

Rob Bedford
Rob H. Bedford is a longtime genre fan who works and lives in New Jersey. He has held various marketing and publishing positions, building up the diverse background (he hopes) required for becoming a published writer all the while plugging away at various stories and novels. He also writes book reviews for SFFWorld and moderates the forums there.

The easy answer would be Star Wars Episode III, but that ending was almost a multiple choice with George Lucas providing viewers with all a few different options. I don’t think I’d change the ending(s) he gave us though. The ending I would change, though, would probably be Signs. I was really into the “ride” of the movie, going along with the tension that built up over the course of the story. Then it turns out the aliens were basically clones of the Wicked Witch of the West. Water? Freaking water is their kryptonite? These aliens, who can travel across galaxies decide to land en masse on a planet whose surface is over 70% of their version of kryptonite! Asinine. I thought Mel Gibson’s character’s return to the Church was a bit ham-handed. There were other holes in the plot, but what movie doesn’t ask viewers to take some sort of logic leap? The water though, was too much and threw the whole movie into the light of parody.

49 thoughts on “MIND MELD: Which SciFi Movie Ending Would You Change?”

  1. My choice would be war of the worlds. I know the original story had pretty much the same ending, but it leaves me with the same feeling others have expressed here about Signs. Aliens that are advanced enough to travel to our planet, get here, blow everything up, and don’t think once that the viruses and bacteria our planet makes would make them sick. Obviously, their immune systems had not built up defenses against our native diseases. You’d think they would have some alien antibiotics or something, sheesh!

  2. I see a lot of votes Signs, and deservedly so, but to me the ultimate lame ending comes from another M. Night disappointment, The Village. While the beginning of Signs can still hold up to some degree if you ignore the ending, The Village’s ending causes the entire movie to collapse. For one thing, it was horribly predictable. Halfway through I thought to myself, Oh Jeebus, not another twist ending; don’t let this just be a bunch of crazies hiding in the woods. What’s more, the fact that the monster was a guy in a suit nulls any real tension that may have been felt earlier and makes chumps of the audience. Night essentially says, “you know, I can’t trust you, the audience, to accept a unique fantasy setting in a movie, so I guess I’ll have to explain how this fits into the world you know.” Might has well have all been a dream. Now, if it turned out the monster was real, that this strange society was isolated in the woods for good reason, not just because a bunch of nuts decided they’d rather live in their own live-rp setting than in the real world, that would have really been playing with the audiences expectations. No, the actual ending just shows how Night needed to grow a pair, trust his audience, and be willing to give us some real fantasy. Unfortunately he realized this fact too late and gave us the stinking pile that was Lady in the Water, a movie so whose logic was so random and idiotic that, alas, no alternate ending could redeem it.

  3. Badger, I hope you’re kidding. The Tom Cruise version of the movie shouldn’t have been made the way it was made, anyhow. They should have gone with a straight out adaptation of the book, which has a poignant and political ending.

    For me, though, I would change the ending to I Am Legend (Will Smith) back to the original Matheson ending. The film really screwed up after he loses his dog. Why not keep it like the freaking book? Would’ve been a lot more powerful, and that was what they were going for anyhow what with his self-sacrificing suicide bombing.

  4. Silent Running The environuts’ wet dream movie.

    Anything but anything would have been better than Bruce Dern drifting off into space. But hey, what do I know.

    Also, some the Jurassic Park sequels…not so much the endings but they were disappointing in that the humans get really worked over by the lizards. C’mon…who can’t get a mini-gun or grenade launcher after the first 5 attacks by the giant lizards.

  5. “Now, I actually loved most of this movie, and for that matter, Stars Wars I and II, and I hate to offer any criticism of this saga, lest it give comfort to its critics, and/or be seen as taking candy from a baby.”

    And any and all credibility you may have had goes soaring out the window.

  6. How about Blade Runner? I mean, happy ending tacked on to any Phillip K. Dick story is a bit galling. And ending of the story is my favorite part of that tale.

    Though I agree about Padme needing a better exit.

  7. “I know I can hear the collective groans of the fans right now, because we all know that Joss Whedon is awesome and can do no wrong, but there was one thing that bugged me about the film–the death of Wash.”

    Amen, and you said it, brother. The death of Wash was the most chump of chump deaths ever. Lame, lame, lame.

    If Joss Whedon had not done that, I would have gone back in and seen the darn movie five more times with five of my friends each time, so Joss would have netted another 250.00 bucks right then and there.

