Thursday Movie Picks #56: Alien Invasion of Earth

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy Thursday everyone! This is another entry to the weekly Thursday Movie Picks that’s spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog. Here’s the gist:

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… 

Alien Invasion of Earth

This month’s theme turns out to be pretty easy as there are actually not that many to pick from for me. A lot of the scifis I like are more about humans & robots, not aliens.

So without further ado, here are my picks:

Independence Day (1996)

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind’s best weapon is the will to survive.

When someone says ‘alien invasion movies,’ the first thing that came to mind is this. In fact, I asked my hubby and that’s the first thing that came to his mind as well. It’d also my pick for apocalyptic blockbuster as it’s just so much fun! I remember when I saw it on the big screen for the first time, there’s a sense of awe and intrigue when those big spaceships first appeared hovering above the sky.


I mean, all the action set pieces like the White House blowing up, Will Smith punching the ugly, slimy alien in the face, and that bombastic aerial battle at the end are still memorably epic to this day! It’s an awesome ensemble cast too, Jeff Goldblum has the snark and swagger to make any role memorable. And of course there’s that rousing, albeit corny, presidential speech from Bill Pullman… “We won’t go quietly into the night!” There’s nothing quiet about this flick and I love it all the better for it!


SIGNS (2002)

A family living on a farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields which suggests something more frightening to come.

Let me preface this pick with the fact that despite the atrocity of The Happening, I actually still have hope for M. Night’s career. He’s made two excellent films you could consider a classic (The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable) and the other two in his resume, The Village and Signs, left a lasting impression that I thought about them for days after seeing them. I know his films have their share of ardent fans and equally passionate detractors.


I’m not saying SIGNS is a perfect film, there are some preposterous, even laughable moments. But I like that it’s really not so much about alien invasion, but he took some of the classic elements of that genre and turn it on its head. In the same way that Sixth Sense isn’t your typical ghost story and Unbreakable offers a compelling twist in the crowded superhero genre, Signs deals with a broader theme. It’s an intimate film about a close-knit family, led by a former pastor dealing with a crisis of faith. The mystery and suspense surrounding the aliens themselves was pretty fun to watch the first time around, but it isn’t the heart of the film and it’s not what stuck with me afterwards. I like the emotional and spiritual aspect, and how a dire predicament actually helps restore a man’s soul and brings his family together. It’s been ages since I saw this but I definitely want to see this again. Excellent acting all around too by Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix.

Pacific Rim (2013)

As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

I love LOVE this movie! I never thought I’d love a big monster movie THIS much but what can I say, it’s awesome. Or as one character in the movie said, “That’s two-thousand five-hundred tons of awesome!’😀 I don’t think it’d be a major spoiler to say that it’s as much an alien invasion movie as it’s a big monster flick. The Kaijus are obviously not from this world, they’re mammoth biological weapons sent by an alien colony through a portal for a specific mission: wipeout humankind. Guillermo del Toro did an amazing job making these creatures look organic like a dinosaur, but with thick, gunky blue blood that actually looks cool the bloodier the darn thing is.


All the fight scenes between the Kaijus and the massive human-powered robots called Jaegers are wonderfully staged. But I love that we constantly see the humans powering these machines and some of the scenes are actually quite emotional. I like the father-daughter dynamic between Idris Elba‘s and Rinku Kikuchi‘s, and a flirty banter between Rinku and hunky Charlie Hunnam, as well as a slew of fun supporting characters that enrich the movie. Just like ID4, this movie doesn’t take itself seriously, there’s something so giddily-amusing about the fight scenes, like when a Jaeger named Gypsy Danger swung a huge, Titanic-sized ship and hurl it at the Kaiju. You just want to get up and cheer when those moments came on!

I saw this movie twice on the big screen and loved every minute of it. I’ve since bought the Bluray and it’s gotten a lot of play in my house.


What do you think of my alien-invasion movie picks this week? Have you seen any of these films?

45 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks #56: Alien Invasion of Earth

  1. I’m right on board with the first 2 – they kind of bring back nice memories from the time and place I watched them. I’m wary of the ID remake or sequel, or whatever it is.
    Pacific Rim I enjoyed about a thousand times less than you, but I adore your enthusasim for it. I saw it at the drive-in and suffered all kinds of movie confusion afterward – it felt like someone just crossed Transfomers with Godzilla and I’ve had a hard time keeping them all straight since.

