Rated Greg’s All Time Favorite Alien Invasion Movies – Ranked
- Edge of Tomorrow
- Attack the Block
War of the WorldsArrival The FacultyWar of the Worlds
Alien invasion movies tend to follow a pretty consistent formula. Within the first ten minutes, aliens and/or UFO’s show up seemingly out of nowhere on a bright and sunny day. For the next fifteen minutes, chaos ensues and people lose their shit, wondering whether they are dealing with a bunch of E.T. sweethearts or, more likely, beings with sinister intentions. The two parties inevitably throw hands, with the bulk of the film featuring the space invaders going HAM on all earthlings that happen to be slower than Tom Cruise, Hollywood’s all-time rushing leader. In the last ten minutes, an actor billed lower down on the poster figures out the chink in the enemy armor by sheer luck and the aliens are immediately toast (kinda like the first time you stumbled upon the correct combination to defeat King Hippo in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out). Roll credits.
So usually my anticipation for yet another alien invasion movie would be limited because of the predictable nature, but I had a strong feeling Arrival would bring something new to the table. It’s directed by Denis Villeneuve, who’s coming in on a 3-movie hit streak (Prisoners, Enemy, SICARIO) each of which is exciting, compelling, and just the right amount of weird. I figured in his hands Villeneuve would put a different spin on the tropes mentioned above, and he certainly delivers. Arrival is about as smart and mature as a sci-fi movie can get, replete with metaphors to the current division of humanity.
Of course it doesn’t hurt to have Amy Adams as the front and center of your film. She brings unequivocally my favorite actress performance of the year thus far and I have a hard time seeing that changing. Co-stars Jeremy Renner & Forest Whitaker try their best to keep up, but Adams is just on one from start to finish. One thing that I’ll admit did catch me completely off guard was just how freakin’ emotional this film is for an “alien movie.” The story alone is powerful but it’s also very much bolstered by its music. I’ve joked before that using an M83 song in your movie is a cheat code to my emotions, and Max Richter is another such artist that elicits this effect. You may not recognize the name but if you watch HBO’s tearjerker series The Leftovers you’ve heard his stuff. Tier 1 – RATED GREG