    Chump deaths have real world financial consequences. And I am not buying the DVD.

  8. The randomness and brutality of the moment was the entire point of Wash’s death…that it’s not some noble rallying moment or overwrought “no, leave me behind…i’ll buy you the time” bit of cliched shtick. And it sets up perfectly the final confrontation in the film as suddenly the dread sets in that NOBODY is safe. If Wash can die in the most unexpected moment possible, then anyone could do the mortal coil shuffle while defending against a siege of Reavers or facing a highly trained Operative. At every single moment, I could feel the danger. The slice up Zoe’s back, the Reaver attacking Inara, Kaylee and Simon being shot, River diving through the bulkhead and closing it behind her, just about every point in the Mal/Operative battle…hell, i got a little worried when Jayne was shot in the arm! Because there was no guarantee that any of them were getting out of this after Wash’s death. I love Wash! Hell, according to most of my friends, I AM Wash. But that death is utterly crucial to the ending of the film and one of the things that makes it so great.

  9. I have to say, Wentz totally missed the point of Wash’s death in Serenity. Without Wash’s death, the Serenety’s daring mad dash through Alliance and Reavers, the hard crash landing and destruction of the Serenity– these things are just a whole bunch of flashing lights, big bangs, crunches and show without Wash’s death. It’s the death of Wash that provides the emotional punch that makes the rest of the ending all the more potent. It’s not a device to make River more accepted as a member of the crew, it’s a device that makes the audience feel emotionally raw, which in turn amplifies the emotional impact of the the ending itself.

    I say this not because I’m a fanboy (I hated the Buffy series) but because it’s true.

  10. A.I: Oh yeah. Definitely the biggest disappointment in any sci fi movie ending. Not because it’s the worst — surely it does not approach the execrable depths of the lousiest schlock on the screen — but because the movie had such promise, such an outstanding start with all the classic Kubrick hallmarks. So yeah, let’s delete the ending of A.I. Like, say, everything after the first third of the movie.

  11. I would certainly change all the endings to all the lame disaster movies of the past 20 years, including The Abyss, Armageddon, Deep Impact, Volcano, The Day After Tomorrow, The Core, etc.

    Change how?

    No more heroic, last minute saves by the intrepid group of social misfits. Every movie would end with exactly the destruction and loss of life we all know would occur if such an event really took place.

    Hollywood needs to grab a pair and start waking people up, instead of creating warm-and-fuzzy endings when Bruce Willis saves the day.

  12. Wash’s death in Serenity had nothing to do with allowing River to be fully accepted into the crew – I doubt Joss even thought of that as he was writing it (although I can’t say that for sure, of course). His death’s primary purpose was to introduce some element of risk to the ending. At that point, you didn’t really know if anyone was going to make it out alive – it let the feeling set in that maybe no one would. It also provided an enormous amount of impact to the end of the movie, emotional impact it wouldn’t have had otherwise. Book’s death, though, I do believe was completely unnecessary.

  13. Definitely “The Abyss”. What a let down to see that pink plastic thing come out of the water.

    Also agree about Padme’s death being lame. It did not fit with the character that was build in the previous movies.

    One ending to never change: The Thing

  14. Maybe because I saw it recently, but I’d choose Danny Boyle’s Sunshine. It sure did start off good, but had a very disappointing ending.

  15. G-Dog, I know what you’re saying, but I don’t have a problem with the heroic save as a concept. The story that people want to hear is the one out of all possible stories (given the premise) that leads to salvation or some kind of exception, at least. Distopian fiction generally fares quite badly commercially. The big problem with movie and TV sci-fi is the deus ex machina, that provides the heroic save. It drives me freakin’ nuts. As a high volume consumer of SF/F books, I find most TV and movie sci-fi almost unwatchable because of this. It’s like watching the old B&W Flash Gordon films where Flash is thrown off a cliff by Ming and is miraculously caught by a passing Hawkman, who seems to be there for no good reason.

    It would be easier to list the stuff that’s been done well. Soylent Green, Planet of the Apes, (some versions of) Blade Runner. Alien and Star Wars IV managed to be ‘happy endings’ without being stupid. But the list is short. I firmly believe that the reason that sci-fi literature has been so ghetto-ised is that the filmed versions that the uninitiated are exposed to are so bad.

  16. My vote goes with The Abyss too. I remember reading a review at the time, saying something like “Cameron made 95% of a good movie”, or something to that effect.

