Categories: Geek Culture

How Does Battleship Stack Up to Other Alien Invasion Movies?

Battleship opens today, and by now I’m sure you’ve probably seen the trailers. (You did go see The Avengers, right?)

I suppose it only makes sense that a movie based on a classic boardgame would use a classic plot point: alien invasion! From the trailer, you can tell that the aliens are bent on destruction, have some pretty high-tech weaponry (force fields, peg-shaped missiles, giant spinning wheelie-things that tear apart buildings and ships). The humans have, well, their battleship. While I haven’t seen the movie, I’m going to assume that the humans prevail in the end — but only after much loss of life, the destruction of Hong Kong, and some gruff commands from Liam Neeson about firing on “B-6.”

It got me thinking about other alien invasion movies: What do they want? What weapons do they have? How do we defeat them? Here’s just a handful of alien invasion movies. (Note: Spoilers ahead!)

The Avengers

What the aliens want: World domination.

Weaponry: Guns, flying jet-skis, enormous flying-fish machines

How we win: Hulk smash. And then we throw a nuke at them.

Independence Day

What they want: Our resources — all of them. They’re just like us on fast-forward, really.

Weaponry: countless enormous flying saucers that can destroy entire cities with their big lasers.

How we win: Jeff Goldblum uses his Mac to give the mothership a computer virus. And then we launch a nuke at them.


What it wants: Who knows? A good pizza, maybe?

Weaponry: Sheer size, and a bunch of parasites.

How we win: We shoot it with shaky handheld cameras until the military bombs Manhattan.

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The Iron Giant

What it wants: Metal. Mmmmmm.

Weaponry: He’s basically a giant gun. Or is he?

How we win: We shoot a nuke at him. Well, at ourselves, and then he saves us from our own stupidity.

E. T.

What they want: To study our plants.

Weaponry: Glowing fingers, extraterrestrial gardening tools.

How we win: We let the guy call for a ride, finally.

*batteries not included

What they want: To fix things.

Weaponry: Little teeny soldering irons, and a magical ability to repair nearly anything.

How we win: We don’t, despite trying to burn down the building they’re in. They win.


What they want: Unobtainium, some rock or something that grows under our Hometree.

Weaponry: Lots of ships with guns.

How we win: One of the invading aliens falls in love with our princess and helps us defeat his kinsman by flying on a big dragon.

It seems like shooting a bunch of missiles (or nukes) is a pretty common strategy, though there are a few more creative ways to deal with our alien visitors. What are some of your favorite alien invasion movies, and how do they stack up to these?

In the meantime, while you’re standing in line for your Battleship tickets, here are 10 toy-based movie ideas for Hollywood to try next.

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Jonathan H. Liu

Jonathan H. Liu is a stay-at-home dad in Portland, Oregon, who loves to read, is always up for a board game, and has a bit of a Kickstarter habit. I can be reached at jonathan at geekdad dot com.

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