I'm not sure what recent film announcement it was that triggered Cinematical Editor-in-Chief Erik Davis to note that there seemed to be a growing number of movies about aliens getting the green light from Hollywood, but until he asked me to make a guide compiling them all together, I hadn't quite taken note of the trend. But now that I have assembled the whole batch in one place, it's pretty clear that Hollywood has been sitting on a fear that our little blue planet is going to be overtaken by little green men. I guess making a bunch of movies about the hypothetical is the only catharsis they can get.
That, or, and this is the more likely scenario, alien invasions are always a great excuse to blow things up and film it. I just hope one of the below films does contain a UFO dishing out a bigger blast than the one that topples NYC in Independence Day. I think such a sight has been a long time overdue.
Anyways, I present to you Cinematical's Complete Guide to Upcoming Alien Invasion Movies.
Note: These are listed in chronological order, but I wouldn't bank on some of the later films sticking too tightly to their announced release dates.
Who is behind it: First time filmmaker Gareth Edwards
Who is in it: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able
What's it about: Six years after a crashed NASA space probe introduced an alien life form to the world, a man must escort his bosses daughter through the infected zone before they're stuck in Mexico.
When's it coming out: October 29, 2010
Why it might be awesome: Combing guerrilla-style indie filmmaking with the giant monster movie genre is bound to make for a unique film.
Why it might suck: Having seen Monsters, I'd say there is no "might suck" and that is actually awesome, but playing Devil's advocate, Edwards' film may be a little too slow, a little too intimate of a story than what most people want out of a movie called Monsters.
Who is behind it: Colin Strause and Greg Strause (AVP:R) from a screenplay by Joshua Cordes
Who is in it: Eric Balfour, Donald Faison, Brittany Daniel, David Zayas
What's it about: From Moviefone: "In the sci-fi thriller Skyline, strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth."
When's it coming out: November 11, 2010
Why it might be awesome: I am completely game for any sci-fi plot description that contains the phrase "drawing people outside like moths to a flame." It's also got a pretty interesting cast that may help solidify this as a very cool B-movie.
Why it might suck: The Strause brothers also made the dismal Alien vs Predator: Requiem, so their track record with extraterrestrials isn't too hot, so this may be all eye candy and little else.
I Am Number Four
Who is behind it: D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, Disturbia) is directing from a script by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville) based on the yet-to-be-published novel by James Frey and Jobie Hughes.
Who is in it: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Kevin Durand, Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer
What's it about: A group of nine aliens are hiding out on Earth, trying to live normal lives as teenagers lest the evil rival aliens that attacked their home world find them. Of course, eventually their covers are blown.
When's it coming out: February 18, 2011
Why it might be awesome: All of the aliens have "extraordinary, paranormal skills," so if the writers are creative enough this could definitely be a welcome alternative to a glut of increasingly familiar superhero movies. Plus, it's got Kevin Durand in it, who can improve almost anything.
Why it might suck: The "teenagers who are aliens" plot sounds like the kind of lame book you'd read in middle school. In its defense, the young-adult demographic is exactly who this movie is for, but hopefully it will be on the more mature side of that target audience.
Battle: Los Angeles
Who is behind it: Jonathan Liebesman (The Killing Room, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) from a screenplay by Christopher Bertolini (The General's Daughter)
Who is in it: Aaron Eckhart, Bridget Moynahan
What's it about: Marines fighting off aliens trying to invade LA.
When's it coming out: March 11, 2011
Why it might be awesome: The title and premise would imply a big emphasis on actually fighting off the aliens, so it should be pretty packed with spectacle.
Why it might suck: Sony have been very coy about releasing any significant images from the film and Jonathan Liebesman hasn't made a film of this kind of scale yet.
Who is behind it: Greg Mottola (Superbad) directs a script by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead)
Who is in it: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig
What's it about: Two British comic book geeks find an alien outside of Area 51.
When's it coming out: March 18, 2011
Why it might be awesome: Just look at everyone who is involved.
Why it might suck: The premise of finding, befriending and then protecting a cute alien has been done a number of times over, so it may be tough to make it seem entirely fresh.
