Hollywood is in the throes of an alien invasion. Summer’s only just started, and this weekend’s Men in Black 3 is the third alien movie in four weeks. Why, exactly, do filmmakers love making movies about extra-terrestrials?
-- Aliens make fantastic villains. With the Cold War and World Wars ancient history, it’s kind of passé for Hollywood to make Russians or Germans the bad guys. In fact, now that international box office grosses are surpassing American, studios certainly don’t want to alienate, so to speak, an entire country of potential ticket buyers. However, all humans can agree – as seen in The Avengers, Battleship, MiB3, Prometheus and The Watch – no one wants aliens to take over Earth.
-- Aliens allow filmmakers to unleash their imaginations. Movie teams have no limitations when creating the look, weaponry, emotional state, motivation, technology, and capabilities of spacemen. The Men in Black movies are ingenious because Agents J and K must manage so many unpredictable species, it’s a creativity playground.
-- Aliens are a link to the future. Deep space travel and its unforeseen consequences seem like a tangible possibility one day down the road. Intergalactic journeys and alien interaction set the stage for adventure, humor, mystery, suspense, and/or horror – or, in the case of Aug. 3rd's Total Recall – all of the above.
This Memorial Day weekend offers three out-of-this-world movies for the family:
Men in Black 3. Agent J must travel back to 1969 to once again save Earth from a rogue alien. Moviegoers can expect the same kind of fun, visually surprising entertainment as the first two films. Also consistent: extraterrestrials that are more bizarre and grotesque than scary. What’s new: Agent J’s foul mouth (it’s PG-13).
Battleship. The Navy battles an unfriendly alien attack in an over-the-top spectacle which must be the year’s loudest movie. The audience leaves the theater remembering Pearl Harbor, the Hasbro board game and the phrase “mouth like a sailor” (also PG-13).
The Avengers. Only one of the six superheroes is from another planet, but Thor’s bitter brother brings a space army to take over the world, or at least Manhattan. The action-hero violence is comic book and the “bad” language is pretty tame, which though PG-13, makes it fine for most elementary school age kids.
Even more alien movies coming this summer:
Prometheus (June 8)
The Watch (July 27)
Total Recall (Aug. 3)
To see what kids think about these movies, go to www.KidsPickFlicks.com , where all kids are movie critics.