    1. Hi Jay! Ahah I figure I love Pac Rim more than most, I dunno it kinda surprised me how much I LOVE it as I don’t always love del Toro’s movies, I couldn’t even finish Hellboy II! I stand by it though, I couldn’t get enough of Pac Rim, even the soundtrack is awesome! 😀

  2. Ah ID4, I can’t believe it’s been almost 20 years since that film came out. I still remember its teaser during Superbowl of that year, it got many people super excited about the film. I enjoyed it when I saw it in theater but when I watched it again on home video, I couldn’t sit through the awful dialogs and cheesy characters. I bought the Bluray a few years and only watched the cool action scenes, ha ha.

    You know I really liked Signs, I love James Newtown Howard creepy and very emotional theme for the film. Great performances by the actors but yeah there were too many silly stuff that prevents it from being a great flick. Again why the heck did the aliens wants to invade a planet full of water if it’s something that can kill them???! I can’t agree with you about M. Night’s career though, the man’s clearly shows that he’s a real hack now. It’s been over 10 years since he’s made a decent film so unless he makes another Unbreakable kind of film, he’s on the same list as Ratner, Bay, Kelly and a bunch of hacks in Hollywood.

    Well you know that I’m not a fan of Pacific Rim, it’s not a bad film but I just couldn’t get into it.

    1. I know Ted, I feel old! Lots of movies turn 20 yrs old this year. Yeah, I think the action stuff holds up a lot better than the dialog, I mean it’s a Roland Emmerich movie! 😀

      Glad you like SIGNS too. But I think M. Night might’ve used the aliens as a metaphor for demons, but yeah, NOT a good idea to invade earth where the majority of it is comprised of water, ahah. Well, M. Night is still young, only 45 yrs old. So I still haven’t lost hope on him yet, even if he hasn’t done anything good in over a decade. The Visit doesn’t look promising at all, he should just focus on making a good Unbreakable sequel! Then I’m sure people are more inclined to believe in him again.

  3. I think we have talked about it before but I’m a big fan of Signs. It’s such a great mashup of so many things – drama, humor, horror. For some reason Signs is left out of the discussion of MKS’s best movies but it is right up there for me. Great to see it on your list!

    1. I’m right there with Keith. A wonderful film about family and grief and faith all tied into predestination–it really is awesome. I have always liked Mel Gibson and it’s great to see Phoenix in it as he was rising up to the “A” list. It’s utterly charming.

    2. Hi ya Keith! Glad you’re a fan of SIGNS. I think M. Night’s Episcopal upbringing had a big influence on him in making that character of Gibson’s character. It’s also quite funny, which I forgot to mention here. It’s also very atmospheric.

  4. Now we got something in common! I also picked Pacific Rim, though it took sometimes to finally realize it was an alien movie—only the alien sends their giant killer Kaiju.
    Independence Day was a fun joyride when I was a kid; Signs impressed me as I was a kid, but lately I think the finale was a bit underwhelming. It has some elements that later be reproduced in War of the Worlds though

    1. Wahoo! Finally someone who loves Pac Rim as much as I do. I absolutely love that movie, it’s a fun popcorn flick but w/ surprisingly a lot of heart. That moment when little Mako saw Stacker Pentecost came out of the Jaeger… I was as much in awe as she was!

  5. 2 of these films I still watch and enjoy. As for Signs… it hasn’t held up. In fact, it just gets dumber with each viewing. I think it is proof that Shyamalan just plainly… sucks.

    1. Hi Steven! Hmmm, I haven’t rewatched Signs so I’m curious how I feel about it now, but at the time I thought it was good. I disagree though, Shyamalan made two excellent films and 2 arguably good ones, so I still haven’t written him out completely…yet.

  6. I’ve seen all of these. Like Ted, I liked ID4 in the theater, but didn’t like it much when I watched it at home. Pacific Rim was decent. And I thought Signs was junk. I feel like such a Negative Nancy, right now.

    1. Yes you’re a negative nancy, Dell 😉 Well, so we disagree on this topic, that’s ok… that’s what’s always interesting about these TMPs as it shows the variety of selections.

  7. I didn’t mind War of the Worlds—Cruise as the bad father and Dakota Fanning being cute. Lots of people didn’t like it, but I did. The only thing about Independence Day I didn’t like was Bill Paxton! I HATE that speech “we won’t go quietly into the night.” I cringe every time I hear it. Sorry! However, I love Goldblum and Hirsch. They had great chemistry.

