Awful Battle… Films With “Surprise” Alien Endings

Before I begin, I feel I should mention (in a pirate’s accent) that thar be spoilers below, but none of these movies are particularly unspoiled by their terrible alien-infused endings.  It’s an Awful Battle to the fullest extent.  With these films, is the fate of the world at stake?  Nah.  Just your time.

  • Smilla’s Sense of Snow

The sequel was entitled, "Julia Ormond's Sense of Disappointment"...

Most people may not remember this film.  Scratch that.  Most people are unaware of its existence.  I remember watching this in a hotel on vacation, waiting for everyone I was with to get ready for the pool.  Up to that point, the film had been so engrossing, that I promised everyone that I’d catch up with them after it was over.  The problem was that the resolution/conclusion seemingly came out of nowhere.

How can I put this… For most of the viewing, it was a murder mystery.  In the end, it turned to, as Roger Ebert put it:

Prehistoric Radioactive Worms from Outer Space

  • Knowing

Bet you didn't know "Knowing" is almost an anagram of "Nick Cage"... Almost...

Australian writer/director Alex Proyas is a writer/director that I trust.  He might not have the largest filmography down under his belt (The Crow and Dark City carry most of the weight), but I’ve heard him in interviews, and he knows his stuff.  So speaking of knowing

I actually didn’t have a problem with this film’s ending.  The fact that aliens were involved was made known to me prior to seeing it, so I saw the small signs indicating where everything was going.  But I could see how others would get frustrated – it didn’t seem like it was going there.  The ambiguity amidst all the certainty of the numbers keeps you invested, your imagination swirling.  Then in scene after scene, shot after shot, all the answers are given, all the ambiguity… shot.  It quickly devolves into Showing.

If you’ve seen the film, I think it could have ended with him waking up on the rocks in the slight rain, and I would have been satisfied.  It would have fit in with the film’s themes perfectly.

  • X-Files: Fight the Future

This movie made me start the Why-Files.

I never consistently watched The X-Files television series.  I’d catch an occasional one if I knew it wasn’t a mythology episode, but even that hardly occurred.  When the announcement was made that the show would be getting the big screen treatment, I dove into whatever season it was on and caught up on the show’s history, probably courtesy of an Entertainment Weekly special “Catch Up On the Show’s History” edition.

All in all, the movie bit.  It bit hard.  It was like all those bees stung my every expectation.  The Black Oil made alien embryos in people?  Or whatever.  By the end, when the spaceship emerged from the ice and took off into the sky, I could have cared less.  I didn’t watch the show ever again.  Unless it was a standalone episode.

  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Fu. Ck. Th. Is. Mo. Vie.

I lack the energy to rip on this movie again.  You can see how I felt about it here and star Harrison Ford here.  Who am I kidding?  You probably felt the same.

  • Contact

As fulfilling as playing Marco Polo in quicksand, whatever that means...

This movie’s ending was used as a joke in South Park one time (I think).  Well whatever it’s from, it went something like this:

I waited the entire movie to see what the aliens would look like, and it was her fucking dad?!

Classic.

  • The Forgotten

I couldn't follow the plot because I never saw The Threegotten...

I didn’t see this movie, but I remember people being sucked into the sky in previews.  I always figured it’d be a trippy flick about a mother seeking out her missing child, kind of like Flightplan with special effects.  I didn’t expect it to have this resolution, though (via Wikipedia):

Eventually Telly [Julianne Moore] hunts down one of “them” [the aliens] at an abandoned airport and he tells her that she has been a part of an experiment into whether the bonds between mother and child can be broken.

Another mystery that turns into a sci-fi conspiracy theory?  No thanks.

  • Signs

Fu. Ck. M. Night.

M. Night Shyamalan should have never revealed the alien.  I maintain that if they had only shown the creature in the TV’s reflection, the creepiness factor would have went through the barn roof.

What’s funny is this film tries to challenge the relationship between science and faith and fails, whereas Knowing succeeds.  And knowing how to do that is half the battle…

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