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Alien Invasion

August 1, 2014 | Alice | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

So Guardians of the Galaxy opens tonight, chock full of aliens as both the good and the bad guys - I'm so excited for this! But since I haven't seen it YET, it is making me want to look at other alien movies because hey, has Hollywood ever loved them some aliens over the years. They were everyone's favourite bad guys for the loooongest time, and still come out to play nasty on a pretty regular basis.

The first ones really started to appear in the 50s, with classic titles like The Man From Planet X and The Day The Earth Stood Still leading the way and borrowing from earlier SciFi lit many of the standard features that have persisted ever since. The War of the Worlds, which had caused major panic as a radio play, also made it onto the big screen amidst a flurry of other alien movies, most of which were the same sort of idea, humans being overrun by force, until The Invasion of the Body Snatchers suggested a creepier, quieter mode of takeover. This was the era of the B movie, and plenty of them relied heavily on these tropes while also cementing them as the way to make an alien movie. You'll recognize them in this funny little satire of a movie trailer: 

 There are so many of them out there that there are a myriad of lists out there on the internet, but you can be pretty sure that alien movies have been a huge phenomenon because of two things. One, all those lists, but most of all, a top 100 list. I mean, if you can round up 100 that you could even consider putting on a "top" list? You have got to be spoiled for choice, amirite?

And second, the satires. Best and most famous being Tim Burton's wonderful, campy Mars Attacks! which plays on every stereotype of the golden age of B movie aliens that you can think of, then runs them up a level or two to hilarious effect. Crazy-looking aliens? Check. President being presidential? But, of course! Lovely women panicking? And also serious scientists and trigger-happy army guys, yes. It's brilliant, really. Check out the trailer:  

Alien invasions have been a cinematic mainstay over since, with everything from the Alien movies to Close Encounters of the Third Kind to ET, the one that really breaks the mold by making the alien lovable, not a threat. And they still keep going strong. Independence Day, a remake of War of the Worlds... And again, another comedic riff on aliens in the wonderful Men In Black series, a big favourite of mine, with Will Smith sort of playing on his own role in Independence Day. So fun.

 And with recent alien movies made from YA novels like Ender's Game and I Am Number Four, it doesn't seem like aliens are going to leave earth any time soon... But that's another post.

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