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Monster madness

As news reports reach us of a man escaping from the notorious Area 51 in the US with ‘proof’ that NASA does, indeed, possess an alien, we thought it was a good time to feature some alien invasion movies. Here’s something to quench your desire for little green men.

Bibek Bhattacharya | Print Edition: September 7, 2008

Cloverfield

Monster movies—whether radioactively homegrown, or spawned on some evil star—are again a genre done to death. And this is why Cloverfield is such a fresh and interesting look at the genre. At a visual level, it is very clever, merging the special effects of Godzilla and the DIY home video format of The Blair Witch Project. It’s an ambitious attempt, and the movie largely pulls it off. The story is very simple. A Godzilla-like monster lays siege on New York City and leaves a trail of mayhem in its wake.

The story is told through the point of view of six young people who are caught, like millions of others, in a city terrorised by this monster. The monster in question doesn’t get a back-history, which deepens the story. The monster is rarely shown in its entirety, which is infinitely scarier. Add to this, some seriously deranged shots of the head of the Statue of Liberty rolling down the street and scenes of battered skyscrapers leaning on each other and you get a deeply unsettling film that is far more effective than its more glam cousins like Godzilla or King Kong.
Paramount  price: Rs 449

The Invasion

Every generation of filmgoers seems to be getting its version of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. No one seems to tire of alien invasions, especially directors. And why should they? Nothing else on celluloid portrays a fear of the “other” as well as alien movies, and at their best, such films really do show the human condition of being utterly lonely. And so, on to the latest installment of the “pod people”. Only, this time around, the invasion is in the form of a virus that’s raging all over the world after a spaceship returning to earth explodes in the atmosphere, littering much of the US with debris and a deadly virus that takes control of people and changes them into something not-quite-them.

Nicole Kidman puts in a superb performance as a psychiatrist who tries to rescue her son from the aliens. In a clever twist to the old story, director Oliver Hirschbiegel makes the aliens peace-loving ones and questions many of our very human follies. They come in peace and they will help stop the war in Iraq and everything else. The world will be at peace, except for those who are not yet infected. Daniel Craig puts in a nice little cameo as a physician friend of Kidman who tries to help her find her son. Warner Home Video Price: Rs 449

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