Five Movies to Watch Before Listening to ARMADA by Ernest Cline

After the smashing success of Ready Player One, everybody will be anticipating Ernest Cline’s follow-up novel, Armada. And it does not disappoint. Armada’s star, Zack Lightman, has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure. When his dream comes true, and a mysterious Alien force launches a real-life invasion of Earth, it’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero.


The Last Starfighter

On the surface, there are a lot of similarities between The Last Starfighter and Armada. A teenage boy discovers that his favorite video game is real, and is transported off to an outer space action-adventure. If you want to get the flavor of Armada before the audiobook comes out, this is the best place to start. Featuring VERY primitive computer graphics and a fun, earnest plot, The Last Starfighter is the next best thing to listening to Armada. And there are tons of nods and winks to it in Armada that only you will recognize!


Top Gun

“I feel the need…the need…for speed! OWW!” The main action in Armada isn’t on the ground – it’s in the sky. And if you want to watch some beautiful aerial combat, there are few better options than Top Gun. Watching Top Gun will be like going through a class of Fighter Pilot 101. You’ll learn terms like “callsign” that you’ll also see in Armada. And there might just be a bit of Tom Cruise’s “Maverick” in Zack Lightman’s character – he’s a young hot shot with some father issues and a lot to prove. Plus, after watching Top Gun, one prominent Armada character’s callsign, “Viper” will mean a lot more to you. And no, there are no beach volleyball scenes in Armada.


Iron Eagle

Another movie that shares a lot with the plot of Armada. Iron Eagle is like a combination of Top Gun and The Last Starfighter. When high school senior Doug Masters’s father, an Air Force Pilot, is shot down by MiGs belonging to a radical Middle Eastern state, no one is able to rescue him – not even the US Air Force. Doug finds Chappy Sinclair (played by Louis Gosset Jr.), an Air Force Colonel who hatches a scheme to rescue Doug’s dad no matter what – even if it involves stealing two F-16s and flying their own illegal rescue mission. While it doesn’t involve extraterrestrials, Iron Eagle is an under-rated air combat masterpiece, which also features a high school senior learning what it’s like to fly in an actual air battle instead of a simulator. The similarities don’t end there: in fact, Zack Lightman’s online callsign is “IronBeagle” in homage to this movie. The soundtrack to Iron Eagle is also amazingly 1980’s. After watching Iron Eagle, you might recognize a few of the songs in Zack Lightman’s “Raid the Arcade” mix, which you can see here.


Independence Day

Aliens from beyond the solar system have come to take over Earth? It’s nothing a handful of jet fighters and a laptop computer can’t fix! Independence Day is not the original Alien Invasion movie, but it is a very fun one. With classic scenes ranging from Will Smith’s “Welcome to Earth” (punch) one-liner to Bill Pullman’s iconic motivational speech, Independence Day is still fun to watch almost twenty years later. ARMADA’s action takes the Alien Invasion genre to a new level, depicting mankind’s fight across the entire planet, and beyond!


Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Not all Aliens are blood-thirsty invaders! Close Encounters of the Third Kind is one of the first “feel-good” movies about extraterrestrials, where they’re not looking to destroy our cities, but to make peaceful contact. The heroes in Armada are also facing a mysterious extraterrestrial civilization, and first contact has gone terribly wrong. Close Encounters’ theme of peaceful co-existence with extraterrestrials is revisited in Armada. Listen to the audiobook to see whether mankind will choose peace, or war.