Sunday 18 December 2011

Today's Review: The Way Aliens Are Portrayed In The Media

I watched Contact for the first time last week. I didn't review it, but I can say I enjoyed it. What was especially interesting is the fact that it portrays aliens in a positive light, which nowadays is somewhat of a rarity.

Aliens are weird things, we can all acknowledge that. They come from different planets, they probably look different to us, eat different foods, have different beliefs, maybe weird powers. But do we really have to make them so evil in movies? Pretty much every alien movie out there paints them as evil blood thirsty creatures who have come to enslave the human race, or harvest our bodies, or out natural resources. Perhaps their home world has been destroyed as a result of their own consumption, or maybe they're just greedy. But why is that always the case? I think it's just projection, people. Killing people for resources is what humans do. When we come across something we haven't seen before, our first reaction is probably to kill it dead.

My point is that we have been broadcasting all these different movies as signals across our planet for years. If aliens are advanced enough to pick them out, all they're going to see is countless frames of aliens murdering people and people shooting back at them. If they don't have such a thing as movies on that planet, they'll probably just assume that we murder all our other worldly visitors, but if they do have such entertainment they'll just guess this is how we think aliens are. Even movies that have portrayed aliens positively, such as Paul and E.T., show them being locked up by the government and tested on merely for showing up on our planet. We're sending some pretty bad signals out into space. If we were to intercept some waves emanating from a faraway planet and saw countless movies of aliens destroying and imprisoning humanoid figures, we'd probably steer clear too. Hell, we can't even stop killing each other, what alien race is going to want to share its knowledge with us?

Thankfully there are some good souls in the world. Mr. Gene Roddenberry provided us with the best portrayal of aliens and humans getting along fine. Star Trek shows just how nice it can be if all the races of different planets get along nicely, a motif that is also present throughout the Mass Effect video game series. There are of course some bloodthirsty races thrown in for good measure, but obviously they're all dicks so no one wants to invite them to the party.

We need to start portraying aliens in a more positive light in our media. We need more peaceful movies about first contact with intergalactic species, with the characters offering gifts and gladly accepting knowledge. The way it is now, we're just destroying our chances of anyone wanting to come and show us some pretty cool stuff. To the rest of the universe, we probably look like a bunch of filthy violent Klingons.

My rating: 1/5

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