Hollywood is complicated.
From hundreds of films that expand forward on the government’s mission to silence opinions and mute down important questions, to a few that offer a glimpse of a reality beyond what the state wants us to believe, Hollywood is truly bipolar.
Aliens have dominated Hollywood since ages. Glossing over posters and billboards, most films represent aliens as vicious beings intent upon destroying the Earth for no apparent reason. These films are truly a smear campaign against a species we have not even met- yet! From colonizing invaders to the creepiest creatures ever, alien depictions all follow a similar trope- the storylines are so dystopic and fictional that there is very little room left to ponder upon the existence of extraterrestrial beings. The hyper-animated nature of Hollywood films help in shelving the idea of life in the outer space, and reiterate the narrative that these films and stories are solely fiction; just something to be enjoyed and not taken seriously.
Amongst so many unrealistic plot lines and cheesy edits, there are some truly remarkable, rational, and scientifically sound films that propose and support the theory largely shunned and mocked: There is life on space.
Here are some classical Hollywood films that deserve recognition and should be taken seriously. In an ideal world, these films would be screened in classrooms and be the foundation for academic papers and scientific research. Sadly, under a state-surveilled country, these films are unknown, unsung, and forgotten.
1. Area 51 (2015)
A highly underrated cinematic beauty, this film ventures straight within the restricted territory of Area 51. Directed by Oren Peli, the film follows a trio who head to Nevada to attend a party. All is fun and games until the next morning, when one of them, named Reid, goes missing.
From here follows a trek within government secrets, state-sponsored violence, and a quest for the truth. After infiltrating the highly secure military base, these three young men uncover some of the greatest secrets of the US military and narrowly escape military person intent upon detaining these boys so that no beans can be spilled onto the outside world. The armed security staff goes as far as shooting point blank- they would rather kill than spill!
An honest depiction of state behaviors and secrecy patterns, this movie is a must watch for all space enthusiasts and state critics!
2. The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976)
Starring the stunning David Bowie, ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ is a poignant portrayal of state brutality and viciousness, this film will truly have you lamenting the level of authority we designate to the buffoons we vote into offices.
On the doleful journey to Earth of humanoid alien Thomas Jerome Newton, the film follows Newton’s quest for capital so that he can rehydrate his planet’s depleted water resources. Newton becomes a famous inventor and is soon wealthy enough to put his plans to action. However, just before he can embark on his final flight, he has a firsthand experience of the inherently deceptive nature of human beings. Betrayed and sold out by a trusted friend, Newton is captured by the government, with all of his property seized and business partner murdered in cold blood.
Newton is imprisoned and subjected to bodily harm, torture, and nonconsensual experimentation at the hands of the government, with them abusing his body regularly till one they, bored, they abandon him. Ending up depressed, physically maimed, and an alcoholic, there is no happy ending for Newton and he is never able to recover from the trauma of government torture, betrayal, and his loneliness.
3. 51 (2011)
Another pitifully underrated masterpiece, 51 is horror, science, and fiction at its best. A foray into state secrets and the enormity of the power the government possesses, 51 follows a group of reporters and their journalistic ventures into Area 51.
Granted limited access following immense public protestations, the news group members uncover much graver details other than the state-proclaimed ‘high level technology’. This film unwraps into classic horror as government ‘secrets’ begin to threaten the lives of the reporters.
Not only does this film posit that Area 51 houses violent, extraterrestrial captives, but also focuses upon the extents to which a government facility can go to, to hide an important truth about the universe. The film depicts how even the lives of an established news group members hold little importance in the face of state secrets.
4. District 9 (2009)
A discussion on humanity and its fickleness, District 9 broaches important topics like race, classism, segregation, and state-sponsored violence. Directed by Neill Blomkamp, the film is beautiful visually and conceptually. Postulating upon the behaviors that humans are capable of adopting when confronted with beings different than themselves, the movie also depicts selective justice procedures employed by the state to disenfranchise those considered ‘lesser’ citizens.
Starting a conversation that goes beyond ‘do aliens exist?’ the films talks about ‘what do humans do if they do exist?’
The film is based in Johannesburg where a group of malnourished aliens land by mistake and find themselves with not enough resources to head back. Segregated into a suffocating and slum-like colony constructed especially for them, these aliens are forced to spend 28 years of their life imprisoned on a planet that hates them, offers them little to no dignity, and treats them absolutely pathetically. The film casts a sharp focus on the brutal experimentations government doctors perform on alien bodies for ‘educational purposes’. Honestly, all of this ‘research’ nonsense is no less than state-funded torture and the film does a good job of bringing these unethical practices into the limelight.
5. Contact (1997)
A movie that was released to immense criticism, scholarly praise, lawsuits, and NASA’s disapproval, this film full and truly had the government quacking in their boots. While not unknown by any means, Contact is nowhere near as popular as the sheer ingenuity of this film demands.
Following Dr. Ellie Arroway’s science and communication based program which is committed to finding proof of extraterrestrial life, her project soon finds itself unfunded. Discouraged by the government and abandoned by national scientists, Arroway is able to continue her research after a private funder sees the importance of the work that she is doing.
Eventually, Arroway’s project makes a major breakthrough and the government, the nosy fellows that they are, take control over her work facility and obsessively monitor all further project procedures.
The film concludes having showcased state irresponsibility, the complexities that continue to lace religion and science, and a trip to space. Of course, like always, a Congressional Committee terms Arroway’s intergalactic experience a hoax and shelves the entire project as nonsensical and ‘non-scientific’. The gals of state personnel!
An evocation depiction of clashes between religion and science, the state’s dismissal of slow-processing scientific projects, and the immense power that private project funders are capable of wielding, this sci-fi film tackles many subjects all at once.
For more similar films that offer a different perspective on the ‘Alien question’, you can also see the video below: