Sunday, September 5, 2010

September Q & A: The Fourth Kind, Aliens, and Alaska

It is now time to kick off the September Q & A with a question from my cousin April, who writes, “I would like to know if you have seen 4th Kind and what your thoughts are. Where do you stand on aliens and Nome, Alaska?”

Glad you asked, April. I can’t comment specifically on The Fourth Kind, as I managed to avoid seeing it when it came out in theaters and then soon came out on DVD. This was due less to an oversight on my part (which does happen, there are quite a few movies that come out each year), and more due to how pretty much every critic I trust tore the film apart, and then a couple of my friends also went to see it and completely hated it, and the premise sounded pretty goddamn stupid too. Sorry, but while I did love the Blair Witch Project, there hasn’t exactly been a shortage of downright crummy movies imitating it in the decade+ since its release, and I didn’t really have any eagerness to watch yet another one that just swapped out the witch for some aliens.

Which brings us to the second part, and my thoughts on aliens. I have to say, the universe is a vast, virtually limitless place, and I do find it very unlikely that in all of that, we are the only planet with any life on it. So yes, I absolutely believe that somewhere out there is some form of alien life, though what it would look like, how it would act, and how intelligent it would be are all well beyond my pay grade. In regards to the unspoken connecting question, do I think that aliens have already visited us, in such a way as to inspire so many terrible movies, no, I absolutely do not.

The issue I have (well, one issue out of a great many) with these tales of alien encounters and abductions is that they all seem to take something that one would think would be the most world-changing event since the discovery of fire -- contact with, not just alien life, but an outright advanced alien civilization -- and makes it thoroughly mundane. Think about it: we would be talking about a race so far ahead of us technologically that they had figured out how to travel several times faster than light just to travel to our world so that they can kidnap Billy Bob and give him an anal probe. Or, apparently in the case of the Fourth Kind, make everyone wake up to owls watching them. Scary.

Now, it should be noted that Nome, Alaska has no real connection to anything alien related beyond the film The Fourth Kind, which is a completely fictional story inspired by how about 20 people have disappeared in the area since the 1960s (yes, story inspirations are often several degrees of magnitude less exciting than the end product intends to be), so since I know very little about Nome specifically, let’s get to talking about Alaska as a general concept. Like most people in this country, I remember Alaska exists mainly whenever Sarah Palin or Levi Johnston is in the news for some new horror (side note: apparently Johnston is prepping himself for a run for mayor of Wasilla; I can only hope he succeeds, just to show exactly what kind of qualifications are needed for the job). I’m sure the state has its good points, for much like the universe, there has to be something of merit in such a large place. Sadly, I doubt I’ll ever find out, for while I’ve been traveling a lot more over the past year or so, there’s quite enough other states and countries that I’d prefer to explore first. Like Russia, for instance, which I hear has a lovely view of Alaska.

1 comment:

April said...

Thank you for your response. I will say for the record I LOVED 4th kind but I also liked Blair Witch (although I saw a slightly different version through Sarah and Donnie AND I saw it before there was any press done on it)

Normans biggest fear is being awaken at night by an alien. Think I should prank him?