Alien arrival movies both excite and terrify us. We’re scared of how we’d react to technologically advanced aliens arriving on our planet, but we’re simultaneously delighted to see if we’d make friends or kick their butts. This week’s release of Arrival (in theatres Nov. 11) sees Amy Adams trying to figure that out herself, as extra terrestrial ships arrive on earth and she has to figure out how to communicate with them. But will Arrival become one of the best or worst alien moves ever? Let’s look at some of the highs in lows in alien visitation flicks that have graced the big screen.
Take us to your leader: The best and worst alien movies
BEST: Aliens (1986)It can be up for debate whether Alien or Aliens is the better film, but come on: In the sequel, we get to see Ripley at her most bad-ass, being forced once again to fight against the creatures she knows are entirely deadly. And then she gets to wear a robot suit and punch one of them! In our opinion, there's no question.20th Century Fox
WORST: Prometheus (2012)The Ridley Scott-helmed Alien prequel is a beautiful looking film, but unfortunately is plagued with plot hole after plot hole. People with 3D maps getting lost; people not knowing how to run sideways; robots inexplicably poisoning humans. The end is a big, muddled mess of failed potential.20th Century Fox
BEST: Predator (1987)The film that introduced us to one of the scariest aliens of all: The Predator, who hunts for sport, and only wants to hunt the greatest warriors the universe has to offer. No wonder they're so determined to kill Arnold Schwarzenegger! Too bad for them, they don't realize just how determined Arnie can be.20th Century Fox
WORST: Alien vs. Predator (2004)After what seemed like decades of waiting, we finally got to see the big matchup of the universe's most deadly species. Great, right? Wrong. The arctic-set horror film was a huge let-down with irritating human characters and a pretty unimpressive showdown between the Xenomorphs and the Predators. Too bad; the idea had promise.20th Century Fox
BEST: E.T. (1982)Obviously E.T. would make it to the "best" list. The Steven Spielberg film that captivated audiences and broke box office records of the time still holds up today, as we see the sweet, kind-natured alien crash to earth and befriend a young boy in need of a friend. Had E.T. been made today, we would have been subjected to countless sequels; luckily, Spielberg knew to stop while ahead.Universal
WORST: Mac and Me (1988)A pathetic E.T. rip-off, Mac and Me sees a crash-landed alien make friends with a young boy. Sound familiar? But this boy's in a wheelchair! So it's different! Mac and Me is so forgettable that to this day, it's best known as the film Paul Rudd shows clips of whenever he appears on Conan.Orion Pictures
BEST: Mars Attacks (1996)This parody of '50s alien invasion movies is the perfect send-up. From Jack Nicholson playing multiple roles, to the aliens dressing up as women with huge bee-hives (to disguise their huge heads), to the reveal that the aliens can be defeated by playing Slim Whitman music, this is one of the smartest parodies in cinematic history. Warner Bros.
WORST: Battleship (2012)Was anyone clamouring for a Battleship movie? Sure, the Clue movie turned out well, but that was kind of a fluke. This disaster of a movie sees naval officers fighting against aliens with bad facial hair whose plan for world domination is questionable at best. Sure, Rihanna's in it, and so are Landry and Riggins from Friday Night Lights, but it's just not enough to save it.Universal
BEST: The Edge of Tomorrow (2014)This Tom Cruise action film never got the credit it deserved. As an unwilling soldier infected with alien blood that allows him to relive the same day every time he dies, Cruise is the most likable he's been in years. The film is charming and funny, while also being tense and action-filled. Oh, and Emily Blunt is a total bad-ass, too.Warner Bros.
WORST: Cowboys vs. Aliens (2011)There was plenty of hype around this action movie based on a popular comic book, but the result was a disappointing and entirely forgettable movie that never quite got off the ground. Too bad, because Daniel Craig is dreamy and Harrison Ford is gruff, which should be a winning combination, but in the end, the movie was anything but out of this world.Universal
BEST: Starship Troopers (1997)Yes, on the surface it's silly, and stupid, and is filled with impossibly attractive people who belong on a soap opera. But decades after its release, Starship Troopers has come to be known as “
one of the greatest of all anti-imperialist films,” and it's also just plain fun. How's that for contrast? Come for the alien bugs who suck out human brains, stay for a young Neil Patrick Harris.Columbia Tristar
WORST: Signs (2002)Signs isn't completely without its charm; after all, M. Night Shyamalan is great at creating characters, and at writing small, quiet scenes that makes you care about them. It's the big-picture stuff he struggles with, such as creating an alien race who is allergic to water attempting to take over Earth, of all places.Buena Vista Pictures
BEST: Attack the Block (2012)The movie that put curren tStar Wars hunk John Boyega on the map, Attack the Block is one of the most enjoyable alien invasion movies of the last decade. This one sees a race of pitch-black aliens descend upon an inner-city high rise building, and the only ones who can defeat them are a gang of wise-cracking youths. It's fun from the first minute all the way to the end.Optimum Releasing
WORST: Skyline (2010)You might think that you can't make a decent alien invasion movie for only $10 million, and you would be... entirely right. At least in this case. The movie looks cheap, and it's entirely obvious when the filmmakers are trying to make money. And also? If you want us to root for the protagonist, don't make the protagonist Kyle Balfour.Universal
BEST: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)Not a direct sequel to Cloverfield, but a spiritual one, 10 Cloverfield Lane keeps you guessing all the way to the end. Is there an invasion? Is John Goodman insane? Could it be both, or neither? Some may object to the film's final 10 minutes, but in our opinion, it is the perfect denouement to a very tense couple of hours.Paramount
WORST: The entire Transformers seriesYes, Michael Bay knows how to blow things up, and he obviously likes pretty women. But creating movies that make sense? That doesn't seem to be a priority for him. But then, when you already know that millions of people will come see your alien robots fighting each other for no reason, who needs a plot?Paramount