Exit Stage Left: The Ten Best Sci-Fi Movie Endings Of All Time

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EmpireGeek royalty Joss Whedon stirred the pot quite a bit this week by criticizing the ending of arguably the best Star Wars movie of all time, The Empire Strikes Back. His problem with it was that he didn’t like the cliffhanger aspect that left many things unresolved. Whedon said, “I go to movies expecting to have a whole experience. If I want a movie that doesn’t end I’ll go to a French movie. That’s a betrayal of trust to me. A movie has to be complete within itself, it can’t just build off the first one or play variations.”

Aside from that criticism being kind of odd coming from a master of TV cliffhangers, Whedon’s argument has stirred up many fans who love Empire precisely because of its dark, unresolved ending. For the second film of a planned trilogy, it makes sense to end on an ominous down note, thus setting the stakes for the third film to follow. But Whedon’s comments got us thinking: what makes for a truly great ending? We’ll try to answer that question below, with our picks for the Ten Best Science Fiction Movie Endings of All Time.


Counter-Programming The Conjuring: Get Your Scary Sci-Fi Fix With Alien, The Thing, And More

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James Wan’s The Conjuring is getting solid reviews and angling to try and conquer the box office this weekend, but let’s face it. After a long week of work, not everybody feels up to braving the madness of opening-weekend crowds at the local multiplex. But fear not, fear junkies — if you’ve got a craving for some goosebumps and don’t want to leave the house, we here at GFR have rounded up seven perfectly creepy flicks that like a little horror mixed in with their science fiction. Switch off the lights, pop some popcorn, and try really hard to convince yourself that you didn’t just see something move out of the corner of your eye…

AlienBurstAlien (1979)
Where else to begin than what is, unquestionably, the best example of sci-fi/horror ever to grace the screen. It’s a testament to the quality and impact of Ridley Scott’s film that it’s still being explored today, 30+ years later. And while other projects have explored the Alien universe over the the years, none have managed to equal the claustrophobic, slow-burn terror of Scott’s masterpiece. (I’d argue that James Cameron’s Aliens is as good, or nearly so, but they are two very different films with very different tones.) It’s damn near a perfect film, and no list of sci-fi/horror would be complete without it.


Welcome to Earth: Mankind’s Most Unusual Defenses Against Alien Invaders

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It’s Independence Day here in the States, where we honor our history by cooking dead animals, inflating enormous cartoon characters, and blowing stuff up. And then, of course, I’m sure some of you are sitting on the couch and revisiting Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day, thrilling to Bill Pullman delivering stirring speeches, Will Smith punching aliens in the face, and those hippies on the rooftop getting vaporized in the midst of welcoming our new alien visitors.

Yes, science fiction loves a good alien invasion story. It’s a comforting thought that, if faced against far more advanced aliens determined to exterminate or enslave our entire race, we scrappy human might still be able to overcome and win the day. But let’s face it: we’d pretty much be screwed. It’s a story we’ve seen played out countless times here on our homeworld alone, and none of those oppressing forces were armed with mass drivers and plasma cannons. So when it comes to figuring out a way to defeat the alien invaders, science fiction has to think outside the box. Way outside the box. Not even in the same zip code as the box.

So here they are, some of the most unusual, audacious, ridiculous ways that mankind has sent our would-be alien overlords packing over the years.