As far back as the 2nd century, the concept of extraterrestrials has been an ever-present idea in the public consciousness for a multitude of reasons.
Perhaps due to the crushing loneliness of us, possibly, being the only sentient life in the galaxy, or the lingering hope that the little, green star-dwellers could give us the smallest inkling as to what our role in the universal scheme of things actually is.
These questions, among the aforementioned multitude of others, have been raised, probed and dissected in cinema pretty much since the art form's inception. Right from 1908's Trip to the Moon, up to last year's Guardians of the Galaxy.
Often deployed as metaphorical devices, their depictions have been used to illuminate and question the human condition - playing up the weaker points of our nature - and, previously, the fear of invasion from enemy forces and the arrival of immigrants.
But as times have changed, and the ignorance which breeds societal fears very slowly begins to dissipate, cinematic extraterrestrials have undergone many dramatic transformations, as highlighted by this incredible video from Digg which depicts the evolution of the movie alien over 112 years of cinema.
Use all of your eyes on this:
Whilst this isn't a comprehensive list, and omits a few other classics, it is interesting to see the shift from humanoid alien life portrayed by costumes and prosthetics, to a more, dare I say, realistic approach to creating aliens with CGI rendering.
I'm hoping you had the time to watch the video, because it is super cool. But if not, here take this
Time Flies/Breakdown/Kind of Thing
And join me on a trip through a miniature timeline of otherworldly badasses:
Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon
Cinema's first movie which depicted alien lifeforms is still as beautiful as it surely was way back in 1902.
Robert Wise's The Day The Earth Stood Still
It wasn't until the 50s, when sci-fi and tales of an astonishing nature really began to infiltrate the popular consciousness, and put bums on cinema seats. This absolute gem of a movie being one of the stand out highlights of that generation, besides...
Byron Haskin's War of the Worlds
Skip along to the swingin' 60s, and along comes a wild Stanley Kubrick with:
2001: A Space Odyssey
And another bonafide classic in...
Roger Vadim's Barbarella
Then into the 70s with:
George Lucas' Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Ridley Scott's Alien
Then the 80s gave us classics like:
Spielberg's E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
John Carpenter's The Thing
And, you'll have to watch DIgg's video to learn how far we've come in terms of portrayals of alien life. What could be next?