- Published on Friday, June 15 2012
- Written by Sarah Osman
It seems as though aliens have invaded our movie theaters this summer. Over the last month, Battleship, Men in Black III, The Avengers, and Prometheus were all released -- and all four of these films feature aliens as central characters. Every summer, it seems as though a few alien movies are released. Filmmakers are often drawn to tales involving extra-terrestrials; they can bring in new settings, languages, and, in some cases, even make wonderfully evil villains.
But just how accurate are Hollywood’s depictions of aliens when compared to possible actual life in the galaxy? Obviously, this is a very tricky question to answer, as scientists have yet to prove that there is life -- dead or alive -- anywhere besides Earth. Of course, this makes it appear that the aliens, for the most part, are solely based off of the filmmakers' imaginations. However, there has been enough research done in the fields of biology and astronomy that can give scientists a hint of what actual extraterrestrials would look like.
For instance, we know that there are large distances between our galaxy and others, which has made scientists wonder what the motivation would actually be for aliens to invade Earth, and whether or not this feat would even be possible. There is no proof that aliens have weaponry that is more powerful than ours, or that they would even come with the intent to harm. Scientists have pointed out that one of the main reasons that aliens come to Earth in movies is to gain access to natural resources. However, the entire universe is composed of similar natural resources, so there is little reason for aliens to waste their time and energy traveling to an already-inhabited planet like Earth for what they can find much closer to home.
Aliens in films are often depicted looking like us -- an upright stance with two arms, two legs, and a nose, eyes, and mouth. Scientists have pointed out that it is highly likely that, if aliens do exist, they would most likely look very unfamiliar, in the sense that we wouldn’t even be able to discern what they are. Filmmakers have acknowledged that they make their aliens look more human-like in order to make them more relatable, and to not completely throw the audience with a creature that is too foreign.
Film aliens are indeed a bit different than what actual aliens could be like. Essentially, aliens in films are reflections of ourselves and hardly accurate representations of extraterrestrials. Sci-fi films really are just for our entertainment. But, if you’re like me, you may come out of Prometheus, look up at the sky, and wonder... what if?
- Sarah Osman, YH Staff