Alien invasion films: What to watch before Independence Day: Resurgence

Prepare for Independence Day 2 with this alien movie marathon


Alien invasion movies are universally (ahem) popular which is mostly due to the amazing CGI effects studios seem to improve on time after time. Independence Day redefined the scale of this in 1996. Let’s take a look at some other top class alien invasion films from over the years to prepare for the latest Independence Day: Resurgence hitting cinemas on 23 June.

The War of the Worlds

Let’s start old school. H.G. Wells’ iconic novel published in 1898 has been adapted multiple times, most recently in Steven Spielberg’s 2005 release starring Tom Cruise. But it’s also been adapted into radio dramas, comic book series, video games. Throwback to Byron Haskin’s 1953 adaptation and The War of the Worlds found its place in a golden decade of silver screen science fiction. Humanity hasn’t looked back since.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Speaking of classics, The Day the Earth Stood Still was first released in 1951 and was later re-adapted in 2008. Another social commentary, Klaatu is an alien that comes to Earth in an attempt to save it… from humans. The destruction the human species has brought upon the planet brings Klaatu to cleanse the Earth of her most dangerous threat. And for once, people are forced to set all differences aside and realize no matter what walk of life you are from, Earth is home to us all.

The Thing

Picture this: you’re an American researcher on an Antarctic expedition and you encounter a Norwegian helicopter trying to kill a dog. Later you find the entire crew dead at their camp. Something mighty fishy is going on. This classic from John Carpenter is a must see and for that reason, we won’t go into any more detail. We’ll leave you with this…imagine trying to keep your calm whilst stuck in an inhospitable location and not being able to trust anyone or anything. No wonder this falls into the horror genre too.

Mars Attacks!

Where to begin with this film… Directed by Tim Burton, with music composed by Danny Elfman and a cocktail of A listers like Jack Nicholson (playing the US President, no less), Glenn Close, Pierce Brosnan, Danny Devito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J Fox, Natalie Portman, and Jack Black to name but a few. When Martians are spotted on the outer perimeter of Earth’s boundaries, the President of the United States announces to the world that they will meet with these outer space beings to discuss what exactly it is they want. The Martians, however, don’t have such peaceful plans for Earth. It’s everything you imagined and more. A bit zany, a bit gothic and basically what being a human is all about.


Now let’s back it up from a silly take of an alien invasion and return to the emotional storylines that see people banding together as one. Signs is all about faith and believing that the unknown exists. Now it can be taken literally since the central storyline is about a preacher who’s stopped believing in God after his wife’s death. The true message in this film is the acceptance of our fears and most importantly finding the strengths we never knew we had.

District 9

This 2009 film surrounds a South African camp (District 9) where aliens have been living as refugees on Earth for several years. Wikus Van de Merwe is sent to work with the refugees and like the majority of his colleagues and family, he goes in with a deep prejudice and discrimination towards the camps inhabitants. A freak accident infects Wikus and he begins to morph into one the alien species. Wikus not only has to come to terms with his own humanity whilst becoming a “monster” but he’s also facing the hate and unhuman conditions in which these refugees are treated.

Independence Day: Resurgence is in cinemas from 23 June. Get a behind the scenes look at the film in the latest issue of SciFiNow.