Alien invasions are a common theme in fiction, dating all the way back to the 1700s at the very least. More recently, they’ve regularly been depicted on the big screen in popular science fiction movies. The idea of hostile extraterrestrial life arriving on Earth with nefarious intentions is, of course, a pretty terrifying one. After all, any beings out there who have the technological capability to travel to our planet really should possess the advanced weaponry to obliterate the human race with relative ease.
That’s not always the case in movies, however. In spite of their obvious superiority to humans as a species, alien invaders often slip up in rather embarrassing ways or are defeated in surprisingly simple ways – whether it be through human intervention or their own negligence.
But are we really supposed to believe that such supposedly hyper-advanced species would be defeated so easily in reality? Well, humanity can only hope that would be the case but, for the time being, let’s just laugh at the various ways it has happened in Hollywood. Here are ten utterly pathetic alien invasion attempts in movie history.
10. Mars Attacks! (1996)
Mars Attacks is an alien invasion movie based on the cult trading card series of the same name. Boasting an ensemble cast that included the likes of Jack Nicholson (in a dual role), Glenn Close, Pierce Brosnan, and Sarah Jessica Parker, it was a critical flop that barely broke even at the box office in 1996.
It saw the arrival of skeletal-looking Martians on Earth – complete with stereotypical ray guns – who had the intention of colonising the planet. However, they would ultimately be defeated in a pathetic and comedic manner.
It emerged that hearing the Slim Whitman song “Indian Love Call” made their heads explode – prompting the military to play it on loud speakers around the world. The aliens either died, fled or surrendered as a result.
9. The Faculty (1998)
The Faculty is a popular 1998 movie that has attained cult status in spite of a mediocre critical response. It has an ensemble cast that includes the likes of Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, and Salma Hayek.
The movie sees the arrival of a parasitic species of alien on earth that, due to their own planet dying, try to take over the Earth. They start with the teachers and students at an American school.
As it turns out, the aliens in question are mortally allergic to an ecstasy-like drug manufactured by Hartnett’s character Zeke. Any human infected by the parasite also dies if they take the drug. Moreover, the alien queen – a giant bug-like creature – is ultimately defeated by having a needle containing the drug jabbed into its eye. This conveniently kills every parasite and saves any infected humans who were still alive at the time.
Essentially, the aliens barely made it past one school in their global domination attempts and were beaten by a recreational drug.
8. Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007)
The alien invasion in 2007’s terrible Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was a little different to most depicted on screen. The cosmic entity Galactus (presented as a massive cloud-like mass rather than a giant humanoid like he is in the comic books) sent his “Herald” – the Silver Surfer – to prepare earth for his arrival. Upon his arrival, he would simply devour the planet for sustenance.
In spite of the intervention of the Fantastic Four, Galactus did indeed arrive on Earth and begin to consume it. However, he would be stopped from doing so in a most embarrassing way.
The Silver Surfer – his servant, to whom he had only granted a small fraction of his power – changed his tune thanks to the fact that Sue Storm reminded him of his lover. So, he used the power Galactus had given him to destroy his supposedly much more powerful master.
7. Independence Day (1996)
Make no mistake about it, the aliens in Independence Day caused utter devastation on earth. It’s the manner in which they were defeated that ultimately allows their invasion in the 1996 blockbuster movie to be labelled as downright pathetic.
Having used an older version of one of their own fighter jets to travel to the alien’s mothership, Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) and David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) dumped a computer virus into the invaders’ computer systems. They then took the big craft down with a nuclear missile. This caused the shields of every single alien ship on earth to come down, allowing the military to defeat them.
They were basically defeated by a hacker (completely with laughing “Jolly Roger” visuals) – how embarrassing.
The same aliens will be back next year, however, in Independence Day 2.
6. Attack The Block (2011)
The 2011 British comedy Attack the Block has become an unlikely cult success. In spite of a decent critical reception, it bombed at the box office, but has gone on to garner a keen fan following in the aftermath of its initial release.
The movie sees a species of aliens – some dog-like and some gorilla-like, with fur so dark that it reflects no light and teeth that glow – invading Earth. They start with a South London council estate. Rather pathetically, they don’t get much further than that, as they are defeated by the young inhabitants of the estate.
