by Doug Bevins
Films that have aliens in them are not a new concept by far. In fact, two of the best known films about aliens have been around since the late 1970’s and early 1980’s: the Alien trilogy got its start in 1979 and ET (directed by Steven Spielberg) was released in 1982. Albeit, when you ask someone today what movie with aliens they know/have seen, the answer will likely be Transformers, Pacific Rim, Independence Day, etc. So why this fascination with aliens and all things alien in the movies?
Aliens in movies makes for interesting/scary watching (to this day the Alien trilogy makes me cringe whenever the little chest burster aliens come out). However, is there a deeper reason behind the popularity of movies like ET and Aliens? It is possible. The popularity of movies like ET might have more to do with the fact that the aliens are from another planet and we as humans want to believe that we are not alone in this crazy world. An unspoken dream of humanity is the wondering whether or not there is something more or is this Earth/its people and life all there is in the universe? The reoccurrence of aliens in various movies (I mentioned a couple but there are others) speaks to this unspoken thought: are we alone. For example, ET has stood the test of time because ET is so lovable and the movie as a whole speaks to that unspoken thought I mentioned; ET shows up and changes the lives of those he comes in contact with. Many people may not even know that the question of are we alone is even in their mind but they gravitate toward anything that provides an answer: film, music, etc.
So why does the topic of aliens keep appearing in film both in the 1980’s and now? I believe its because people are still gravitating toward, both knowingly and unknowingly, anything that, even remotely, seems to answer the question of whether or not we are alone in this world and whether or not there is more to this life. Personally, I believe that there is more to this life than the routine of daily living. But it is not my place to do anything more than share my opinion as to why films with aliens in them have either stood the test of time (ET) or made a comeback today (Transformers). So yes the movies with aliens in them do make for, usually, good watching but they also come from humanities unanswered question of whether or not there is something more.