Who is behind it: Matthijs Van Heijningen Jr. is directing a script first written by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and rewritten by Eric Heisserer (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010)
Who is in it: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton
What's it about: It's technically a prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing, this time telling the story of what happens to the Norwegian camp of scientists who first discover an alien frozen in the Antarctic.
When's it coming out: April 29, 2011
Why it might be awesome: I love that they're making this a prequel and not a direct remake. There certainly is more of the story to be told (whether it needs to be told is a different matter entirely).
Why it might suck: This is Van Heijningen Jr.'s first feature film and the man brought in to rework Ron Moore's original script doesn't inspire too much confidence considering his last attempt to update classic '80s horror pissed off a lot of people.
Cowboys & Aliens
Who is behind it: Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1 & 2, Zathura) is directing from a screenplay by Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci (Star Trek, Transformers) and Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Iron Man, Children of Men)
Who is in it: Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano
What's it about: Exactly what the title says. Set in the 1800s, a group of gunslingers try to fend of an alien spaceship trying to enslave the human race.
When's it coming out: July 29, 2011
Why it might be awesome: Favreau has completely proven himself as a blockbuster filmmaker, it's got a very interesting cast, and it's freakin' cowboys fighting aliens.
Why it might suck: Hollywood mixing future tech with the 1800s hasn't exactly worked out too well thus far and no one wants to see another Wild Wild West or Jonah Hex. It's also based off a comic book that very few people have ever actually read.
The Darkest Hour
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Who is behind it: Chris Gorak (Right At Your Door) is directing a screenplay by Jon Spaihts (the upcoming Alien prequel), Timur Bekmambetov is producing
Who is in it: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Rachel Taylor, Max Minghella
What's it about: Details are vague, we just know it's about a group of kids in Russia trying to survive an alien invasion.
When's it coming out: August 5, 2011
Why it might be awesome: A really promising cast, a director who can crank up the intensity on small, action-less moments, and a setting you don't often see in movies of this ilk (The Darkest Hour actually had to shut down production for a while because of the fires raging outside of Moscow).
Why it might suck: Given how little has been released about this film, I actually can't think of any real evidence it might suck.
Who is behind it: J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg
Who is in it: We don't know.
What's it about: We don't know. The only reason I'm even including it on this list is because the teaser trailer implies non-humans are involved and the viral marketing thus far has featured a number of ties to the US space program.
When's it coming out: 2011
Why it might be awesome: It's Abrams making a tribute film to the Amblin days of Spielberg.
Why it might suck: Abrams is bound to make a stinker some day, right?
Who is behind it: This has been Timo Vuorensola's passion project for years.
Who is in it: Udo Kier
What's it about: The Nazis secretly colonized the dark side of the moon in 1945. In 2018 they will return.
When's it coming out: 2011
Why it might be awesome: Nazis in space. Case closed.
Why it might suck: Iron Sky has been a fan film passion for years, so if it does ever actually get made as a feature film, it may never be able to escape the lower end production qualities often found in fan films.
(Star Wars Battleship is kind of like Battleship with aliens...)
Who is behind it: Peter Berg (Hancock, The Kingdom) is directing, Erich and Jon Hoeber are writing
Who is in it: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Tom Arnold, Tadanobu Asano
What's it about: "A small fleet of naval ships against an alien force intent on enriching Earth's valuable assets to ensure their survival."
When's it coming out: May 18, 2012
Why it might be awesome: If you're going to make a movie adaptation of the Milton Bradley game Battleship, you might as well make it with an over-the-top premise and a bizarre cast.
Why it might suck: It's a freaking adaptation of a board game where all you do is guess a combination of numbers and letters.
Men in Black 3D
Who is behind it: Barry Sonnenfeld (MIB 1 & 2) is directing a screenplay written by Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder) and David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man)
Who is in it: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement
What's it about: The third adventure of two agents of a secret government agency tasked with policing all of the different aliens currently living on Earth. The script is said to involve time travel this time around.
When's it coming out: May 25, 2012
Why it might be awesome: I don't think anyone was dying for a third MIB after the disappointing second entry, but it will still be great to Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones playing off each other after all these years. Plus, Rick Baker is back, so at the very least we should once again see some really cool practical make-up effects.
Why it might suck: Men in Black 2 proved that the well of kooky aliens can run dry, so a third trip may be pretty dry.