Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The best alien movies of all time

5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Steven Spielberg was once the king of alien movies. He’s since tarnished his once golden reputation (yes, I'm talking about 'War of the Worlds'), but ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ still remains a shining gem in his crown. The 1977 film essentially revolves around a line worker that is drawn to a specific spot in the woods after an encounter with an UFO. ‘Close Encounters’ isn’t as flashy as some other alien movies – but it is emotionally moving and it still stands up today. That’s a testament to a film that should never be remade – even though I know some idiot will try to remake it. Modern audiences probably wouldn't be able to sit through a movie like 'Close Encounters' because it's too "quiet." That's its strength to me.

4. District 9 – This 2009 gem took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to like it. In fact, I wasn’t expecting to see it. Then I keep hearing good things about it. Finally, I gave in – and I wasn’t disappointed. ‘District 9’ is one of those few fake documentary movies that works. It revolves around a government agent that is exposed to biotechnology that starts turning him into an alien life form – like those that have been forced to live in slums since their craft crashed to Earth years before. The movie does have a moral compass – but somehow it manages to not be too preachy. Star Sharlto Copley is also a revelation as the central character. In this day and age, it’s hard to make an original movie. ‘District 9’ is one of the few that has come along in the past decade.

3. Aliens – The 1986 follow-up to ‘Alien’ is louder, longer and more action-packed than its quieter counterpart. Sure, I could have gone with ‘Alien’ instead of ‘Aliens,’ but I’m usually drawn to the sequel for some reason. Between Ripley’s relationship with an orphaned Newt, to Michael Biehn’s quiet presence as Hicks to Bill Paxton’s hilariously over-the-top portrayal of Hudson – ‘Aliens’ has a little to love for everybody. My favorite portrayal is actually Paul Reiser as the duplicitous Carter Burke -- a role that shows Reiser actually has range. The thing I loved about the ‘Alien’ movies is that – no matter how many times these aliens proved that they couldn’t be controlled by humans – the greedy never ceased to try. The Company in the 'Alien' movies is the true monster -- even if the aliens are the ones killing people.

2. Super 8 – This movie was really the surprise of 2011. Not only did the film quietly make a statement at the box office, but it also quietly burrowed into and embedded itself in people’s hearts. ‘Super 8,’ directed by the always solid J.J. Abrams, is the story of a group of kids in 1979 who are filming their own horror movie. They inadvertently catch the escape of an alien during a late night film session. This isn’t an ordinary alien. In fact, it’s one that has been tortured and turned by the American government. Not only is it mean and nasty, but it’s murderous as well. Despite how mean the alien is – as a viewer you can’t help but cheer when the alien does find a way to go home. Much like E.T. isn’t really an alien story, though, neither is ‘Super 8.’ This movie is about two families struggling to overcome one tragedy. They just happen to do it with the shadow of an alien space ship hanging above them.

1. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial – I can recite the entire conversation between Elliott and E.T. in the waning moments of the 1982 classic. I learned it when I was seven years old and I never forgot it. That’s how well this Steven Spielberg classic still holds up. ‘E.T.’ is not the story of a boy and an alien. It’s the story of a lonely middle child and how he’s dealing with his parents' divorce. What’s great about ‘E.T.’ is the love that E.T. and Elliott develop for each other. When E.T.’s finger lights up and points at Elliott’s forehead at the end of the movie and E.T. says “I’ll be right here” – I still sob to this day. I also have that exhilarated feeling when E.T. makes the bikes of all the boys fly over the heads of the cops as they try to get him to his spaceship. The whole movie is magical -- and I doubt that there will ever be another alien movie that can top it.

Honorable mentions go to ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ ‘Independence Day,’ ‘The Thing,’ ‘The Abyss,’ ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978),’ ‘Men in Black,’ and ‘The Faculty.’

What do you think? What are the best alien movies of all time?


Blogger Nick's Blog said...

Alien is the ultimate Alien move - how can you imagine that there is a better film than this? suspense, suprise, horror, graphic detail, shock, wierdness - a masterpiece for it's time - this was the first alien movie that shocked the civilised world to the idea of unfriendly aliens... a masterpiece in itself in everyway - undisputed in my opinion! n

August 31, 2012 at 5:23 PM 

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