Wednesday, January 12, 2011

FILM: Alien Films Coming in 2011

Steadily for the last few years there's been an uptick in sci-fi films revolving around alien invasions, from The Host (2006) to Transformers (2007) to Cloverfield (2008) to District 9 (2009) to Skyline (2010). 2009 actually had the most alien films of the decade, racking up 13 mainstream additions to the subgenre: The Knowing, Dragonball: Evolution, Race to Witch Mountain, Monsters vs. Aliens, Star Trek, Transformers 2, Aliens in the Attic, Shorts, District 9, The Box, The Fourth Kind, Planet 51, and Avatar. This year, the trend returns, toting more than a dozen films with aliens at the core and covering nearly every genre: action, comedy, drama, thriller, Western, comic book adaptation, and animation. Check out what sets each apart from the rest:
I Am Number Four
Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant (Hitman and Live Free or Die Hard), Dianna Aragon ("Glee"), Teresa Palmer (The Sorcerer's Apprentice), Kevin Durand ("Lost" and Wolverine)
Plot: John (Pettyfer) is an extraordinary teen, masking his true identity and passing as a typical high school student to elude a deadly enemy seeking to destroy him. Three like him have already been killed ... he is Number Four.
Aliens: Human-like with superpowers.
What Sets it Apart: Teenagers are the heroes AND the aliens.
Release Date: February 18

Battle: Los Angeles
Cast: Aaron Echkart (Dark Knight), Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar), Bridget Moynahan ("Blue Bloods" and I, Robot), Michael Pena (Crash), Noel Fisher ("The Riches"), Ramon Rodriguez (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), Jim Parrick ("True Blood"), Lucas Till (Hannah Montana: The Movie), R&B singer Ne-Yo (Stomp the Yard), and many more.
Plot: A Marine platoon faces off against an alien invasion in Los Angeles.
Aliens: Robot-like on land and in spaceships.
What Sets it Apart: It's the army's perspective of an alien invasion. It's like Black Hawk Down meets District 9.
Release Date: March 11
Mars Needs Moms
Cast: Seth Green ("Robot Chicken"), Joan Cusack, Dan Fogler (Kung Fu Panda)
Plot: A young boy named Milo (Green) gains a deeper appreciation for his mom (Cusack) after Martians come to Earth to take her away.
Aliens: Beady-eyed, immature, and childlike.
What Sets it Apart: It's animated and the aliens don't want to take over the planet. They just want to steal one human to preserve their own.
Release Date: March 11
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig ("SNL"), Jason Bateman, Sigourney Weaver, Jane Lynch ("Glee"), Bill Hader ("SNL"), Jeffrey Tambor ("Arrested Development"), David Koechner (Talladega Nights), Jesse Plemons ("Friday Night Lights")
Plot: Two British comic geeks (Pegg and Frost) go on a road trip through America. On the way, they discover an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) at Area 51.
Alien: It basically looks like a younger, less beleaguered E.T.
What Sets it Apart: It answers the question as to what would happen if idiots, and not the military (or children), found an alien.
Release Date: March 18

Attack the Block
Cast: Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead), Jodie Whittaker (St. Trinian's and Good), Luke Treadaway (Clash of the Titans and Heartless)
Plot: A teen gang in South London defending their block from an alien invasion.
Alien: Unknown
What Sets it Apart: It has an entirely British cast.
Release Date: April 8
Apollo 18
Cast: Unknown
Plot: "The story revolves around recently 'found footage' shot by the crew of an abandoned moon mission that NASA claims never took place in the early 1970s. The footage reveals the existence of alien life and explains why the agency has hidden the evidence for all of these years."
Alien: Unknown
What Sets it Apart: So far it's being sold solely on its mystery factor and not on a celebrity's name.
Release Date: April 22
Cast: Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek and A Perfect Getaway), Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Kat Dennings (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist), Idris Elba (The Losers and Takers), Stellan Skarsgard (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Mama Mia), Ray Stevenson (The Other Guys and The Book of Eli)
Plot: The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor (Hemsworth) is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.
Alien: A super buff warrior carrying a giant hammer.
What Sets it Apart: He hasn't come to take over Earth but to assimilate and eventually defend it.
Release Date: May 6
Super 8
Cast: Elle Fanning (Somewhere), Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights"), Amanda Michalka (The Secretariat)
Plot: It's under wraps, but basically something comes to Earth.
Alien: Unknown
What Sets it Apart: J.J. Abrams is directing and writing, and since he's a master of mysteries, he directed the Star Trek reboot, and produced Cloverfield, he knows how to tell a good alien story.
Release Date: June 10
Green Lantern
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes), Blake Lively (The Town and "Gossip Girl")
Plot: A test pilot (Reynolds) is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.
Alien: Green superheroes wearing green uniforms and rocking a green ring that gives them powers.
What Sets it Apart: There's a lot of green going on. Kidding. It's based on a comic book and the aliens intend on saving Earth not conquering or destroying it, and they've tapped a human to help them do it.
Release Date: June 17
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Returning Cast: Shia Labeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Ramon Rodriguez
New Cast: Model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey, John Malcovich, Ken Jeong ("Community" and The Hangover), Frances McDormand
Plot: The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and learn its secrets, which could turn the tide in the Transformers' final battle.
Alien: They're robots.
What Sets it Apart: This war is alien vs. alien, not alien vs. human. Of course, if the good aliens lose, it will become alien vs. human.
Release Date: July 1
Cowboys & Aliens
Cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy), Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood), Noah Ringer (The Last Airbender), Ana de la Reguera (Cop Out)
Plot: A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys are all that stand in their way.
Alien: Unknown
What Sets it Apart: It's a Western and the heroes are cowboys.
Release Date: July 29

The Darkest Hour
Cast: Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), Olivia Thirlby (The Wackness), Max Minghella (Social Network), Rachael Taylor (Transformers)
Plot: In Russia, a group of kids struggle to survive after an alien invasion.
Alien: Unknown
What Sets it Apart: It doesn't take place on American soil for once and Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted), an innovator in sci-fi special effects, is producing.
Release Date: Aug 5

The Thing
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), Ulrich Thomsen (Hitman), Joel Edgerton (King Arthur), Eric Christian Olsen ("Community" and Fired Up!)
Plot: At an Antarctica research site, the discovery of an alien craft leads to a confrontation between graduate student Kate Lloyd (Winstead) and scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson (Thomsen). While Dr. Halvorson keeps to his research, Kate partners with Sam Carter (Edgerton), a helicopter pilot, to pursue the alien life form.
Alien: It's a shapeshifter, so it generally looks human.
What Sets it Apart: It's a prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 film of the same name, and this alien is dormant and unearthed as opposed to on the cusp of invading.
Release Date: October 14

Cast: Unknown
Plot: "After the tragic death of his wife and child, a famed American author tries to reunite with his estranged brother and dying father in Barcelona. His life soon becomes plagued with strange happenings, and the constant sightings of the number 11 a portent for an entity's arrival on our earthly plane through Heaven's 11th gate."
Alien: An angel?
What Sets it Apart: This seems a lot more supernatural/religious than extraterrestrial, but since they're being vague it's hard to tell.
Release Date: 11/11/11

1 comment:

  1. Alien's not the only trend that's sweeping Hollywood right now. (Loosely-based) fairy tale stories is hot too at the moment, with Snow White (all of the Snow-White-inspired upcoming flick), Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, Jack the Giant Killer, also Beauty and the Beast (Beastly). If one guy is doing it, the others always want a piece of it too.