What makes a good alien film?

The human race is obsessed with the unknown. Ever since we figured out that that we are a tiny speck in the universe, we are so intent on believing that there are probably other specks like us. Hollywood is the mind behind every mainstream alien conspiracy out there. It has given us aesthetically appealing aliens (Avatar, Men in Black) and gruesome ugly ones (Independence Day, District 9). Yet, there are certain elements we can spot in every one of these movies. Get these elements, and you have your own Hollywood film. 

The Soldier: You can love them or hate them, but you need them to survive. No sci-fi flick is complete without the army general who goes for heavy artillery every time he sees the outline of a UFO in the sky.

Nobody punches an alien in the face like a man in uniform does.

The quintessential good guy: This is our everyday guy who gets sudden spurts of confidence when crisis strikes. He is sometimes ex-law enforcement and other times a brave fellow for no apparent reason or motivation. Oh also, he always survives.

It can turn you to dust but it can’t sense Tommy and his kid through the thin wooden door.

The stupid, unaware folks: We know what we came in to see, so somebody needs to die. The general people who stand around videotaping the aliens, or run away in the wrong directions always end up being either eaten or abducted.

All those of you who aren’t Tom Cruise, you’re going to die.

The eccentric but all-knowing professor: This guy basically exists to explain things to our soldier who only knows to point and shoot. He may be excited by the prospect of aliens and new research funding, but his lab is almost always destroyed by the captured alien specimen.

Nuclear weapons: The aliens have mind control, superior intellect, advanced weapons and unbeatable shields, but the one thing that invariably gets them is radiation.

And in the end we have what we like to call, ‘the sequel maker’. This is the tiny piece of equipment, an egg or captured alien that is left behind after the fight. It is small enough to seem insignificant, but dangerous enough for another movie.

By Shreya Nair

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