The manner of their defeat? They get trapped in a block of flats and blown up using a combination of gas and fireworks.
The aliens in this movie might not have the technological might of other aliens in fiction (they were basically spores who drifted through space on a meteorite utilising solar winds), but this was still a pretty embarrassing defeat.
5. Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009)
The brilliant Monsters vs. Aliens is a 2009 animated movie from DreamWorks. The evil alien Gallaxhar tries to utilise the fictional earth-based substance quantonium to power a machine that would allow him to clone himself millions of times and take over the planet.
It turns out to be an extremely lame invasion attempt, as he is thwarted by a group of government-deployed monsters. That may sound like a reasonable way to be defeated, but the fact is that the monsters were a misfit group of rather incompetent beasts and beings. This included a giant woman, a giant sentient mass of a gelatine-like substance and a fish-ape hybrid creature.
Not only does Gallaxhar’s attempt to clone an army fail spectacularly, he also barely even gets off his own ship and onto the earth’s surface – which makes for a pathetic attempt to invade the planet in anyone’s book.
4. Avatar (2009)
2009’s Avatar is the biggest movie of all time, having grossed $2.788 billion worldwide. Although it’s not thought of as such, it is actually an alien invasion movie – the difference being that the aliens in question are the humans.
Having depleted all of the natural resources on earth, Avatar sees humans invading the distant and unwelcoming moon of Pandora, mining it for the mineral known as unobtanium. Ultimately, they attempt to tear the planet’s settlements down and kill its natives to turn it into a new place for humans to live.
The natives in question are the Na’vi – blue-skinned, ten-foot tall humanoids who live in tribes. In spite of their intelligence, they are primitive and lack any real technology, and the humans of 2154 see them as easy pickings to wipe out with their futuristic weapons and equipment.
But with the help of some of the nicer humans and some of their own native wildlife, the Na’vi manage to defeat the humans and send them packing, in spite of the fact that they were severely out-gunned.
3. The Avengers (2012)
2012 saw the release of the biggest comic book movie to date – though that probably won’t be the case for long. The Avengers is an epic superhero offering that has grossed $1.52 billion worldwide, but it had an extremely weak leading villain.
That weak enemy wasn’t Loki (although even he was nothing like a big enough threat for all of the Avengers combined), it was the alien army that he was using to invade the planet; the Chitauri.
The Chitauri came to Earth through a portal above New York – and they didn’t even make it out of the city before being thwarted. In hand-to-hand combat, even the likes of Black Widow and Hawkeye were easily defeating them. How they were ever meant to be a threat to the likes of Hulk and Thor is a total mystery.
They were ultimately and conveniently defeated when a nuclear missile – diverted through the portal they came through by Iron Man – struck their mothership. This made every single individual alien collapse in a heap.
2. War Of The Worlds (2005)
Like the aliens in Independence Day, the invaders in 2005’s War of the Worlds (a loose depiction of H.G. Wells’ novel of the same name which had already been adapted on film in 1953) caused utter devastation before their ultimate defeat. However, the manner in which they were indeed finally defeated was undoubtedly quite pathetic.
In spite of their highly advanced war machines (tripods with energy shields and powerful disintegration rays), they were beaten by the tiny bacteria to which humans have grown immune.
As a result, their energy shields came down – thanks to the fact that they were seemingly powered by human biomass, which is filled with the aforementioned bacteria. Their drivers became gravely ill, allowing Earth’s military to pick them off with relative ease, when they couldn’t put as much as a scratch on them previously.
Frankly, the aliens should have done their homework better.
1. Signs (2002)
Signs is an inspired 2002 movie by M. Night Shyamalan which stars Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. The movie is far more about faith than it is about aliens, but it does indeed involve an alien invasion – and it happens to be the most pathetic invasion attempt in movie history.
In spite of the fact that the aliens in the movie clearly had the technology to travel to Earth from billions of light years away, they opted to launch their attack in a ground war, armed only with a spiky wrist protrusion that expelled a poisonous gas.
As well as their terrible invasion methodology, they also chose to invade a planet that is 70% covered in (and which regularly precipitates) a substance that is acidic to them – water.
That’s right, they invaded Earth despite being allergic to one of its most common elements and were easily repelled as a result. Morons.
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