Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner attempt to communicate through an intergalactic language barrier with aliens in this week’s
. Are the visitors hostile? Curious? Come bearing presents and gift cards? Those questions answered in this week’s gallery: 24 best and worst movie alien visitors! Arrival
(1999, 96%) The Iron Giant
Brad Bird’s feature directorial debut, dressing the source novel’s marooned robot hero with layers of boomer nostalgia and pop culture references. BEST!
(1986, 90%) Little Shop of Horrors
Jive-talking Audrey II is ambassador for a species of outer space carnivorous plants who wish to enslave humanity through doo-wop and Motown. WORST!
(1997, 71%) The Fifth Element
Cloned from the arm of an ancient species tasked to save Earth from a intergalactic evil, Leeloo takes a cynical American cabbie on a very loud, very explosive, very French action adventure. BEST!
(2008, 77%) Cloverfield
The jury is still out on the exact nature of these marauding kaiju in producer J.J. Abrams series, though the ending of 10 Cloverfield Lane and next year’s spiritual successor God Particle certainly suggests extraterrestrial in nature. WORST!
(1982, 98%) E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
The Jesus Parable™ gets its most palatable entry with Steven Spielberg’s timeless tale of an alien botanist with healing properties abandoned on Earth who lifts a young boy’s spirits. BEST!
(1988, 0%) Mac & Me
And here is the Antichrist, in all its animatronic putridosity. WORST!
(1978, 93%) Superman
Popdom’s most famous alien visitor, who was hurled from the planet Krypton (population: 0) and grew into a beacon of hope for all humanity. BEST!
(2007, 12%) Alien vs. Predator: Requiem
Two dormant film franchises at the time got tossed together for a celebrity deathmatch on our turf with plenty of human collateral damage. WORST!
(1986, 55%) The Transformers: The Movie
Another fight with other planetary origins but settled on Earth is the one between the Decepticons and Autobots, the latter of which befriended humans and gave free rides to the fishing hole. BEST!
(1978, 94%) Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Invade planet. Snatch bodies. Turn final shot of the movie into an eventual meme. #podgoals WORST!
Here on Earth to cull our housecat problem (and occasionally ascending to pog form deity), ALF was infamously captured and presumed killed at the end of his TV show before this follow-up movie showed him alive and well. BEST!
(2016, 31%) Independence Day: Resurgence
The aliens we booted out from our airspace in the original Independence Day come back 20 years later to harvest energy from the planetary core. WORST!
(1986, 81%) Flight of the Navigator
After seeing flashing lights, a kid wakes up 8 years in the future unaged and with star charts embedded in his brain waves. He forms a bond with a sentient space ship that has a personality curiously close to Pee-Wee Herman’s. BEST!
(1986, 15%) Howard the Duck
Howard is a wisecracking, fourth wall-breaking Marvel character saddled to what is considered one of the worst ’80s movies (and that decade had a lot of those). A cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy and possibly further appearances set him now on the long road of possible redemption. WORST!
(1951, 94%) The Day The Earth Stood Still
Subtlety is rarely a strong point for our alien visitors and that’s certainly the case for Klaatu and his roboservant Gort, who deliver a draconian ultimatum to the people of Earth: play nice or burn. BEST!
(2005, 74%) War of the Worlds
Spielberg, who played nice with aliens early in his career, delivers a grim post-9/11 sci-fi adaptation of human-scooping tripod beings (though couldn’t help himself from tacking on an improbably happy ending). WORST!
(1976, 85%) The Man Who Fell To Earth
In his first starring role, late legend David Bowie plays an ethereal stranger hoping to restore his home planet with water. Bowie would flee the States after shooting and begin recording his esteemed “Berlin Trilogy” of albums. BEST!
(1996, 52% Mars Attacks!
Along with Dark Shadows and Ed Wood, director Tim Burton has made the most of mythologizing his childhood cultural encounters; he also adapted the infamous Topps ’60s trading cards which depict the gleefully violent and psychosexual conquest of Earth by invaders from the Red Planet. WORST!
(2011, 71%) Paul
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are two simple sci-fi geeks on a road trip when they encounter this fleeing Area 51 resident, who convinces them they may be destined for greater things (like a role in the Star Trek reboot series, maybe). BEST!
(1982, 81%) The Thing
Carpenter’s paranoid masterpiece about Arctic scientists who are trapped with an alien being capable of mutating into any human. WORST!
(1968, 94%) 2001: A Space Odyssey
There are multiple instances of alien visitations here and all of them enigmatic, like the famous appearance of the starchild or the monoliths left behind to advance human evolution. BEST!
(2014, 91%) Edge of Tomorrow
In Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt’s hit joint production, space invaders with the ability to control and reset time locks everyone in eternal war until the right outcome is achieved. WORST!
(1984, 81%) Starman
Director John Carpenter spent a lot of the ’80s chasing aliens, resulting in films like this tale of a sweet, good-natured visitor who takes on the form of a woman’s deceased husband. BEST!
(1988, 83%) They Live
To close out, Carpenter’s satire of consumerism and advertorial brutalism via a hostile invisible alien takeover rings true even today. WORST!