Cinema tends to have cyclical patterns. Every few years there will be a plethora of films based on the same subject, normally after one film becomes a runaway hit. For example, after the success of Spider-Man, we were besieged by superhero movies, and off the success of Twilight, vampire and werewolf films and TV shows became the flavour of choice.
It doesn’t appear that a particular film has led to the latest crop of ‘alien invasion’ films but, let’s face it, the premise is always popular. Be it shows like V or The 4400, aliens always draw in crowds (except in the case of The Fourth Kind). So, over the next 18 months our multiplexes are set to be invaded by extraterrestrial invasion films (and the remake of Red Dawn, if MGM ever releases it).
Putting a twist on the alien invasion premise, Monsters features creatures that have actually been here for some time. So long, in fact, that Central America is now a quarantined zone due to the military’s inability to successfully get rid of them.
Directed by FX wizard Gareth Edwards and made on a shoestring budget, Monsters tells the story of a journalist escorting the daughter of a media tycoon through the infected zone. Described as The African Queen with aliens, Monsters could be an interesting take on a familiar premise.
Already generating buzz due to its literally ‘eye-catching’ trailers, Skyline is set to divide the geek community. On one hand, the film looks awesome, with alien spaceships attracting humans like moths to a flame with a blue light, before sucking them into the air. On the other hand, it’s directed by The Brothers Strausse, the siblings responsible for delivering the cinematic train wreck that was AVP: Requiem.
Still, the latest trailer shows impressive aerial battles as the USAF attempts to fight the aliens, Eric Balfour and Scrub‘s Donald Faison trying to flee the aliens, and some sort of bio-mechanical monster crushing cars!
Could go either way…
Battle: Los Angeles
A more serious take on the alien invasion film, Battle: Los Angeles (now known as World Invasion: Battle LA)promises to be what Black Hawk Down would have been like if the military were fighting aliens instead of Somali militants. Featuring Aaron Eckhart, Michael Pena and Michelle Rodriguez as Marines battling the aliens on the streets of LA, the film has already generated a lot of buzz from Comic Con.
Early footage and photos look impressive, but I can’t help but worry. Director Jonathan Liebesman is probably best known for lame horror films, Darkness Fallsand The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Still, Warner Brothers believes in him. It’s given him the reins for Clash Of The Titans 2.
I Am Number Four
This tween alien invasion film features Brit pretty boy Alex Pettyfer (Stormbreaker, Beastly) as an alien, who is undercover as an high school pupil, forced to go on the run after other members of his team are killed.
Directed by Disturbia‘s D J Caruso, this is the alien invasion film for the teenagers, with the young lead picking up cool PG-13 powers and a love interest in the form of Glee‘s Dianna Agron, as he attempts to flee the evil forces bent on his destruction.
The film also stars Kevin Durand (Robin Hood, Lost) and Timothy Olyphant (Hitman).
Aliens can be amusing, however, especially if they’re Paul, a ‘grey’ on the run from Area 51 who is found by two sci-fi geeks in the form of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad) and starring some of the biggest comedy names of today including Jason Bateman, Jane Lynch, Jeffrey Tambor, Bill Hader, Kristin Wiig, and sci-fi legend, Sigourney Weaver, Paul is going to be the comedic antidote to the other invasion films of the next few months.
Cowboys & Aliens
Arguably the biggest budget film in the list, Cowboys & Aliens sees Jon Favreau (Iron Man) directing a script from Star Trek scribes, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
Based on the graphic novel, cowboys and Native Americans team up to repel alien invaders. In essence, it’s possibly the coolest thing ever, and Favreau has the cast to do the job, including Daniel Craig, Sam Rockwell, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde and Paul Dano.
JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg have teamed up for this film that is an homage to the old Amblin films of the 80s and, in particular, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. The teaser trailer will, of course, be extremely familiar to everyone reading this, but casting has just been announced, with names including Elle Fanning and King Kong‘s Kyle Chandler mentioned.
Potentially the most exciting film on the list, just for Abrams and Spielberg working together.
The foreign option, Extraterrestre is a Spanish film that sees UFOs fill the skies above Earth. While everyone else is running for their lives, one man has to decide what to do, especially as he’s with the girl of his dreams. Fight or flight?
Currently being contemplated by Sam Raimi, EDF tells the story of the Earth Defense Force, which mobilises Earth’s combined militaries in the face of an alien invasion.
The film has been compared to Independence Day, with Earth having to defend itself from an alien armada and has been described as a ‘sci-fi Top Gun’. Can’t wait.
Read a bit more about EDF here: Sam Raimi linked to alien invasion movie, EDF
Independence Day 2
Although the original was made in 1996, Roland Emmerich is still planning on making a sequel to his alien invasion hit. Not sure what the storyline would be, considering Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum completely wiped out the alien force in the first film. But Emmerich has hinted that Will Smith is up for it (and could even be the president in the new film), and Bill Pullman has shown interest in returning.
Instead of the zombie apocalypse, perhaps we should be preparing for an all-out alien invasion. I will say this, though. If any aliens are monitoring our planet, they must think we are the most xenophobic race ever. No wonder they’re staying away. It’s for their own good!