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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On Big Bad Alien Movies

The saying goes, a fight between good and evil in the movies is always better when the villain is really strong and believable. During the Cold War, it became popular to portray aliens in the movies as enemies. It ranged from Invasion of the Body Snatchers to the 90s hit Independence Day, and thus aliens as enemies became a fixture of cinema. If I were to choose a symbol for alien enemies, the aptly named Xenomorph from the Alien series would be it.

Credit to artist at DeviantArt

One could hardly imagine how a phallic symbol artwork by H.R. Giger spawned a design that would inspire fear in people.

However, it's hard to miss the apparent xenophobia that these movies. It applies not only to aliens but to robots. Ludditism/technophobia and xenophobia had become a significant part of American society, and it contributes to the anti-intellectualism that became the source of one of Isaac Asimov's more famous sayings. Perhaps Hollywood should cut down on alien invasion themes and perhaps have a story where the opposite happens - human invasion of an alien world. And it should show the aliens as good. It seems Hollywood has to get out of its fear-mongering spell and start showing the machines and aliens as good, and humans as inferior beings that need to learn.

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