06 Apr 2011 8:48 pm

It’s probably a bad idea to read too deeply into the strange synchronicitys of media releases, but given the unsettled nature of the times we’re living in (what with the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear difficulties; and all the continued political instability in the Middle East), it does seem kind of strange that we’re seeing (or have recently seen) not one, but FOUR major media releases about alien invasion.

The first would have been Skyline, which was utterly forgettable. Even the CG aliens and mecha were… kinda bland. It didn’t help that it had a ridiculously disjointed plot and relatively unlikeable main characters. The best thing that could be said about it is that portrays something seldom seen in alien invasion movies — the utter demoralization of Earth’s defenders, without the usual cinematic pablum of a heroic rallying to destroy and push out the aggressors.

Battle: LA is then the logical follow-up for Skyline (not surprising, considering that the same visual FX went into both movies, an issue that could have led to Sony suing the directors of Skyline for basically being hired to work in Battle: LA’s FX, only to use those same effects in a movie released four months earlier). This one is a more traditional alien-invasion scenario (in the vein of ID4) coupled with a thinly-veiled US Marines recruitment advertisment. As expected, the good guys win, the bad guys retreat, things go boom.

If it had been left at this, I’d chalk it up to the Deep Impact / Armageddon effect, except for the presence of Falling Skies.

It’ll be interesting to see a longer-format alien-invasion series, as that should allow for a larger exploration of many of the issues that arise from the ongoing occupation of the planet and the depredation of the human species by a vastly technologically superior foe. Plus, Noah Wylie does make for a charismatically earnest leading man, and my love for disaster porn means that I’ll make some effort to follow the show as it goes on.

What really made me question this overall invasion zeitgeist was wandering into the Inversion website, which seems to be a video game whose core mechanic is basically the Half-Life 2 Gravity Gun, writ large and first used by aliens on an unsuspecting Earth.

So, is there something going on? And I’m not talking conspiracy-theory-crazy here; just that the overall mood of the entertainment-seeking audience seems to be be keyed to watching humanity get decimated by unfathomable forces from beyond this world. That’s kind of disheartening, on the whole. Hopefully we’ll see a reversal of this trend when someone announces a My Little Ponies – Friendship is Magic movie or something.

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