Was reading a book which described aliens with knees that bent backwards (like an ostrich) and I remembered a scene from a movie and wanted to identify it.

Its probably from the 90s. I believe aliens are infiltrating Earth and either trying to set up terraforming stations to convert the earth to be more to their liking, or setting up a communication device. (Pretty sure it was terraforming)

I am NOT talking about either of "V" or "Them"

The Protagonist is more or less alone (no one believes him when he tells them what is going on) trying to sabotage their plans, while they are trying to kill him. [Using his intelligence to stop them as opposed to picking up guns ever 10 minutes and killing them all]

The scene I remember: At the end of the movie, they are fighting in a radio telescope tower. Similar to this.

radio telescope

The some of the aliens chasing him deploy an implosion grenade in the control room under the tower that creates a mini black hole effect that over 30 seconds gradually sucks everything nearby into it, destroying the building and dropping the dish down on to it. (The aliens dying in the collapse)

The protagonist has survived, and a 15(?) year old African-American neighbor who had been doing minor errands for him/asking "whats he doing", and was with him at the radio tower, turns out to have been an alien who has been spying on him. He then twists his legs around so his knees are backwards and runs off at 40mph.

In an earlier scene I remember the aliens had deployed one of the implosion grenades in the protagonist's house to suck up all the info/maps/charts he had collected on their activities so he had no evidence. (pretty sure it stripped the house bare, furniture and all.)

  • 6
    Ostrich knees don't bend backwards. You are looking at the ankle joint of the ostrich.
    – user142626
    Jun 12, 2021 at 8:59
  • 1
    Haha, I knew what movie was being asked about just reading the title on the list of questions.
    – DKNguyen
    Jun 12, 2021 at 20:14
  • plot point for plot point this is undoubtedly Nimble's answer; I know because I watched it for the first time lately. Jun 13, 2021 at 11:39
  • probably the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/34445/…
    – Otis
    Jun 13, 2021 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


The movie is The Arrival (1996) with Charlie Sheen.

After astronomer Zane Zaminski (Charlie Sheen) discovers a radio transmission that originated from space, he tells his boss, Phil (Ron Silver), who ignores him. Zane is promptly fired, and decides to investigate the signal himself. When he discovers a return radio transmission from Mexico, he goes to explore. There he meets climate scientist Ilana Green (Lindsay Crouse), who is studying anomalies in gases in the area. Zane soon makes a shocking finding that puts him in great danger.

Movie poster for "The Arrival" showing an alien head on the left half whose left eye overlaps with Charlie Sheen's right eye, his head appearing on the right half.  Inset below their chins is an picture of a radio telescope silhouetted against a sunset sky

  • 8
    Not to be confused with Arrival, the better-known but unrelated 2016 science-fiction movie. Jun 12, 2021 at 14:47
  • 3
    Amazing that the OP can remember the original plot so well but somehow not remember it had either Charlie Sheen or Ron Silver! Memory - and its flaws - is oddly wonderful ...
    – davidbak
    Jun 12, 2021 at 16:44
  • 1
    How bad is it though? The poster looks rather, well, B-ish.
    – einpoklum
    Jun 12, 2021 at 18:45
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    @einpoklum This movie was out in the cheap seats at the same time INdependence Day was. I wanted to see Independence Day but my dad was too cheap to go to the regular theatre. He asked the tickets lady if it was the same as Independence Day (as if movies are commodity products that are interchangeable) and she said "same idea". Nowadays, I can only imagine what was going on in her head. Needless to say, it was not.
    – DKNguyen
    Jun 12, 2021 at 20:16
  • 3
    I've seen it recently, so this might be recency bias, but it's not that bad. Narrative mostly makes sense, the acting is fine, and it was directed and photographed competently. It was a box office failure, however; $14m in receipts against a $25m budget. Jun 13, 2021 at 11:31

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