Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The worst alien movies of all time

5. Alien 3 – ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’ were quality entertainment so I don’t know how they screwed up Alien 3 so badly. Sigourney Weaver returns – and promptly shaves her head – because she’s crash landed on a penal colony where she’s the only woman. Poor Newt and Hicks are dead and Bishop has been tossed on the scrap heap of life. It wouldn’t be fair to say that everything about Alien 3 is bad. There are a couple of harrowing chase scenes in the latter part of the film that are fairly interesting – but they’re certainly not enough to save this dreck. The thing about the first two ‘Alien’ films is that they ended on hopeful notes. I think Director David Fincher was trying to be profound when he had Ripley make her swan dive into lava at the end – complete with a queen alien bursting from her chest – but the whole thing came across as corny and forced. Sadly, ‘Alien Resurrection’ wasn’t much of an improvement five years later.

4. Phantoms – Ben Affleck may be the bomb in this film (just ask Jay and Silent Bob), but I bet he looks back on this schlock with a great deal of embarrassment. Based on the book by Dean Koontz, ‘Phantoms’ finds an evil alien life form threatening a group of individuals in a remote area (isn’t it always in a remote area?). Besides Affleck (who really was only starting to make a dent in Hollywood at the time), ‘Phantoms’ also stars Rose McGowan, Joanna Going, Peter O’Toole and Liev Schreiber – all of whom should have been embarrassed by their participation in this horrific flick. 

3. War of the Worlds (2005) – There have been earlier versions of this film that were not only good but exceptional. This movie is a case of Hollywood catching remake fever and butchering a classic. Their first misstep was casting Tom Cruise – who was essentially famous for jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch back then. The second was the art direction itself. I’ve seen better versions of the alien tripods on bad SyFy versions of the film. You’d expect a movie directed by Steven Spielberg to be visually breathtaking. You’d be wrong in this case. The film’s only redeeming casting move was a young Dakota Fanning – who practically stole the movie. Problem is, the script was so bad even she didn’t have the power to save the film. 

2. Plan 9 From Outer Space --  This movie is so bad it’s become synonymous with truly awful cinema. That being said, if you’re in the mood to sit back and make fun of a movie, this is the one to watch. Kind of like a real life ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000.’ The film, directed by Ed Wood, stars Bela Lugosi. Here’s the thing, Lugosi had been dead for three years when Wood made the film. He just inserted old footage of Lugosi and then used stand-ins. It was jarring – to say the least. The plot of the film? It really doesn’t matter, but just for your own edification (if you’ve never heard of this film), aliens essentially come to Earth and want to turn humanity into zombies. I told you it was stupid.
1. Signs – This movie was released at a time when people were still trying to pretend M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t a one-trick pony. People have since given up the ghost – but it took duds like ‘The Village’, ‘The Happening’ and ‘Lady in the Water’ for most viewers to finally concede that Shyamalan was a poor filmmaker. In other words, ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘The Sixth Sense’ were a fluke. I knew it the minute I saw ‘Signs.’ Not only are both Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix miscast, but the whole film is just ridiculous. I mean, why would aliens that are hurt by water come to a planet predominantly covered in water? Also, even though they had vastly superior scientific skills, these aliens apparently came to Earth only to get stymied by a pantry. Makes perfect sense. Still, that wasn’t the worst part of the movie. No, the worst part is the “psychic” part – where the little girl in the movie somehow knows to leave glasses of water all over the house because one day there will be an alien invasion and a glass of water will save us all. The whole movie is just ludicrous.

Honorable mentions go to: ‘Critters,’ ‘Transformers’ (all three of them are bad), 'Invasion,'  'The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)', ‘Cloverfield,’ ‘Battlefield Earth,’ ‘Skyline,’ ‘Alien vs. Predator’ (both of them are bad), and ‘Starship Troopers.’

What do you think? What were the worst alien movies of all time?


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