  17. interesting standpoints, all of them.

    but to the one about Serenity:

    The reason for the death of Wash is a request on the behalf of the actor, Alan Tudyk.

    In a reported conversation between Alan and Joss, Alan pleaded to end his character, for fear that it would make him typecast.

  18. I must agree that Signs is the worst. I enjoyed the movie for the most part up until that moment.

    Another ending I truly despise: Independence Day. The hero goes up into space and uploads a virus that destroys the fleet of alien spaceships? Give me a break! Were the ships running Microsoft Windows for their operating system? Maybe Mac OS X? Linux? If they weren’t, the hero couldn’t have even got far enough to do ANYTHING. Even if he somehow managed to figure out the operating system in the precious minutes he had available, the virus would not have been compatible with it. Oh – even more basic – I guess he would have had to figure out the alien language before anything else!

    Full disclosure: I am an IT professional, so maybe this stuff bugs me more than most people, but… really! I can tolerate the many TV shows where the hero finds some amazing information via the internet (usually supposedly “secure”) to save the day. I understand that it’s a way to move the plot to a place where the heroes can do something interesting. But using it as the climax to entire movie is simply beyond stupid.

  19. I really like Paul Di Filippo’s 2001 ending. It would be great to see a Singularity done well on film. But how would Paul deal with Hal’s insanity? Perhaps use info from 2010 and correct its programming conflict?

    I also liked Gary Westfahl’s new Evolution ending. That would have saved the movie for me.

    David Gerrod’s E.T. ending is a little too harsh for me. I prefer the Robot Chicken explanation that he is a developmentally challenged member of his species.

  20. Frankly my choice would be Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Please; the main gist of the movie is a bunch of visiting aliens who put the whole Earth in danger pitching a fit because they can’t talk to some whales. And once the Enterprise goes back in time, gets some whales and makes it back, the whales go click/whistle/moan and the aliens just…leave.

    I was so aggravated when I first saw the movie; I walked out asking everyone “what did the whales say??”: “I’ll have your money next week I promise”? “Sorry, you have the wrong planet. Go bother some other species”? I’d have made it CLEAR what the aliens needed to hear directly from whales that could not have been done with a pre-recorded sound bite, and at least translated the whale speak for the audience. That lack of info made the rest of the movie just a silly waste of time for me.

  21. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

    To: Gabriel Mckee

    You are a retard.

    Sorry they did not take the time to spell it out for you, but it should be clear to anyone who can read between the lines that they did not in fact find “God”. “Sybok, this is not the god of Sha-Ka-Ree or any other god!”

    “Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Sybok explore the planet, which seems completely barren until a strange outcropping of rocks rises from the ground in front of them and an entity appears to them. Masquerading as God, the entity asks the explorers how they got there. When told about the Enterprise, it demands passage aboard the ship in order to leave both the planet and the Great Barrier and to spread his knowledge to the rest of the Universe. When the skeptical Kirk questions the entity’s motivation (“What does God need with a starship?”), it turns malevolent, harming Kirk. McCoy and Spock rush to his rescue, and even Spock has to ask for an answer to the question. Sybok then realizes that the alien entity is actually the manifestation of his own arrogance, seeking to escape the Great Barrier.”

    -Wikipedia

    Clearly the great barrier was to keep the energy being trapped on the planet. Most likely imprisoned there by an ancient and powerful race.

    Lastly the Klingon ship was well suited to defeat the entity since it fires Energy Disruptor cannons.. which are handy for fighting a being composed of energy…

  22. I too think Wash’s death is crucial to the emotional impact of Serenity. I don’t see it as an unnecessary death and yet I love the character so much that given the choice I would probably still change it so that he could live despite the emotional connection that part of the movie always elicits in me. Rarely has a film moment tore my guts out so thoroughly and made me care so much. It makes watching the series again that much more devastating (and I mean that in a good way, as odd as it sounds). I’m not sure of the reasons behind the death, though I’ve heard many rumors, however it was certainly unexpected and gave the rest of the film that ‘whoa, wonder who else might bite it’ feel. Can I have my cake and eat it too with Serenity? :)

  23. “The reason for the death of Wash is a request on the behalf of the actor, Alan Tudyk.

    In a reported conversation between Alan and Joss, Alan pleaded to end his character, for fear that it would make him typecast.”

