Best & Worst: Alien Invasion Movies

Best: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

After many failed attempts, Douglas Adams' epic sci-fi comedy finally made it to the big screen courtesy of Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith (AKA Hammer & Tongs).

The visuals have an impressive sheen, but thankfully there's still something defiantly British about the whole thing, largely down to the fact that Adams' offbeat sense of humour has been captured perfectly.

It also scores point for the fact the invasion business is gotten out of the way early on, as Earth is destroyed to make way for a hyperspace expressway.

Worst: Species (1995)

Ben Kingsley, Forest Whitaker and Alfred Molina aren't really the kind of folk you associate with 'erotic' sci-fi horror. Nevertheless, they do show up and do their thing in this erstwhile staple of adolescent boys' viewing.

This time, Earth science bods create an alien-human hybrid from information received from extra-terrestrial transmission, and the resulting hottie goes off on a mission to mate and produce a bunch of alien babies.

A failure by its own unambitious standards, as it isn't sexy or scary, and the special effects looked woefully dated from the off.

Best: Men in Black (1997)

A novel approach to the invasion genre: the titular organisation monitors alien life forms on Earth, and even employs a fair few of them, but they still have to fend off attacks when the need arises.

Much of the success of MIB is down to Will Smith's new recruit being shown the ropes, so we can marvel at the weapons, gadgets and inventive aliens as he does.

The bug-like invader (mostly disguised as Vincent D'Onofrio) is chasing an irrelevant mcguffin, but that's not really the point here. You're just supposed to sit back and admire the witty invention on display.

Worst: Men in Black II (2002)

The problem with this sequel is that it's basically a retread of the original. That's not always a bad thing (they're cloning a decent product after all), but here you get the episodic adventure with none of the freshness that made the first movie so appealing.

While discovering the agency was a constant pleasure the first time around, here it's a bit of a chore as Tommy Lee Jones memory-wiped agent has to be reacquainted with his former line of work.

Weak villainy from Lara Flynn Boyle and sidekick Johnny Knoxville sets the bar for generally less impressive aliens: the bollock-chinned enemy says it all, really.

Best: Monsters vs Aliens (2009)

Another B-movie with a budget, the title alone is enough of a hook, with the US military unleashing their secret squad of monsters to fend off an alien attack.

Reese Witherspoon's Susan is a bride-to-be who's mutated into a giant on her wedding day, and she joins the team that includes Seth Rogen's gelatinous blob and Hugh Laurie's mad scientist Dr Cockroach.

The movie made effective use of its 3D, particularly in a Golden Gate Bridge showdown, and there are plenty of clever gags to ensure the adults are kept chuckling.

Worst: Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000)

Why is it that when alien invasion movies are bad, they're often among the worst films of any genre?

The adaptation of Scientology-founder L. Ron Hubbard has earned its place in the annals of bad movie history, gaining cult 'this can't be as bad as everyone says it is' status from its ignominy.

The problem is, it really is that bad. Look at the character design of the 'Psychlos'. Listen to the nonsense pseudo-science. Question your sanity as the film vaults gaping plot holes. Thankfully, the film was a convincing enough flop to prevent the second half of the novel being adapted into a sequel.