Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

Produced by the legendary Steven Spielberg, Falling Skies - out on DVD 2nd July - chronicles the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that leaves most of the world completely incapacitated.

The spectacular series joins a wealthy back catalogue of sci-fi films that Spielberg has put his unique mark on and to celebrate the release, we look at the best extra-terrestrial tales that the three-time Oscar-winner has brought to our screens.

- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Steven Spielberg’s first major foray into the supernatural follows Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) after he has an alien encounter, becoming obsessed with five musical notes and a mountain-like figure; the movie was unusual for its time as it portrayed aliens as peaceful beings, rather than destructive monsters.

Despite being released in the same year as the groundbreaking ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ became Columbia’s most-successful film of the time and was honoured with eight Oscar nominations.

- E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

In one of the most-loved children’s film of all time, a young boy named Elliot (Henry Thomas) discovers an alien and tries to get him home without raising the suspicions of his parents or the government.

Spielberg admitted that he had based ‘E.T.’ on the imaginary friend he had made up during childhood and shot the entire film at a child’s eye level so the audience would feel more involved with Elliot’s adventure.

The film surpassed ‘Star Wars’ at the box-office to become the highest grossing movie in history, a position it kept for over a decade.

- Men In Black (1997)

In this Spielberg-produced sci-fi comedy, a NYPD cop (Will Smith) joins a secret organisation that protects Earth from galactic invasions whilst monitoring ‘legal aliens’ who have chosen to peacefully live amongst humans.

‘Men In Black’ is considered to be the film that projected Smith onto the Hollywood A-list, however he reportedly turned down the lead role thinking he wasn’t good enough for a Spielberg movie; Smith’s wife talked him into reconsidering and he has since starred in two sequels.

- War of the Worlds (2005)

Spielberg adapted the H.G. Wells classic into a tale of a man’s (Tom Cruise) fight to save his family during an alien invasion; it was a change in approach for the director who stated that "for the first time in my life I'm making an alien picture where there is no love and no attempt at communication."

Spielberg owns one of the surviving copies of the original Orson Welles radio script and had planned to make it into a film decades earlier but decided against it when ‘Independence Day’ was put into production.

- Transformers (2007)

Despite turning the franchise down at first, famously calling it a 'stupid toy movie,' Michael Bay’s desire to work with Spielberg was the reason he eventually agreed to take the helm on ‘Transformers.’

Although having such differing styles, Spielberg’s main piece of advice to Bay was that at the heart of the explosive action should be a simple tale of a boy and his car; this combination of quality storytelling and stunning action sequences made ‘Transformers’ a surprise box-office smash and spawned two sequels.

- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Released nineteen years after the last installment, the fourth Indiana Jones adventure revolved around an extra-terrestrial psychic skull.

To compensate for the time difference and Harrison Ford’s obvious ageing, Spielberg set the film in the late 1950s; this allowed him to take into account the Cold War, and once he learnt that Joseph Stalin had been interested in crystal skulls, he made the Soviets the script's villains.

- Cowboys and Aliens (2011)

Despite having the most ridiculous title since ‘Snakes on a Plane,’ Spielberg’s alien western was received as a credibly fun if ultimately unsuccessful action movie.

Charting the story of a man (Daniel Craig), who wakes up in the Wild West with a forgotten past and a mysterious shackle around his wrist; Spielberg provided the director, writers and cameramen with a collection of famous westerns to make sure that they got the authentic look of the genre that he desired.

- Super 8 (2011)

The parallels to the Spielberg-written ‘The Goonies’ was unmistakable in this exhilarating tale of a group of friends who film a train crash whilst making an amateur movie, only to suspect supernatural activities behind it when looking back at the footage.

Director J.J.Abrams stated that ‘Super 8’ 'paid homage' to producer Spielberg’s childhood adventure films and even featured the famous bicycle from E.T. as part of the metal junk that gets attached to the water tower in the final scenes.

- Falling Skies (2011)

Spielberg transferred his passion for extra-terrestrials onto the small screen in last year’s sci-fi drama ‘Falling Skies.’

The series takes place six-months after aliens take over the earth, where history professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) helps lead a small army named 2nd Massachusetts in the battle of their lives to preserve their families and what is left of humanity.

Wyle admitted that Spielberg’s presence on set was a testament to how much he cared for the project, mentioning that the producer shaped the script, made the editing suggestions and gave notes on how the aliens should look.

Falling Skies, Season 1 is released on DVD on 2nd July

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