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Best Invasion Movies: an incomplete list

July 18, 2009

independence_dayWhat made me think of this? The Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter is taking photos of all the Apollo moon landing sites except Apollo 12, and should be able to even tell us if the American Flag is still standing. I thought it got knocked down when the alien mothership flew by in Independence Day.

OK, so that got me thinking: what are the best invasion movies I’ve seen? I’m sure I will have forgotten some. It’s a short list. Most alien invasion movies suck…

Good ones –

Independence Day – despite Bill Pullman being a wimp President. Why did everyone cheer when they blew up the White House? I heard that happened all over when people first saw it.

The Day The Earth Stood Still – the original Robert Wise version, not the recent one. Which sucked, and not because of Keanu Reeves. It’s not really an invasion story, I know, but still…check out the Christian undertones to this movie, which is commonly thought of now as more of a Cold War-commentary piece. (Which it was as well, of course.)

War of the Worlds – the Gene Barry one in the 1950s, with the superb effects by George Pal. Very religious undertones in this one, too. Anything since – movies, TV – not anywhere close.

Cloverfield – yes, Cloverfield. It makes you queasy to watch because of the handheld camera effects, but it is a very interesting take on the invasion idea. I would love to see a sequel, and yet I don’t know how they could do it. You certainly can’t do it like the first one was done – it’s a gimmick that works once, at best, and you can’t do it again.

Men In Black – Tommy Lee Jones is the perfect black-agency guy. And Will Smith is pretty much the perfect black black-agency guy. (Sorry. Had to say it.) These two movies are just preposterous enough to be the way it really is, you know?

Honorable Mentions – This Island Earth, Predator (even though he was just visiting, on vacation), Kronos ( because I never did figure out what was going on, and in a 50s movie that’s pretty unusual), The Thing (the original, of course, but the remake was OK).

I don’t like” Invasion of the Body Snatchers – type” movies, so I can’t comment on those.

Special Award For Scaring The Hell Out Of Me When I Was A Kid – Invaders from Mars. (The original, not the Karen Black remake. The second one sucked like Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds did.)

Special Award For Being Stupid Enough To Be Pretty Good Even If You’re Not Drinking – Mars Attacks (Only Tim Burton thinks like this. Thank God.)

By the way, the Best Science Fiction Action Adventure Film Of All Time is “Armageddon.” No, really. I love that movie. I love it almost as much as I love Destination Moon and Buckaroo Banzai. They each have flaws, sorry to say, that keep them out of the running for that award, wonderful as they both are in their own totally different ways.

What's Not To Like?

What's Not To Like?

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