    I don’t know what the source for this is, and maybe there’s some truth to it that I’m not aware of, but I have seen interviews with Tudyk in which he expresses some dismay at being written out, back when there was still a plausible chance of a sequel, and I’ve seen interviews with Whedon in which he gives exactly the explanation offered by Jordan T, that is, Wash needed to die in order to establish that no one is safe, and anyone of them could be killed in the ensuing battle. The biggest flaw of Serenity was the ham-handed introduction of Mr. Universe, but changing the ending won’t fix that.

    If I could change an ending, I’d go with The Village. It wouldn’t have redeemed the movie, but at least it would have been fun to see all the young people in the village freak if a medevac helicopter landed in the town square…

  24. To Sean:

    You are calling people names and you quoted from Wikipedia?!

    (In regards to his comments to Gabriel McKee on Star Trek V)

    My two cents on Serenity:

    In the theater I wept like a babe at Wash’s death and was mad as hell for weeks. Still am, in a way. I think it was not so much the death itself (heartbreaking as it was) but HOW it was done. The ship was down, there was no reason to shoot it with a big ballista-thing. That seemed to go against what we had learned about the Reavers. Had one of them shot Wash right through the window or killed him shortly thereafter in another senseless, brutal way, I don’t think it would still bother me quite so much.

    And if I ever get to meet Joss, I’m going to go to jail because I will shake him until he tells me Book’s secret!!!!

  25. Independence Day.

    I will only watch the first half of the film. The movie is fanfuckingtastic right up until the aliens have made their move & the screen goes dark.

    After that, destination: Suckville. Population: ID4.

    Logic & believability go right out the window in exchange for a ridiculous, lowest common denominator cheesefest. It’s not just the First Lady being found or that the alien ships are Apple compatible…the whole premise digresses into silly camp with little respect for the audience. All the writers had to do was attend a science fiction convention and talked to some fans, and they’d have had the second half for their film all worked out for them. But nooo.

    BTW, I love Will Smith but, “Welcome to Erf.” Erf? ERF? Couldn’t they get that in editing? And Judd Hirsch & Harvey Fierstein are usually great, but their characters are borderline-offensive stereotypes that distract from the film.

  26. The end of “Signs” is dumb? No, it isn’t, because it’s not about an alien invasion, it’s about a family to overcome their fear and hopelessness. The aliens, mark me, are a metaphor! Thus they resemble dated naive images of aliens like in old pupls or on bubble gum papers and not the newest scientific theory of how a real alien invader could be.

    Alternate endings: “Return of the Jedi”: Any other ending, I guess would be less horrible.

    “The Andromeda Strain”: I never quite understood the number the computer spit our in the end. Does it mean mutation, another outbreak? A little bit too cryptical for my little mind.

    “Alien IV” What Jeunet did to the Whedon script with that sweet-sour Hybrid-Baby is beyond my comprehension. Read the original script (or one of its variants) on the net and you’ll find a much better ending in a snowy landscape on earth.

  27. And “Blade.”

    The entire film is spent on establishing Dorff as an ambitious badass with a plot to usurp cool super-powers from the old-money vampire aristocrats, and how incredible these new powers are going to be. Good Macguffin, right?

    His plan works. Great success! The new powers are his!

    And he’s killed not 20 seconds later. He doesn’t use the powers. Nothing. Nada. Roll credits. Can you imagine “Raiders of the Lost Ark” filmed that way? “Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.” “Well whaddyaknow? There’s the ark right over there! Huh. Well…thaaat’s enough for me. Boy, do I need a shower! And I gotta give midterms next week. C’mon, Marion: let’s make some noise.” Cue music. Dah dah dah dahhhh! Dah dah dahhh…

    WTF?

  28. To serafine:

    Shepherd Book was a former Operative. Now you don’t have to shake Joss. If it doesn’t all add up for you just thinking about it, just go watch all of Firefly again with this idea in mind, and you’ll see that it’s the only possible explanation.

  29. Why didn’t you ask more actual science fiction writers? Aside from Gerrold and DiFillipo, you have fans, critics and reviewers. Ther eis nothing wrong with that, per se – but when you imply you are asking actual authors, you should include at least a majority of them.

    These folks are hardly luminaries.

  30. i guess im the only one who liked “signs”.

    i like the ending, and the twist. why do you ask?

    who ever said they were INVADING earth?

    just because i go to the grocery store for some apples doesnt mean im going to buy the whole store. dont you think they were trying to be covert and take humans quietly, get in get the hell out?

    i dont know..

    i hate the ending to terminator 3, i feel it basicly cancels out the second film entirely.

