5 '80s Sci-fi Movies That Didn't Age Well (& 5 That Are Timeless) – Screen Rant

The 1980s was a decade that produced some of the most iconic movies ever made. But which sci-fi films from the era became classics or aged badly?
Given how quickly the world of science and technology evolves, it comes as no surprise that science fiction over the decades has transformed just as quickly. And, while most people might expect sci-fi films from the 80s to seem incredibly dated, there are actually a number of greats that still hold up really well.
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But obviously, not every movie becomes a classic. For every unforgettable 80s movie, there is another that audiences wish they could forget. What movies from the decade have aged terribly, and which are timeless?
The classic sci-fi series The Twilight Zone has seen many attempts at remakes and reboots, and while the 1983 version isn’t awful, there’s really nothing worth watching either.
The film is done in an anthology format, with 4 of the best Twilight Zone episodes in history remade for each entry. And, while the idea of an updated version of the classic stories was an interesting idea for the time, now the film is just another dated-looking iteration of these stories. Fans might as well just watch the original episodes.
RoboCop is one of those rare films that seems to not only age well, but get better and more relevant with time. Director Paul Verhoeven is a master of social satire in the form of sci-fi cinema, but this might be his best work.
The titular RoboCop is Alex Murphy, an officer nearly killed in the line of duty who is retrofitted into a mindless law enforcement machine created by Omni Consumer Products, the corporation that has taken over the Detroit police. The premise is even scarier today than it was in the 80s.
There is an incalculable number of completely pointless sequels out there in the world, but 2010: The Year We Make Contact might be one of the strangest.
On its own, it’s not a terrible movie, but making a follow-up to 2001: A Space Odyssey was wholly unnecessary. The film also focuses largely on the Cold War conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, which is a very specific element that clearly makes it feel dated.
It’s not easy to make a sequel that lives up to the original, but plenty of fans would argue that Aliens actually surpasses the original film in terms of quality.
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Helmed by the as-yet-unknown James Cameron, Aliens abandons the quiet, slow-burn horror of the first movie and instead makes an incredibly badass and in some ways revolutionary action film. This entry cemented the Alien franchise as an icon, and made Ripley into a heroic legend.
Arguably the worst Marvel movie ever made (yes, Howard the Duck originated from Marvel comics), Howard The Duck is a nightmarish, bizarre film that fails on almost every level.
The actual character of Howard is creepy and unsettling to look at, and the special effects look terrible today. The narrative was generally nonsensical, and it’s baffling both that anyone decided to adapt this character for live-action and that this was the story that they decided to tell with the comics character.
John Carpenter is a veritable legend of science fiction and horror now, and his most beloved work might just be The Thing.
The film follows a group of researchers in Antarctica that encounter some sort of alien creature that can change its appearance to perfectly mimic other life forms. The extremely gross practical effects have aged surprisingly well, and the tension around who may or may not be an alien life form in disguise only grows throughout the entire story.
While the director is still known as a king of nostalgia, it’s undeniable that plenty of elements in John Hughes movies have not aged particularly well. And Weird Science is debatably his film that holds up the most poorly.
The whole narrative of two high school geeks who create the perfect artificial woman is an overplayed and misogynistic story, and most of the technological and science-fiction elements of Weird Science make absolutely no sense in this day and age.
Indisputably one of the most influential sci-fi films of all time, it’s hard not to see similarities between Blade Runner‘s dystopian future in most dark science fiction films of today.
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This Ridley Scott masterpiece focuses on Rick Deckard, a blade runner who professionally hunts down and “retires” rogue replicants. The tale focuses mostly on the nature of sentience and humanity, and the mystery of whether or not Deckard himself was a replicant who believed he was human is a question that haunted fans for decades.
Plenty of movies throughout time have demonstrated exactly why building a narrative around cutting edge technology is a mistake, but it’s hard to imagine a more pointed example of that than Tron.
What seemed revolutionary in 1982 looks downright comical to audiences who have grown up with computer technology and CGI that grows by leaps and bounds every year. And, while Tron: Legacy updates the better ideas of Tron for a contemporary viewer, it’s hard not to question how well that movie will age in a few decades as well.
Star Wars: A New Hope was a blockbuster unlike any other, but The Empire Strikes Back is what truly established the Star Wars franchise as the greatest in film history.
George Lucas’ space opera completely revolutionized film, and the middle portion of his original trilogy is pretty universally considered to be the best. With its shocking cliffhangers and the astounding revelation that Darth Vader was actually Anakin Skywalker, Empire Strikes Back still holds up today and is arguably the most iconic movie of the entire decade.
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