Archives for posts with tag: extraterrestrial

color

Nic Cage fans should get a kick out of this genuinely unnerving H.P. Lovecraft adaptation. Cage plays Nathan Gardner, a family man finally “living the dream” after moving his family out of “the big city” and onto a rural New England farmstead. The trouble starts when a stinky meteorite lands in his yard, after which strange transformations start to occur among Gardner’s family and in the wilderness around them. Devotees of crazy, freaked-out Cage moments will have a ball with his close-encounter-in-the-shower scene, driveway tantrum, and the sight of him blasting away at a mass of slimy mutant alpacas. Some of the outrageously grotesque situations and visuals are reminiscent of films like From Beyond (1986), The Curse (1987), and Society (1989), which ought to give prospective viewers a fair warning of what lies in store. Color Out of Space does, unfortunately, overstay its welcome by twenty minutes or so, particularly when it slips into all-encompassing CGI saturation mode; but, at its best, Color Out of Space is good, spooky, occasionally campy fun.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Color Out of Space is:

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

Drug-ambivalent. Tommy Chong plays a forest-dwelling hermit and weed aficionado. His chemical pastime is played for laughs, but his easygoing disposition also leaves him spacey, reckless, and incapable of perceiving the threat right under his feet (and in his cup).

Media-skeptical. When TV news does a story on the landing of the meteorite at Mr. Gardner’s farm, the interview is inaccurately captioned “UFO Sighting in Arkham?” and the reporter insinuates that Gardner is only a drunk.

Green, suggesting that politicians are insufficiently concerned with conservation and public health. Arkham’s corrupt mayor (Q’orianka Kilcher) proceeds with a profitable reservoir construction project despite being warned about the environmental hazards.

Wicca-ambivalent. Gardner’s daughter, Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur), practices witchcraft, casting spells to, for instance, keep her mother (Joely Richardson) free from cancer. She claims never to practice black magic, and is depicted as a more or less normal teenage girl. Her spells are ineffective at combating the titular menace, however, and viewers are left with the impression that Wicca is probably only a silly hobby. Interestingly, one of the talismans employed during one of her rituals is a swastika made from Barbie doll legs. This could, on the one hand, indicate her character’s immaturity; but it might also suggest elites’ anxiety over potentially negative, possibly nationalistic outcomes of young European-Americans’ abandonment of Abrahamic religion in favor of a return to paganism, however superficial (cf. Midsommar).

Urbanite. Lavinia is dismissive of country life, dislikes being made to eat “peasant food”, and, unlike her father, would have preferred to continue enjoying life in “the big city”. The family’s isolation and remoteness from civilization and help does contribute to their downfall in the end.

Pro-miscegenation. Lavinia has a crush on a “kinda cute” African-American hydrologist, Ward (Elliot Knight), who comes to survey the Miskatonic River for a hydroelectric company. H.P. Lovecraft, who advocated “the domination of English and kindred races over the lesser divisions of mankind”, would no doubt have been appalled. Fortunately, the color out of space culturally enriches Lavinia before the suitor of color can.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism.

arrival

Arrival is a more intimate alien visitation story than most owing to its sensitive lead performance from Amy Adams (Man of Steel’s Lois Lane playing another lover of extraterrestrials) as a distinguished linguist drafted by the U.S. government to communicate with the occupants of one of twelve alien spaceships that land around the world. Kill the Messenger’s Jeremy Renner appears as the physicist who assists her. Arrival features some highly stressful and fascinating sequences, but loses a little steam as its bankrupt moralism becomes evident.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Arrival is:

5. Green. The extraterrestrials’ craft demonstrates that highly sophisticated technology can be developed to travel at high speeds without producing an ecological footprint.

4. Feminist. It is women with brains and feelings, not men with guns, who will win peace for the world, the film suggests. The protagonist’s daughter plays at being a sheriff, her mother having empowered her to believe that girls can fill traditionally masculine roles.

3. Neoconservative. Russia and China, not the U.S., threaten global security with their idiosyncratic saber-rattling. Mention is also made of the Amy Adams character having helped the military translate a recording of Farsi-speaking “insurgents”, connecting Iran with terrorism in audiences’ minds.

2. Pro-immigration. Arrival functions partly as an allegory about western anxieties of demographic displacement. This subtext is made explicit when the viewer is treated to an excerpt of a blowhard conservative talk show host complaining about the alien presence. Lucky for Earth, the undocumented ones come bearing the gift of advanced parapsychological technology.

1. Globalist. Renner’s physicist feels – correctly, as it turns out – that the earth’s safety depends on his work with Adams rather than anything the military can do. It is sensitive, scholarly anti-racist academics to whom the world must look in order to understand immigrants’ needs and desires and the ways in which all beings’ interests are intertwined. The appropriately octopus-like Heptapods – reminiscent of the Twelve Tribes of Israel – visit the planet in twelve massive ships in order to gift humanity with their nonlinear, brain-reconfiguring language, a sort of intergalactic Esperanto through which a one-world order will be brought about. Something vague is said about how the Heptapods will collect on the debt in 3,000 years, at which point something akin to a horrible plague will develop. Screenwriter Eric Heisserer thereby seems to acknowledge that the “gift” of globalism will ultimately result in decay and death of the host, but seems to expect the viewer to feel that the joy of experiencing nation-erasing Jew World Order parasitism will somehow be worth the price.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

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