We rank 10 of the very worst alien invasion movies made this millennium
Ah, alien invasion movies. Hollywood loves to produce them, and sometimes they even succeed. The good ones mostly seem to be either classic ones or ones that parody the alien invasion genre altogether. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing and District 9 come to mind as examples of well-made, engaging examples of the genre, and we all remember Men in Black as a classic extraterrestrial comedy.
A lot of times, however, films about an alien invasion seem to fail in one way or another. Whether it’s over-reliance on visual effects, poor story or an abundance of plot holes, they just do not live up to higher standards of sci-fi cinema. Sometimes they are ridiculously fun to watch simply because they’re so bad, and other times… maybe not so much. For this list we have selected 10 of the very worst alien invasion movies for your pleasure.
10] THE INVASION (2007)
I have mentioned Invasion of the Body Snatchers in the opening paragraph, and this film is a fourth remake of it. The original legendary film by Jack Finney, made in 1956 was a massively successful hit at the time, so it’s no surprise that everyone tried to jump in on the success. Some remakes were relatively well-made, such as Philip Kaufman’s one from the 70s, but this one was… well, not that great. But is it that surprising when you try to remake a classic story that’s been done thrice before you? Tsk tsk… Hollywood never learns.
9] INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (2016)
We all remember Roland Emmerich’s 1996 disaster movie about Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum trying to prevent a race of dreadful extraterrestrials from destroying Earth. Maybe it wasn’t Citizen Kane (I don’t know why everyone uses this phrase), but it proved to be deliciously cheesy entertainment, and frankly, it never hurts to see Will Smith punching an ugly alien.
This year’s sequel, unfortunately, did not bring anything new to the table. While the CGI was well-made, it was not anything that we hadn’t seen before, and the plot was very similar to the one from the first part, only more boring. Sadly for us all, Resurgence proved to be a typical example of quantity over quality.
8] COWBOYS & ALIENS (2011)
Even if you have never seen this movie you can probably guess what it’s about. Cowboys. Aliens. Cowboys & Aliens. Based on a graphic novel of the same name, the film tells a story of a bunch of Wild West-type characters trying to save their town from an alien invasion. While the idea sounds like it could make a decent albeit ridiculous movie on paper, it resorts to being only the latter more than anything. The creators do not seem to find their footing, mashing up the two genres in a clumsy way, and the final product turns out to be, you guessed it, a mess. Not even Daniel Craig’s brooding face cannot save it (probably the opposite in this case, even).
7] BATTLESHIP (2012)
Remember this movie from a few years ago that was based on a children’s board game? Yeah, that kind of says it all, really. Except it also has aliens. And they try to destroy the world. And it doesn’t really have any elements of the board game apart from the fact that it takes place on water and has ships that do battle. Frankly, if it did have more elements of the board game it might have even been better. In this one, sadly, all we get is silly plot, unexplained motives and a whole bunch of holes, and not the bullet kind. It relies on clichés and visual effects to tell its story, but the characters, the aliens and the entire story remain not exactly believable.
6] THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (2008)
In 1951, we got The Day the Earth Stood Still, a fantastic science fiction movie that was rich in themes and proved to be technologically outstanding for its time. Then, in 2008, we got a remake of it that aspired to retell the old story for modern audiences. If anything, it made the modern audiences seek out an old copy of the original film to watch it just to see how much better it was. The new film offered nothing engaging, and even Keanu Reeves’ acting seemed forced and wooden. Although maybe that was the point. I don’t know.
5] THE WATCH (2012)
Even though alien invasion comedies often are quite successful among both critics and fans, it was not the case with this 2012 flick. Starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade, the movie tells a story about a group of neighbours trying to uncover a murder mystery and realising that they’re dealing with an alien invasion. The premise definitely sounds cool, but the execution of the film itself reminds more of people attempting to crack a joke but failing at the punchline. Over and over again. Even the performances of actors such as Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn are lacking here, and while the budget of the film is clearly very high, it is barely used up to its full potential.
4] BATTLE LOS ANGELES (2011)
I remember going to see this movie with a friend back in 2011, and as we walked out of the cinema we simply had nothing to talk about. Not because the movie was so amazing that it left us speechless, but because there was simply nothing to discuss about it. To be sure, the CGI was top-notch, but if you removed it you had an empty carcass with no substance to hang on it. It had aliens and it had an invasion, I suppose, but when you walk into a movie you expect more than the theater screen setting on fire because of all the explosions depicted in the movie. It had nothing else.
3] ALIENS VS PREDATOR – REQUIEM (2007)
What a damn shame. Paul Anderson’s 2004 flick Alien vs. Predator was already an insult to not one but TWO classic franchises, but this one took the cake with its awfulness. In this film, aliens (from the Alien movies, obviously) have to fight predators in a small town on Earth, the residents of which band together in an attempt to defeat both races. The acting reminds of a B-grade teenage horror film (which, I suppose, it actually is), and the horror element is terribly cheap. The only good thing that came out of this film was the fact that no one bothered to make a next one after it.
2] SKYLINE (2010)
Painfully (I ran out of transitional words), at number 2 we have a case similar to the one at number 4, but possibly even worse. There is Los Angeles, there is an alien invasion and I suppose it has characters too, but they’re so cardboard that they burn really fast amidst all the explosions. But it’s fine because it’s not like you care for them anyway. And the funny thing is, not even the effects are that great. Aren’t you glad you didn’t waste your money on this one? (and sorry if you did)
1] BATTLEFIELD EARTH (2000)
If you are familiar with the sci-fi genre, chances are you have heard of Battlefield Earth. It is widely regarded as the worst alien movie, and one of the worst sci-fi movies as well. And, well, one of the worst movies in general. It stars John Travolta as Terl, the leader of the Psychlos, a massively powerful alien race that has come to enslave humanity in the year 3000. The humanity has been turned into a primitive race that lives to serve. It is then up to one man to leave his home and discover the truth.
Funnily enough, when you write it like that, the synopsis sounds like it promises a really good movie. Ah, but there’s a twist there. L. Ron Hubbard, the man whose book the film is based on, was a founder of scientology, so lo and behold, his work is teeming with his ideology. John Travolta, a long time scientologist, had even funded a part of the film from his own pocket. Unsurprisingly, all that did not sit well with most fans and critics and the movie was panned. Here’s to hoping that one day we can get a remake that uses the same idea, but doesn’t have “scientology” written all over it. I would, however, recommend to watch this film just so you can appreciate the things you love more.
So that’s that then. Don’t take it too hard if the article sounded very negative. You can watch these films if you really want to. Then you can come back to me and we can both be negative about them together.
Image credits: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal Studios and Dreamworks II, Sony Pictures, Rogue.