  31. You really want a better ending to Sith? I was saying for years beforehand that, in the end, the thing that finally pushed Anakin over to full-blown Darth-dom had to be his murdering Padme. That’s the ending they needed. In my version, Padme was estranged from Ani during her pregnancy, had the kids a few years prior to her death (explaining Leia’s faint memory), got involved in the battle between Anakin and Obi Wan, and Anakin killed her – flat out, no hesitation. Obi-Wan finishes the battle as seen. Anakin sees himself as irredeemable from that point and signs up with Palpatine.

  32. Just remembered another film ending that I hated: Superman (1978).

    The first part of the movie was fun, although Luthor was campier than I would have liked. Surprisingly, Luthor actually carries out his master plan. Gasp! So what does Superman do? He simply turns back time so that none of it ever happened. @#$%^! You’ve got to be kidding! Not only does it render the first part of the movie irrelevant, there can be no suspense for any other adventures of Superman: “Did something bad happen? I know – I’ll turn back time again!”

    Feh!

  33. Mike needs to watch sign’s again and not be an idiot while he does.

    It’s more of a horror movie masquerading as science fiction, all in service to a bigger message about whether or not there’s purpose in the world.

    The Movie in fact answers this question in stark terms. There is no purpose and that any judgment of quality is in fact relative.

    Look at the main characters they are all flawed yet they survive because of their flaws. The universe does not care if the protagonists are big strong heroes only who is fit to survive in a given situation. This message is also paralleled with the aliens who are not a genius race endowed with potent technology as one has grown to expect from alien movies but in fact are weak and sparse in their abilities…only good enough to what they need to do to survive….and those who are unfit are left to die.

    The movie even goes farther to show how the characters living in such a bleak universe are fooled into believing in a higher power. “Why are we who are flawed allowed to live when so many who are better then us did not” they might ask….yet although they are not aware the movie makes it obvious that they are in fact damaged misfits and it was only dumb random luck that allowed then to be spared.

  34. Alien and Aliens are the big ones for me. The Whole Airlock think shows a lack of respect for physics and ruins two great films.

    Statler

  35. Okay for those of you who did not like the ending to Abyss… did you watch the theatrical version or the directors cut? I agree with the theatrical version being very bad… heck James C. agreed that it was bad (something to do with budget cuts and him being mad). I don’t remember the exact details. But I did get to see the director’s cut… much better ending…

    As for Wash… I read the first script where both Wash and Book lived… and have seen the movie a zillion times… I love Wash, and Book but the script with them living would have made Serenity just a ho hum film based on the TV Series that sure finished the story but did not really need to be made as a major motion movie… As shocking and as heartbreaking as it was, it made the movie…

  36. Sci-fi short stories are very enjoyable. No time for all those messy human qualities to be transposed on aliens.

    And why do humans take center stage with those entities from the vastness? Are there movies where humans are simply in the wrong/right

    place at the right time to witness and be caught up in galactical social changes? Hollywood’s perpetuation of humans as the center of the universe restricts a films direction and imagination.

  37. Gabriel Mckee, forgive me if I’m stating the obvious due to some misunderstanding of your comments, but the whole point of Captain Kirk’s question, “What does God need with a starship?” is that the large face in Star Trek V is not really God, but an imposter.

  38. These aliens, who can travel across galaxies decide to land en masse on a planet whose surface is over 70% of their version of kryptonite! Asinine.

     

     

    Surprised that two SciFi writters got this so wrong…

     

    The “Aliens” you saw running around grabbing people where not the galaxy traveling ones…they were more like disposable work gloves that agreculturel workers use to harvest crops.

  39. MINORITY REPORT. Okay flick but the last few sappy minutes felt added on last minute and should be cut.

  40. “….the death of Wash. It seemed to come at the wrong time and for apparently no reason…”

    Agreed, and you said it. Had this one plot twist been changed in the film, I would have seen it twice, reecommended it to my friends, and bought the DVD, and Joss Whedon would have gotten an additional $1.50 from his cut of my additional expenditures.

    My complaint is that the moment jarred me out of the film. When the magic illusion of filmmaking works, you think the Reavers killed Wash. When the illusion is broken, you think the writer killed off Wash.

    My FIREFLY fan friends and I all simply refer to his as a “Chump Death.”

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