Scientists seem surprised when they discover planets that might support human life. The rest of us have always known there is life on distant planets because their inhabitants visit the Earth regularly. Anyway, they do in the movies.
Aliens almost always want to destroy us. A giant spaceship blasts away all but one U.S. Navy ship off Pearl Harbor. The surviving BATTLESHIP (2012) is trapped inside a shield the invaders threw around Oahu. Their captain (Taylor Kitsch) must get his ship repaired before he can save the world, or at least Hawaii. Over the SKYLINE (2010) of Los Angeles, hovering spacecrafts shoot down blue lights that blow up parts of the city. People in a high rise try to stay alive while searching for a place to hide. Next stop is Moscow where, in THE DARKEST HOUR (2011), aliens have taken over the world. Several young people, who were underground during the attack, discover the aliens can’t see them in the dark. The friends cross the city to rendezvous with nuclear submarines. Other invasion stories include BATTLE LOS ANGELES (2011), THE THING (2011) and the multi-movie series TRANSFORMERS (2007), TRANSFORMERS 2: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN (2009) and TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (2011).
Our movie battle with unfriendly alien goes back over a hundred years. In COWBOYS AND ALIENS (2011), a western outlaw (Daniel Craig) wakes up in New Mexico wearing a metal bracelet that gives him super powers. When a spacecraft disgorges giants who wreak havoc on the town, killing and kidnapping the locals, he joins a cattle baron (Harrison Ford) to lead those left to fight off monsters. In INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (2008), Indy (Ford again) teams with a young fellow (Shia LaBeouf) to find an alien artifact. It’s the 1950’s, and the Soviets believe it has superpowers.
Sometimes just a few ordinary folks can fend off extraterrestrials. A Costco manager (Ben Stiller) organizes local citizens into THE WATCH (2012). Their mission: to arrest the monster who killed, slimed and stole the skin of an employee. Children try to stop the ALIENS IN THE ATTIC (2009) from taking over people’s minds and turning them into zombies. Simple kindness may save the Earth when a woman (Elizabeth Banks) and her son (Austyn Myers) MEET DAVE (2008). He is a robot piloted by a tiny alien (Eddie Murphy). He was sent to retrieve a planet destroying device that got lost when the spaceship landed. See also THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (2008) and FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER (2007).
Aliens may already be living among us. Luckily, the MEN IN BLACK (1997) have been keeping them under control for years. Secret Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) supervise interplanetary foreigners who came to Earth in the 1950’s seeking sanctuary. The government lets them stay as long as they share their knowledge. In MIIB (2002), K has retired, but J needs his help to stop a shape shifting plant (Lara Flynn Boyle), masquerading as a lingerie model, from destroying the planet. MEN IN BLACK 3 (2012) time travels J back to 1969 to help K battle evil Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement). See also THE FOURTH KIND (009).
A rare few aliens are friendly. Two UFO nuts (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) pick up PAUL (2011), a hitchhiking extraterrestrial (voice of Seth Rogen) who just escaped from Area 51. To connect with the mother ship, they take the wisecracking little fellow on a white knuckle ride across the desert pursued by government agents and alien hunters. Other aliens who just want to be beamed up include RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN (2009) and SUPER 8 (2011). SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006) reminds us that Krypton native Clark Kent (Brandon Routh) has been protecting all of us for years.
Sixteen teenage aliens are hiding out on Earth from evil invaders who are killing them in numerical order. I AM NUMBER FOUR (2011-Alex Pettyfer) is next. When he moves to a small town and enrolls in high school, he discovers some superpowers he didn’t know he had. DISTRICT 9 (2009) is a South African internment camp that houses almost two million captured aliens. A giant corporation does experiments on them and forces them into slavery. No longer useful, the gentle aliens are about to be exterminated. They, too, just want to go home.