It's one of the biggest questions that hangs over mankind: "are we alone in the universe?" Well, according to the movies we are far from alone, and every being out there either wants to kill or enslave us.
Thankfully, there is a secret organisation whose sole job is to stop this from happening, and they love a black suit and dark shades ensemble. They are of course the Men in Black, and they will be returning to the big screen this Friday in the guise of Thor: Ragnarok alumni Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson for Men in Black: International.
Conquering America is no longer enough for those pesky extra-terrestrials – for the first time, the blockbusting sci-fi comedy series goes global, encompassing the MiB’s London organisation and a host of exotic locales including Morocco and Italy.
Before we meet Agents H and M in the new movie, we take a look at five Earth-crushing alien invasions that saw humanity on the verge of extinction...
1. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Humanity is a flawed species, full of foibles and hubris. So, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if we were slowly replaced by gelatinous space aliens, hellbent on making us all emotionless drones. Anyway, the outer space invaders of Invasion of the Body Snatchers are experts at coming, seeing and enslaving us, and not even a young and sprightly Donald Sutherland is able to stop them.
Once on Earth the aliens assimilate with plants, before creating large pods used to clone us earthlings. The film ends on the bleak image of Sutherland’s hero emitting the eerie, high-pitched scream used by the invaders, suggesting that Earth is doomed.
2. Mars Attacks! (1996)
The aliens in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! hail from, well, Mars of course, and bring with them all of the human-killing technology at their disposal. From the moment they touch down their intent is clear, as they begin disintegrating people left and right with their garish, neon lasers.
Before the movie is through the aliens have demonstrated that they do not come in peace, having killed millions, surgically attached human heads onto dogs’ bodies, and even dispatched the President (Jack Nicholson) himself. Had their deathly reaction to folk music not been discovered we’d all be speaking Martian. Ack ack ack!
3. Independence Day (1996)
The alien invasion in Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi landmark Independence Day is one of the most destructive, as entire cities are reduced to rubble and ash in the wake of the invaders’ giant neon laser, because aliens love neon lasers.
Giant spaceships cast a great shadow over all the major cities on Earth and the only thing that can defeat them is a rousing speech from the US President (Bill Pullman), the sheer charisma of Will Smith’s fighter pilot and nerdy Jeff Goldblum’s hacking skills (which are, thankfully, compatible with alien technology).
4. War of the Worlds (2005)
Do they ever come in peace? It would appear not. The spindly visitors in War of the Worlds have been planning to attack us for a long time, so long in fact that their death machines are already buried under our feet, waiting to be unleashed. With the Men in Black busy elsewhere, it is up to America’s hero Tom Cruise to navigate us through this particular invasion.
As these mysterious invaders wipe out humanity like a boot stomping on ants, they eventually succumb to the Earth’s only defence: bacteria, which their weak immune systems just can’t handle.
5. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
Although most of this film takes place inside an underground bunker, the stinger of an alien invasion briefly shown at the end of 10 Cloverfield Lane looks to have been pretty Earth-crushing. As our hero Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) escapes the clutches of paranoid Howard (John Goodman), who has been raving about an apparent chemical attack, she soon discovers she's in greater danger, as she comes face to face with a bio-mechanical spacecraft.
After said spacecraft emits a toxic green gas (no lasers this time!), Michelle tackles both the giant ship and the quadrupedal, worm-like creature that emerges from it. Brushing off the alien entrails, she jumps into a car and starts down an unknown road as we are given a glimpse of the devastation in the form of distant silhouettes of two even bigger, badder spaceships. Just goes to show, you should always listen to the crazy guy.
Click here to book your tickets for Men in Black: International, opening in Cineworld this Friday, and tweet us your favourite alien invasion movies @Cineworld.
Jon Fuge is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.