10- The Fourth Kind
Starting the list off at number ten is 2009’s The Fourth Kind. Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi and starring Milla Jovovich, this movie follows Dr. Abigail Tyler, a psychologist using hypnosis on her patients in Nome, Alaska, in hopes they recall memories of past alien abductions. As the movie progresses, we uncover evidence suggesting it’s not only her patients that have been in contact with the extraterrestrials.
The movie is interesting in its style, perhaps more so than in actual content. The cast kicks off the film by saying they’ll be re-enacting actual events. These “re-enactments” are then followed by what the film claims to be actual footage of events that transpired. While the plot itself may be a bit predictable, the mockumentary mixed with sci-fi thriller gives The Fourth Kind a touch of the plausible.
Just remember to watch it in a closed basement in the middle of the day.
9- Independence Day
Coming in at number nine is 1996’s Independence Day, directed by Roland Emmerich. The movie centres on humanity’s fight for survival during a less than friendly alien invasion. A computer wiz, a U.S. Marine Corps pilot, patriotic volunteers (including an alcoholic veteran who claims to have been abducted) and the President of the United States lead an attack against the invading aliens.
The movie is an action packed classic that features the best of humanity. The lengths people go to survive, and their drive to keep fighting in the face of the impossible is what draws audiences in. And if that wasn’t enough to keep you glued to your seat then the iconic image of the White House being blown to smithereens by an alien laser beam should do it.
8- Men In Black
Ever been coming home and think the cabbie driving you back seemed a bit off? He gave you a weird vibe that made you wonder if he really grew up in the suburbs or on Mars? Then welcome to the world of 1997’s Men In Black, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
The premise of the movie is that there’s a secret organization responsible for policing and monitoring extraterrestrials. The film follows Agent Jay (Smith), whose the bureau’s newest recruit, and Agent Kay (Jones)whose an MIB veteran. Throughout the film we’re introduced to a slew of aliens living amongst humans (from one that appears to be a talking pug, to one that owns a pawn shop) and learn of the sacrifices made in the name of work, not to mention what it really means to be one of the Men In Black.
7- Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Ever get a tune stuck in your head but can’t remember what song it’s from? Or picture someone’s face but can’t place where you’ve seen them? Sometimes it’s enough to drive you crazy, like it nearly did Roy (as played by Richard Dreyfuss) in 1977’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, directed by Steven Spielberg.
Aliens are spotted over the night sky over Muncie, Indiana, not long after a plane that’s been missing for thirty years is found in the Sonoran desert. Roy (Dreyfuss), one of the witnesses from Indiana, is left with a song that he’s never heard in his head, along with an image of a mountain he’s never before been to. This image and song plague him, bringing both Roy and his family to the breaking point.
Part of what makes this film so great is the special effects (which were ahead of their time), not to mention Roy’s decent into madness and the toll it takes on his family. The clinical, scientifically cold fashion in which the government studies and makes contact with the aliens is also fun, and brings a sense of the possible to this movie.
An oldie but a goodie, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind is definitely worth revisiting this summer.
Closing the first half of this two part countdown, and number six on the list is 2011’s Paul, written by and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and directed by Greg Mottola.
Who says that all aliens want to do is invade Earth or kill mass amounts of human beings? That their only goal in life is interplanetary domination and the eradication of civilization as we know it? For Paul (as voiced by Seth Rogen) it was simple as accidentally crashing to earth, being picked up by the government, and working for them until he’s of no more use, forcing him to escape custody before they cut out his brain. Finding refuge amongst two British tourists (as played by Pegg and Frost) who’re sightseeing UFO crash sites (like Area 51), the three of them (and other unlikely friends they pick up along the way) rush to get Paul off the planet before the government can recapture Paul.
What makes this movie so great are the references to classic films (such as Paul saying he gave the idea for E.T. to Spielberg) and how unexpectedly human Paul happens to be. Unlike other alien films that portray extraterrestrials as monstrous, or unusual, Paul comes across as your average guy, who just happens to be from another species. A funny, sometimes inappropriate twist on the alien genre, Paul is a great movie to re-watch this summer.