Best Alien Invasion Movies | The Hollywood Redux Podcast | Episode 311


Alien Invasions | The Writers’ Room Podcast | Episode 309

¬†In honor of NEW Independence Day: Resurgence, in theaters June 24, the Writers’ Room talks alien invasions this week. The OG installment came out in 1996 and told the tale of an ensemble of people who participate in the final human counterattack against an invading alien force on July 4, our new Independence Day.

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It made a splash when it debuted with its colorful cast of characters, including a then hot hot hot Will Smith and perennial hot hot hot Bill Pullman. Plus, the movie premiered on July 2nd, the same day the story starts, which added an extra layer of interactivity that further enhanced the experience of the film, especially for young viewers. We felt a part of the plan to take back our world from an invading force.

CHECK OUT OUR PREVIOUS Independence Day: Resurgence COVERAGE


ID4 seized upon a public appetite for a specific type of story: the alien invasion. The alien invasion is a well-loved genre in science fiction and film, in which extraterrestrial entities invade Earth either to exterminate human life, enslave us in order to harvest humans for food, similarly use the planet’s resources, or destroy everything altogether.

Historically, the invasion scenario has stood as a way to play out fears about military domination and what comes in its wake. H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds was the first to make cultural waves in this way, especially after Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of the short story caused widespread panic due to listeners believing it to be real. Talk about seizing on public fears.

war of the worlds - movie

The trappings of the story vary with current world news and the fears specific to those events. Alien invasion as a storytelling device flourished during the Cold War, for example, because it could play out the fears of the other, the Soviets, and anxieties about occupation and nuclear devastation. See: The Invasion of the Body Snatchers  from 1956.

In these stories, the aliens tend to either observe (often via experiments a la The X Files) or invade, rather than help the people of Earth to join a greater cosmological pantheon. The rare exception sees alien-initiated first contact in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 and Keanu flavored versions), or our favorite, Vulcan contact from 1996’s Star Trek: First Contact (though this happens after a failed invasion by the Borg, small details). In both cases, aliens visit Earth only after noticing that its inhabitants have attained the threshold of nuclear weapons combined with advancing space travel – typically this is the one-two punch that gets us extraterrestrial attention.

day the earth stood still

Not to discount earthlings in all this – there is a subgenre dedicated to invasion of an alien species told from the perspective of the aliens, in which humans are the aliens. These are fun to explore as well, check out The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury and the 2011 movie Mars Needs Moms.

The Writers’ Room summer of super continues with Independence Day: Resurgence on June 24.

alien - bye bye

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