Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Top 11 Aliens Visiting Earth Movies

In eager anticipation of two upcoming "Aliens Visiting Earth" movies ("Paul", "Cowboys & Aliens"), I have compiled the top 11 best Aliens on Earth movies... according to an extended poll consisting of me and my friends.
In addition, if "Super 8" is an alien movie I am very excited about that as well... if it's not an alien movie I'm still excited.

11. Predator (1987) John McTiernan
Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. highly intelligent alien being with cool knifey-looking weapons and a nack for camouflage. A no-brainer who is going to win this fight. Arnie!! In the trailer the Predator is described as being able to "see our body heat AND our fear!" This extra-terrestrial warrior picks off a whole slew of steroid induced commandos, but one (Arnold aka Dutch) knows that the only way to survive is to become a predator himself. As cheesy as the lines in the movie are, the movie is actually supremely entertaining. Plus there's more carnage than you could ever hope for... unless you're familiar with any other Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, then it's exactly the amount of carnage you could hope for.
Best Quote: [after Dutch has nailed a guy to the wall with his knife]
Dutch: Stick around.

10. K-Pax (2001) Lain Softly
Is K-Pax an alien movie? This movie is either about an alien named Prot (Kevin Spacey) committed to a psychiatric institute or about a mental patient named Robert Porter (Kevin Spacey) with delusions of being an extraterrestrial from the planet K-Pax. The best evidence for alien is a scene in which the head psychiatrist, Dr. Powell (Jeff Bridges), introduces Prot to some astrophysicists where he provides accurate knowledge about the galaxy that baffles them. Robert Porter on the other hand, was a man presumably dead by suicide after he found his wife and daughter murdered. The idea of an alien walking among everyone else is hard to believe, but when the alien is also presumably a mental patient suffering delusions of grandeur things get "crazy"... good.
Best Quote: Prot: Why is a soap bubble round? Because it is the most energy efficient configuration. Similarly, on your planet I look like you; on K-Pax I look like a K-PAXian.

9. Men In Black (1997) Barry Sonnenfeld
Aliens don't only visit Earth in this Sci-Fi/Action/Comedy, they live there amongst everyone else. Aliens disguised as humans living peacefully (for the most part) among us is a good start, but add a top-secret organization that monitors alien activity and this movie easily makes it in the top 11. Agent Jay (Will Smith AKA The Fresh Prince) and Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones AKA the man who's been in his 50's for the last 3 decades) kick some alien ass, while maintaining great comedic banter. The special effects (giant cockroaches are pretty scary) and the whole "this kind of thing happens everyday" really make this movie great.
Best Quote: Beatrice: Edgar, what on earth was that?
Edgar: [Bug in disguise] Sugar...
Beatrice: I've never seen sugar do that.
Edgar: Give me... sugar... in water.

8. Starman (1984) John Carpenter
Starman tells the story of an alien (Jeff Bridges) who comes to Earth in response to the Voyager 2 space probe invitation. However, instead of being welcomed to Earth, the alien UFO is shot down by the US government. After crashing the alien (a blue ball of energy) stumbles into a Wisconsin home and finds a strand of hair to clone into a human body. Problem! The hair he finds belongs to the resident's dead husband. The woman Jenny Hayden, played by Karen Allen, witnesses this transformation and is obviously a little freaked. The Starman (Bridges) now needs Jenny to take him to Arizona's Barringer Crater where he has called his alien buddies to pick him up, and Starman must make it to the crater within three days or he will die. This movie at it's core is really a love story. As Jenny and Starman are fleeing from the pursuant army to the crater they fall in love. Whether the movie ends happily or not is debatable, but it's a great movie nonetheless.
Best Quote: Starman: Shit!
Jenny Hayden: Don't mind him. He's just learning English.
Roadhouse Waitress: Well, he's got a hell of a start on it!

7. Independence Day (1996) Roland Emmerich
The Aliens are disguised as even scarier looking aliens in Independence Day. This movie is just a good "hostile aliens are invading the Earth" movie. There isn't much of a message other than aliens are bad but Jeff Goldblum can figure out a way to kill them. Will Smith is the muscle (the only human in the early parts of the movie to take down an alien) Jeff Goldblum is the brains (he gives the Mother Ship a "cold" that brings down the force fields protecting the alien ships), and they work together to save Earth. It's just a good, high-octane thriller where Randy Quaid plays a crazy, paranoid alcoholic... a considerable stretch for him.
Best Quote: Captain Steven Hiller: [after crashing the alien spaceship by the Grand Canyon] *That's* what you get! Ha Ha! Look at you! Ya ship's all banged up!
Captain Steven Hiller: Who's the man? Huh? Who's the man? Wait till I get another plane! I'm a line ya friends up right beside you! Where ya at, huh? Where ya at?
[Hiller opens the spaceship, the alien screams, Hiller smacks him in the head]

Captain Steven Hiller: [beat] Welcome to earth.

6. The Abyss (1989) James Cameron
This movie is much more than just an alien movie. You have aliens, nukes, Navy SEALs, some deep-water ruff-necks, and the threat of Soviets and a hurricane. So yeah this movie is pretty awesome. The SEAL team and the ruff-necks are sent down to this sunken submarine to retrieve an active warhead. After the team gets stuck down in the sub they encounter some strange creatures (or the NTI" non-terrestrial intelligence") shit starts getting real. Lt. Coffey, SEAL team leader, becomes paranoid the NTI's are hostile and plans on sending the nuke down into the trench (or the abyss) to destroy them. Then a bunch of other stuff happens and the NTIs save the day. The special effects and photography in this movie are very Cameron-y... pretty much a decade ahead of it's time.
Best Quote: Lindsey Brigman We all see what we want to see. Coffey looks and he sees Russians. He sees hate and fear. You have to look with better eyes than that.

5. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 & 1978) Don Siegel & Philip Kaufman
Alien plant "spore/pod/seed things" take over the bodies of humans... in order to replace the entire human race. The aliens take over your body or make a duplicate while the person is asleep, and the aliens look exactly like humans but completely void of emotion. Now the real problem is trying to convince everyone else that these "Pod People" aren't human, whilst trying to stay awake to avoid becoming a pod person as well. The 1956 version is arguably a metaphor of Soviet Spies in America looking like everyone else. It is most noticeable in the scene where the main character, Dr. Miles Bennell, looks into the camera and yells at the audience: "They're here already! You're Next! You're Next!" In the 1978 version, Bennell doesn't get the chance to warn humanity before he is turned into a Pod Person.
Best Quote: Jack Bellicec (Jeff Goldblum): Here I am, you pod bastards! Hey, pods! Come and get me you scum!

4. Mars Attacks! (1996) Tim BurtonThis movie probably has one of the best casts out of any movie ever! You have Jack Nicholson as The President, Glenn Close as the First Lady, Natalie Portman as their daughter, Martin Short as the Press Secretary, and Tom Jones as Tom Jones. Also in the movie: Jack Black, Danny DeVito, Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Michael J. Fox, Lukas Haas, and Jim Brown. That's all I really would have to say, but this movie is also quite delightful. It's cheesy and absolutely ridiculus, but also extremely smart. The Tim Burton-ness is a little more subtle in this movie (which is nice) and of course the acting is great... because there are a lot of good actors.
Best Quote:
Billy Glenn Norris (Jack Black's Character): [about to get on the bus to leave for the Army, to his brother] So long, retard.

3. District 9 (2009) Neill BlomkampDistrict 9 is unique and revolutionary on many accounts. First, humans are the bad guys. For the most part Humans in this movie are the bad guys. They've set up a sort of ghetto for all the aliens (called prawns) to live in, they frequently do surgical experiments on the prawns (they cut them up and examin 'em), and humans only keep them around to figure out how to use their weaponry. Second, this movie takes place in South Africa and is a metaphorical reminder of Apartheid. Not many science fiction movies have such obvious political satire. Third, a human (our main character Wikus Van De Merwe) starts to turn into an alien after coming into contact with some of the prawn's biotechnology. It is during his transformation that he actually notices how badly the prawns are treated, and how much humans and prawns have in common. This alien movie is much more dramatic and thought provoking than most other alien movies.
Best Quote: Wikus Van De Merwe: [in Christopher's ship] This whole's thing's under your shack? For 20 years, you've had this fookin' thing hidden out here? This is, this is very illegal, I mean, this is... this is a fine.

2. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) Steven SpielbergYou have to wait the entire movie before you see the aliens, but it is certainly worth the wait. Considering that this movie came out in 1977 the aliens are very realistic and believable looking. They don't look like bad animatronic puppets or anything too jokesy. It is important for the aliens to be believable, but it is certainly far more important for the story to be interesting and compelling. In Close Encounters, the aliens have (in a way) chosen people to witness their arrival. The main characters all witnessed and had an experience with the aliens' UFOs , and by encountering these UFOs they received a message as to where to see the aliens again. And these people are obsessed with witnessing the aliens again. Any movie that involves Richard Dreyfus scalpting Wyoming's "Devil's Tower" in his mashed potatoes is worth looking in to.
Best Quote:
David Laughlin: We didn't choose this place! We didn't choose these people! They were invited!

1. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982) Steven Spielberg
"I'll be right here" the words vibrate out of the adorable extra-terrestrial's mouth as his finger glows and he begins to leave our planet and Elliot behind. One can't help to think about our favorite pets and believing they'll always being with us. The connection between Elliot and ET is stronger than any connection between someone and their pet, but in a way we all understand the bond. Spielberg accomplished a movie that basically hits every genre (except maybe horror although when we first meet ET it's a little scary). However, it is a love, action , comedy, sci-fy, thriller, and feel-good movie. Every scene in this movie is classic: ET being lured by Reese's Pieces, ET getting drunk and therefore resulting in Elliot's drunken state at school because of their connection, and of course ET's great escape via flying bicycle. The only problem with this movie is that it is a fictional movie and ET may not be actually real.
Best Quote: Elliot He's a man from outer space and we're taking him to his spaceship.
Greg: Well, can't he just beam up?
Elliot: This is *reality*, Greg. :

Honorable Mention:
Muppets From Space- It has everything: Muppets; references to movies like: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Independence Day, the Shawshank Redemption; and it has a great cast not including the Muppets. However, it's tough to put it on this list because Gonzo is first and foremost a Muppet... and therefore not an alien. So, Gonzo's brethren who come down at the end of the movie are in extension Muppets as well.

Transformers- Shia's great, Tuturro's great, and that girl is good looking, but those fuckin alien robots.

Flight of the Navigator- Great Great movie but the only alien you really see is that weird little cute thing. It doesn't quite make the list, but it's a great movie none-the-less.

Cone Heads- Great SNL skit but not quite a great alien movie.

My Favorite Martian- The 1999 movie is pretty solid with a great cast, but just outside the bubble.

Miracle on Ice- Inspirational, and one of the only true stories on this list.

Quick Notes:
Three actors star in two different movies on this list:
Will Smith- Independents Day & Men in Black
Jeff Goldblum- Independents Day & Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Jeff Bridges (only one to play an alien)- Starman (Oscar Nomination) & K-Pax

Steven Spielberg has directed two of these movies: E.T. & Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Movies Nominated for Best Picture:
E.T. The Extraterrestrial
District 9

In most of these movies, the aliens come in peace.

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