    1. I was close to pick War of the Worlds, but ended up w/ Pac Rim because of its sheer rewatchability value. Ahah, Bill Paxton’s speech is deliberately cheesy, it’s like so bad it’s good Cindy 😉 Yeah I like the banter between Goldblum and his dad, I like a lot of the supporting cast.

  8. Oh man, I hated your last two picks lol. I give Pacific Rim credit for it’s visual effects though, those were stunning. Independence Day is always a classic.

    1. Hi Drew! I had to include ID4, it’s the first thing that came to mind. I have quite an unhealthy love for Pac Rim… thanks to Idris in THAT uniform 😉

    1. Yeah, I think he’s an easy target but he’s got two brilliant films, Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense and Signs is an excellent sci-fi drama. Glad you appreciate that too, Ian!

  9. Tom

    A solid list here Ruth. I agree with many around here — Signs is really underrated. I think it stands as my most frequently-watched movie in theaters. I think I saw it no less than 5 times (!!!) which is pretty impressive for me. I wasn’t into watching movies back when it came out, not as much as now anyway.

    Independence Day will never get old, even though I don’t know if I’ll be even bothering with the sequels. I really don’t want my fond memories of Roland Emmerich’s masterpiece tainted, thank you very much. 😉

    1. Thank you Tom! WOW you saw it on the big screen 5 times?! That’s more than I’ve ever done for any film. Now you made me want to rewatch it!

      ID4 is a lot of fun but yeah, I think the sequel is guaranteed to be terrible!

  10. abbiosbiston

    I actually watched Pacific Rim yesterday and it was not horrible. Although I though Charlie Hunnam could have spent a lot more of the film a lot more nekkid.

    1. No, not horrible at all IMHO 😀 Ahah Charlie has a nice bod doesn’t he? No wonder he was considered for Christian Grey, but I’m glad he didn’t end up playing him.

  11. Great choices Ruth! District 9 would have to go on my list, I love that movie. Sorry I’ve been away from your site for so long, I haven’t had much time for blogging over the last couple of months but I’m hoping to do some catching up now 🙂

    1. Hi Natalie! Thanks for the comment *spam* 🙂 Nice to have you back. I like D-9 too, but I feel like they’re not really aggressively invading earth as they’re sort of confined into a *ghetto* type of neighborhood.

  12. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    ‘Independence Day’ struck me as a much larger budgeted and well done re-make of ‘Earth vs. The Flying Saucers’. Better cast and superlative Special Effects. Especially Jeff Goldblum and Judd Hirsch. Cementing the latter into a decade or more of being a “Hero’s Dad”. With CBS’s ‘Numb3rs’ and Sy Fy’s ‘Warehouse 13’.

    ‘Signs’?… I’ll take the made for TV film, ‘Phase IV’ and its hyper intelligent ants in the Mojave Desert any day.

    ‘Pacific Rim’?…. To quote a popular, short lived animated series, ‘Megas XLG’:

    “Chicks dig giant robots!” Role role and execution with Idris Elba.

    1. Hi Kevin! LOVE the father/son relationship of Goldblum and Hirsch, great casting there.

      Not a fan of Signs eh, or just M. Night movies?

      Ahah, well generally I don’t dig giant robots, never have actually and I hated Transformers. But there is something about Pac Rim that I can’t get enough of, maybe it is Elba’s Stacker Pentecost 😉

  13. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    I first noticed Judd Hirsch way back as New York detective/Night law student, Dominick Delvecchio way back in 1976. A Steven Bochco written and directed forerunner to his later, ‘Hill Street Blues’. Mr. Hirsch is a great “Utility Infielder” talent. Who can play any role given him.
    Make it his own. And pull it off with style and aplomb.

    Not a huge M. Night fan. He gets great talents in casts. And put them in slow moving stories.

    Oops, that was ‘Megas XLR’. Two geeks build a giant robot, basically to attract chick. Other planets and characters hear about it and wage comedic war with the geeks. Notable for using the guest voices of Bruce Campbell, Kevin Michael Richardson, Clancy Brown, Tara Strong, Dorian Harewood and Phil LaMarr. Neat little series from 2004!

    Though, I can understand why Idris is your newest Gerard Butler.

  14. Pingback: AUGUST 2015 Viewing Recap + Movie of the Month |

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