Welcome to The Top 5, where every week, we list five things for a given topic. These topics can range from "5 Things We Liked About The Power Rangers Teaser Trailer" to "5 Things We Want (Or Don't Want) In Ben Affleck's The Batman."
Of course, because everyone has an opinion, there is sure to be some disagreements, which is why, despite the title "The Top 5," very rarely are these actual "best of" articles. Instead, they're meant to provide entertaining insight, and to stir a discussion, and give everyone a chance to speak their mind.
If you have a suggestion for a Top 5 piece, send them my way via #TheTop5LRM on Twitter. If I choose your topic, I'll be sure to give you a shoutout!
Now, on with today's topic!
5 ALIEN INVASION/CONTACT MOVIES TO WATCH BEFORE SEEING ARRIVAL!
Alien invasion movies. There’s something universal and timeless about the alien invasion story. Sure, at a surface level, they’re either exciting or horrific tales about a stronger or smarter species decimating the world, but on another level they’re generally stories about helplessness, uniting as a planet, and understanding our place in the universe.
Hollywood has traveled this well-worn territory time and again for decades. Sometimes the films they put out are fun, action flicks with plenty of explosions to spare, and sometimes they’re more low-key thoughtful movies about the human condition. Regardless, there have been plenty of amazing “what-if” scenarios plastered onto the silver screen.
In preparation of Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming alien invasion flick, Arrival, here are five other invasion movies to see before you buy your ticket to that movie.
Nowadays, there’s a certain stink that audiences associate with films from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan. Sure, he’s had a bad run, but between The Visit, and his new film, Split, it seems like the filmmaker is well on his way to his former glory, which includes such films as Signs.
Signs is M. Night’s take on an invasion story. Unlike most films, it takes a distinctly personal approach to the story, giving the audience a somewhat claustrophobic take on the concept. Never do we leave the perspective of the main family, and in many ways, the movie is approached like a horror film. Some think the flick sh**s the bed at the end with the prophecy and religion, but regardless, up to that point in the movie, there’s little doubt at the care with which the story is told. Between the strong performances, carefully-planned cinematography, and memorable score, it'll always be a win in my book.
This is pure action/sci-fi camp at its best. If you’ve ever wondered what Robert Rodriguez’s “sellout” movie would look like, this is it. While this may only be the film that he does less than 87 jobs on, it definitely still has his trademark style, with quick cuts, a breakneck pace, and a large cast.
Taking its cue from the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Faculty tells the story of a high school whose faculty are the first to get “possessed” by an invading alien race. The faculty then works to take over its students, the town, and the rest of the world. Written by Scream’s Kevin Williamson, the movie has the same tongue-in-cheek tone, and is never worried about taking itself too seriously. Will this movie win any awards? Nah. But if you kick back with a group of friends and a 12-pack of beer, it could be a good Saturday night.
PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE
Directed by the master of horrible cinema, Edward Wood Jr., Plan 9 From Outer Space is widely considered to be one of the worst movies ever created. The film features the outrageous plot which centers around an alien species’ desire to prevent us Earthlings from creating a doomsday weapon. Their plan to stop us? Raise our dead and force us to listen — and if we don’t listen, we’ll be killed in a zombie apocalypse. No joke. I can’t make up a plot this ridiculous.
But as terrible as the plot is, the filmmaking is even worse. The sets are all-too-clearly sets, the storytelling is scattered and nonsensical, and the acting is abysmal. Perhaps the worst offense, however, comes in the form of Bela Lugosi — the world famous actor who portrayed Dracula in his heyday. Wood had shot some footage of Lugosi before starting on Plan 9, and utilized it in the film. Lugosi’s character was meant to come back in the form of a ghoul, but with Lugosi's being dead and all, Wood cast a completely different man in the role, covered his face with a cape, and hoped the audience simply would not notice the bait-and-switch. If you’re into terrible movies, you can’t go wrong with this.
EDGE OF TOMORROW
A recent film on the list, Edge of Tomorrow was unlucky enough to follow Tom Cruise’s Oblivion, a science-fiction film that wasn’t received too well by fans or critics. As a result, when Edge of Tomorrow was first advertised, it almost looked like too similar of a film for anyone to bother heading to the theaters. The box office results suffered, but when all said and done, the film had strong legs in succeeding weeks, and largely did okay thanks to positive word of mouth.
The story follows selfish Major William Cage, who is thrown to the frontlines of an campaign to fight off their would-be alien invaders. He is killed relatively early in battle, only to wake up prior to the tragic battle. He then finds himself in a Groundhog Day-type time loop, and each time he replays the events, he gets closer and closer to finding a way to defeat these alien foes. Not only is this a great action flick, but it’s a well told science-fiction story that takes advantage of genre tropes, all while imbuing it with an extra dose of modern sensibility and comedy.
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
Had a go with a classic for this one. No, it doesn’t necessarily hold up to today’s standards in terms of the actual filmmaking, but there is something quite magical about the interpretation of science-fiction in the 1950s. There was something imaginative and pure that’s been lost since then, and as such, it’s hard to take away from that aspect of the movie.
The story itself revolves around the events following a UFO landing on Earth, whose inhabitants have come to the planet with peaceful intentions. In true Earth fashion, the alien is met with distrust and hostility, and is in many ways is a commentary on the stupidity of mankind. The premise itself isn’t entirely unlike Plan 9 From Outer Space, only it is executed with a much steadier hand. Obviously, as an older film, it doesn’t have the draw of more modern movies, but if you’re a cinephile, you’ll want to add this to your list of sci-fi must-sees.
What do you think of this list? What movies were left out that are you personal favorites? Let us know in the comments down below!