With the Curiosity Rover on Mars demonstrating how much can be done with space travel without the use of the space shuttle, it is time to clean out these outdated, now laughable movies from the cinematic vault. Let’s retire these movies the way NASA has retired the Space Shuttle!
Undeniably, Roger Moore is a highly underrated and under-appreciated James Bond. Yet, there is no denying this outlandish stinker from his filmography. James Bond has to find who stole a space shuttle, leading him to the villain Hugo Drax, who intends to wipe out the entirety of the human race and live aboard a space station above a chemically toxic Earth.
"Deep Impact"/"Armageddon" (1998)
Back in 1998, these movies came out within less than two months of each other. "Deep Impact" is about a group of space shuttle scientists destroying a comet…before it collides with Earth. "Armageddon" is about a group of oil rig drillers sent to space to dig through an asteroid the size of Texas to drop in a nuclear bomb…before it collides with Earth. These parallel movies have so much in common-both of their bald protagonists even die!
"Space Cowboys" (2000)
In Clint Eastwood’s foray into space exploration, four old men finally get their long awaited chance at space travel when a satellite with ancient technology has to be captured rather than fall into the Earth’s atmosphere (due to Cold War secrets still remaining aboard the spacecraft). Unless you needed to see the Man With No Name snarl in space, this silly action flick should have been left at the retirement home.
"Jason X" (2001)
The tenth installment of the Friday the 13th franchise was set in the future so as to not upset the vital continuity of this treasured series. Jason has been accidentally cryogenically frozen in 2010, and then we jump to the 25th century where humanity now lives on the non-polluted new planet of Earth 2. Returning to the original Earth for a field trip, they discover Jason’s body. After reanimating the body (since no one would have thought to destroy the frozen evil), Jason once again wreaks havoc. Perhaps a space shuttle program is worth not having if this is the best we can come up with.
"The Core" (2003)
Not all shuttle movies take place in space. In this farce of a science fiction film, a group of scientists have to dig through the Earth’s crust in a shuttle made of unobtainium (sound familiar, "Avatar" fans?) in order to restart the rotation of the Earth’s core through a series of nuclear bomb explosions. It is preposterous science fiction at its worst, with DJ Qualls providing very minimal comic relief.
"Superman Returns" (2006)
While not a “space shuttle” movie, the use of one in this movie to lure Superman back into action is among one of the sillier sequences in a thoroughly disappointing movie. After returning to Earth, Superman rushes to save the day when a power outage caused by Lex Luthor interferes with an airliner space shuttle test with intrepid reporter Lois Lane on board. Superman has to stop the shuttle right before it crash lands into a baseball stadium, doing so in the nick of time. Nothing screams Americana more than Superman stopping by for the seventh inning stretch.