The aliens (Independence Day, 1996)
“Like locusts, moving from planet to planet. After they’ve consumed every natural resource, they move on.” But despite being capable of lugging their extraordinary firepower halfway across the universe to flatten most of the local landmarks, these big, tentacled monsters still fall foul to a basic computer virus, delivered via a Powerbook into the invader’s mothership’s conveniently Mac OS-compatible mainframe. Perhaps for the mega-sized tech-tacular sequel the Aliens have gone down the Norton or McAfee antivirus route?
Loki and The Chitauri (Avengers Assemble, 2011)
The Chitauri are realm-hopping bug-monsters; the Avengers are humanity’s can of Raid. It’s gotta be said that the invading hordes, complete with endless numbers, extra-terrestrial tech and huge flying monsters, don’t exactly impress against all of five – five - humans and their thunder-god pal. But it’s Thor’s mischievous brother Loki who finds himself on the intergalactic naughty step after declaring himself the planet’s new guv’nor – hey, if the horned headwear fits – although we know plenty of Hiddlestoners who’d still happily let him rule over them.
Martians (Mars Attacks! 1996)
Ack ack! They come ‘in peace’ but Tim Burton’s Martians will be leaving very much in pieces, albeit a trail of flaming cows, flattened travel icons and a greatly depleted global population left in their wake. Based on the darkly kitsch Topps trading cards, the skeletal Martian’s are big on craniums, bigger yet on massive mischievously twisted destruction yet small on underpants. Unfortunately, the country yodellings of Slim Whitman leaves their Y-fronts very much in a twist, with humanity’s secret weapon having a spectacularly splatty affect on those impressive brains. Earplugs next time, yeah lads?
The aliens (They Live, 1988)
Obey. Buy. Watch TV. In John Carpenter’s two-footed tackle on capitalism, the aliens are already here – skull faced, bog-eyed and asset-stripping the Earth’s resources – but they’re disguised as humans and controlling us through subliminal messages in the mass media. Thank the maker then for the special sunglasses that reveal the ugly truth in black and white for Rowdy Roddy Piper’s drifter Nada: he’s only come here to do two things: chew bubblegum and kick ass, and he’s all out of bubblegum.
Decepticons (Transformers, 2007)
There’s famously ‘more than meets the eye’ to the Transformers, although for the Decepticons, the feeling isn’t exactly mutual. Caught up in the Cybertronian civil war, the humans – being generally squidgy in comparison to our robotic-overlords – are likely to be very much transformed in the process too: over the course of four movies, the ’Cons have killed thousands, demolished landmarks and cities – all in Michael Bay’s understated slow motion – and nearly fatally twinned us with their home planet via a space bridge. Bloomin’ tourists.
The Kryptonians (Superman II, 1980)
Being enslaved is hard on the knees. As the new super-rulers of Planet Houston, General Zod and his two lieutenants demand total crawling obedience from their tediously weak subjects but especially so from the other ‘last survivor’ of the planet Krypton – one Superman, son of the same Jor El who was responsible for locking up these insane fascist hatemongers up in the first place. This does explain why General Zod’s sense of humour has disappeared right up his Phantom Zone though.
The Psychlos (Battlefield Earth, 2000)
As a committed Scientologist, it was John Travolta's personal passion to bring the controversial group's founder L Ron Hubbard's sci-fi epic to the big screen – so much so that he took a ripe-plum role in this legendary mega-flop. All the enthusiasm in the world couldn’t disguise the fact that the petty, 8ft-tall Psychlos appear to be as unrelentingly thick as they look, and by Xenu, do they look stupid, like cos-play Klingons on a budget and Jäger. Still, giving it the full panto ham-and-trotters as the preening cow-killing baddie Terl, Travolta certainly looks like he’s enjoying himself. At least someone did.
Mimics (Edge of Tomorrow, 2014)
Time is often against us, but never more so when fighting the be-tentacled mimics. These hive-minded aliens can organize a crafty do-over when things don’t go their way while – crucially – retaining the vital-info of what went wrong the first time around. This nifty time-looping tactic explains why their first European tour has proved to be such a success, though they hadn’t counted on Tom Cruise hijacking this ability and turning himself into a supersoldier along the way. One of the most underrated and original action sci-fis of the last ten years, it’s worth watching again. And again. And again. And…
The Others (The 5th Wave, 2016)
The first wave knocked out the electrics, the second flattened cities, the third spread disease, the fourth brought… ‘the others’, aliens masquerading as humans, paving the way for the invaders’ final assault on humanity. Giving it some good old-fashioned Body Snatchers’ paranoia, The 5th Wave sees our young heroes have to work out who’s really human and who’s making star Chloë Grace Moretz do a sad face in this Young Adult sci-fi adaptation. The fifth wave may or may not involve having their pocket money docked.
The aliens (War of the Worlds, 2005)
The squidgy aliens and their astonishing tripod killing machines have been waiting for thousands of years to begin their gardening leave. The problem is that they’re gardening us, turning humanity into organic bloody vegetation to fertilise the planet for its new inhabitants. Unfortunately for our new red-thumbed rulers, despite having the incredible technology of a superior master race, they have the immune system of a toddler on his first day at nursery. Next time, these losers should bring a Lemsip.
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