The Best Alien Invasion Films - Our top five movies

Second feature of the five bests is the best alien invasion films. Science fiction is my genre, alien films are a keen interest and alien invasion films are just damn cool! It’s a good mixture of these types of films. I have featured action heavy films to dramatic paranoia and all of which I would recommend to my readers. If anyone has any film they are adamant that I have over looked, please point that film out to me because I am not an expert even though I have watched a lot of these films. Please enjoy the list and comment at the end.

Independance DayIndependance Day (1996)

Independence Day is the both the most modern and classic alien invasion film to be made with great visuals and realistic visuals to simplistic story of conquistador alien races invading planet earth. Basically the alien race uses our satellites to coordinate a global attack on earth’s major cities but by the time we can figure this out it’s too late and the initial attack begins, and then the struggle begins to stop the alien threat from exterminating the entire human race. It’s beautifully simplistic and wonderfully directed by Emmerich, easily his best film and I want that sequel sooner than later!

“This was supposed to be my weekend off, but noooo, you got me out here, draggin’ your heavy ass through the burning desert, with your dreadlocks sticking out the back of my parachute. You gotta come down here with an attitude, actin’ all big and bad. And what the hell is that smell?”

In this list of best alien invasion films it is king! The science fiction element to this film is brilliantly laid out from the alien visuals to the area 51 base. The dialogue was strong, the sound and style of the film was so unique and the aliens even had that Emmerich look to them and if you have seen Stargate you know what I mean. One of my favourite scenes shows this off, it’s where the alien has woken up in that area 51 lab and talks through the scientist to the president, it’s so chilling from the visuals, sound and just what he says. President Thomas Whitmore: “What do you want us to do?” Captured Alien: “Die. Die.”

Invasion of the Body SnatchersInvasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

In my opinion this remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the best version and has long been a critical success as well as having a major impact on the culture of Science fiction films. Alien spores travel through space and land on earth coming from a dying planet they invade by infiltrating the human race and in this film they start off in a small city. The film centres on a health inspector and his colleagues as they try to find out what is going on in their town and must fight to survive the growing invasion. The film has wonderful characters and acting which is packed with paranoia.

The story and the acting are brilliant and near masterful for the time and yet the film has always seemed timeless. Paranoia which is at the base of what makes this film work is a fear that always seems relevant and so will always work. What were added to this remake though were brilliant characters and actors being of Donald Sutherland and Leonard Nimoy (Totally played this straight). The remake also had insane music and sound which is incredibly haunting and very hard to forget making it a stand out theme of the film.

War of the WorldsWar of the Worlds (2005)

I’ve read the book and seen the original film, I loved them all but I think Spielberg’s interpretation is the most faithful and he made this wonderful story work on the big screen. The story goes that a storm carrying alien hosts burrows into the ground through lightning strikes, in the ground are buried machines called tripods which the aliens use to attack human population centres. After the aliens start using human blood to fertilize strange plants the aliens starts weakening and dies off. Love the narrative quote below and it describes how we win very nicely but don’t forget to read it in Morgan Freeman’s voice.

“From the moment the invaders arrived, breathed our air, ate and drank, they were doomed. They were undone, destroyed, after all of man’s weapons and devices had failed, by the tiniest creatures that God in his wisdom put upon this earth. By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planet’s infinite organisms. And that right is ours against all challenges. For neither do men live nor die in vain.”

The film is thrilling from the first contact to the last and it never stops, it’s the films strength because it follows the book in its pace and fear. Spielberg’s decision to follow the story from a family’s point of view has its ups and downs for example I liked that we saw the catastrophic events through the people on the ground but on the other hand I didn’t like some of them and I would have liked to have seen more action, but I am a bloodthirsty loon so… The visuals were great and I expected nothing less of Spielberg, even when you read H.G.Wells’ description it looks pretty damn close to what you imagine.

Mars Attacks

Mars Attacks (1996)

Mars Attacks is a crazy and fun mesh of parody and alien invasion. It works because Tim Burton looked at the 50’s comic strips of alien invasions and decided to make a literal interpretation of that to film and as you’d expect it’s ridiculous and there for hysterical. The story starts with a hoard of alien ships from mars surrounding the planet. As we discover from multiple betrayals the aliens are not our friends and must be stopped but as the incompetent governments fail to do so the responsibility falls to an old woman’s record player.

“I want the people to know that they still have 2 out of 3 branches of the government working for them, and that aint bad.”

The story and characters are ridiculous but in a parody of alien invasions it works brilliantly. We get a lot of old alien themes going throughout, such as the war of the world’s theme of small things destroying the aliens only instead of bacteria it’s a simple radio. Something else I always found funny was how many stars they got to play these awful wooden roles, like Pierce Brosnan and Jack Nicholson. Nobody was acting well but I think that was on purpose to mirror the old invasion films. All in all I laughed my ass off so it works, well done Burton.


They Live

They Live (1988)

John Carpenters satirical alien invasion film is famous with its signs of oppression and a paranoid theory of why the world is the way it is. Basically a handy man accidentally discovers an underground movement to reveal and stop an alien infiltration; the alien’s true form is only visible through specially designed sunglasses which show the aliens and their messages such as “Obey” and “No Independent Thought” pasted on everything. It’s a fantastic low bugjet science fiction film with a great concept behind it.

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.”

This film has been used a lot to show peoples different views and how they read different movements, one of my favourite was a mocked image of Steve Jobs giving an apple presentation where it had his face replaced with the iconic alien one from the film and on screen it reads “YOU NEED THIS.” In the same black and white style as in the film. The message works for every big business or government propaganda because it’s both funny and a little too true for comfort. Clearly Carpenter made this in a jokey way and that works because it’s a really fun film but it suggests, with a grim, knowing wink, the joke may be on us.

Article Written On:
December 27th 2013

Words By:

Tim The Film Guy

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