The Weekend Rent: Five Favorite Alien Invasion Movies

The Weekend Rent: Five Favorite Alien Invasion Movies

Mar 11, 2011

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's another alien invasion movie heading your way this weekend in the form of Battle: Los Angeles, starring Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez. This time hostile extra-terrestrials are attacking earth's major cities and seem to be after the planet's water supply. A group of Marines and civilians trapped in the danger zone in Santa Monica struggle to move inland and find the aliens' weakness before the City of Angels becomes a city of ash.

There have been numerous tales of alien invasion since H.G. Well's 1898 novel The War of the Worlds, which itself resulted in an alarming radio broadcast by Orson Welles in 1938 and feature-length film by Steven Spielberg in 2005. What follows are Blu-ray Bob's five favorite alien invasion flicks. What are yours?

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The aliens weren't really "invading" in Steven Spielberg's 1977 sci-fi classic, but it got us looking at lights in the sky in a new way and compelled Gen X kids to carve Wyoming's Devils Tower in their mashed potatoes like Richard Dreyfuss did in the movie. If and when we do get visitors from other worlds, will we come together as nations and reach out to communicate with them with musical notes like in this movie? Probably not, considering how we currently greet aliens from other countries with electrified fences and a spray of bullets, but Spielberg posits a more benevolent otherworldly encounter filled with hope and wonder that is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.

Independence Day: After alien ships hover over the world's biggest cities and humanity witnesses the destruction of its greatest monuments and buildings, U.S. President Bill Pullman gives a rousing speech in which he declares, "We will not go quietly into the night!" Instead, humanity fights back, including Will Smith, a pilot at the forefront of earth's counter-offensive with a knack for kicking alien butt, and Jeff Goldblum with his super Macintosh that can upload a virus into an alien spacecraft. Sure, even in 2011, try to network a PC and a Mac and see how that works out, but we love the cheesy gung-ho spirit of this explosive Roland Emmerich action film available on both DVD and Blu-ray.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): There have been many film adaptations of Jack Finney's 1955 novel, but none (literally) get under the skin as much as the 1978 version starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright and Leonard Nimoy. In the movie, flowering pods descend to earth that look harmless enough until you go to sleep near one and the plants extend thread-like roots over you and create an exact clone of your body—leaving you a dehydrated mummy. How can you tell if your friend is really a friend and not some alien clone? Just wait for it to emit that banshee-like howl that still sends shivers down the spine in this classic that is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.

District 9: This unique alien invasion movie, which was nominated for Best Picture, has a marooned alien craft hovering over South Africa. The stranded aliens—disparagingly called "prawns" because of their crustacean-like appearance—are relegated to a slum called District 9 where they live in hovels and are bullied by the military. Sharlto Copley plays a mild-mannered manager at the MNU Department of Alien Affairs who develops sympathy for the prawns and helps a father and son alien pair escape back to the mother ship after he himself is infected and starts to mutate into a prawn. This extraordinary sci-fi thriller is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.

The Thing: John Carpenter remade 1951's The Thing from Another World and turned it into a gore-filled nightmare that still gives chills. The action takes place at a remote Antarctic station in which the team—including helicopter pilot Kurt Russell—observe a dog being shot at as it runs through the snow being pursued by a helicopter. They later find out, to their horror, that the dog is really a hostile alien that can mimic the shape of any life-form. Man turns against man in the sub-zero temperatures since no one knows who is human and who has become an alien host. This dark, claustrophobic horror show is one of Carpenter's very best and is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.

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