Physicist Stephen Hawking has often stated his fear that contacting an alien race could lead to the end of human civilization. Not all alien invasions are created equal. There are plenty of alien invasions that were very bad ideas. Mr. Hawkins can rest assured we’ll be ok if the aliens are as dumb as these examples:
Here’s a foolproof plan for you: invade a planet that is 70 percent water, a substance that your species is violently allergic to. A watertight idea, you might say. And if a part of your plan is to harvest humans, well you’re scarpered there too, because they’re also 50-65 percent made up of this terrible substance that strips away your skin like acid. Oh, and don’t forget your umbrellas and galoshes, because those rainy days can be killer. Wait, I forgot… you don’t wear any clothes at all, which might provide a smidge of protection against this deadly combination of hydrogen and oxygen. You might want to get on that, considering hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the universe, with oxygen running a third place.
As deadly 15-mile wide spaceships lay waste to the cities of the world in a glorious crescendo of disaster porn, cable technician cum scientist Jeff Goldblum sketches out some simplistic pap about the Earth blocking the alien’s communication with their vessels around the world, thereby requiring said aliens to hi-jack Earthling satellites to communicate, thereby allowing Goldblum to access their signal and upload a computer virus into a completely foreign computer system, thereby forcing their shields to drop so we can attack the city-sized ships with our puny jet fighters. Since it’s revealed they’ve done this same procedure to many other planets, it seems logical that the aliens would have solved this line-of-sight communication problem by now.
At the time, computer virii were a fairly new phenomenon in the public consciousness, an electronic boogeyman that could download your personal information, empty your bank account, gain access to the government’s top secret files or, sure, disable an alien mothership’s defensive capabilities. Makes sense.
The War of the Worlds
The opening narration to George Pal’s 1953 version of The War of the Worlds intones that human affairs are being watched “…keenly and closely, by intelligence greater than Man’s.” Yet, with all their magnetic shielding that protects their war machines from even the atomic bomb, and their own wielding of immense atomic power that can disintegrate armies, it seems that the possibility of bacteria residing in our atmosphere being lethal to them kinda slipped past their scrutiny. Good thing for us they were too busy building city-destroying war machines to whip up some air filters. Whew, close one!
Steven Spielberg’s 2005 version takes a few more cues from the H.G. Welles novel, but it’s also still stuck with the same ending that raises the same exasperated question: why didn’t the aliens know? Did they bury their war machines in the Earth (without them being detected, mind you) for a million years, and didn’t figure for the microbes that might develop over that time? Whoopsie! The movie alludes to the idea that this might be because germs are REALLY small; a raindrop is positively teeming with them. Sorry guys, it just doesn’t wash.
Sure, basing a 131-minute movie on a board game is a bad idea, but another problem is the idea of having the aliens in your movie try to invade a planet that orbits a sun to which they experience light sensitivity. They do have tinted helmets and windows to mitigate this but, really… there’s got to be easier pickings in the galaxy than a world bathed in a type of light you can’t stand.
This is similar to the weakness of the aliens in Invasion of the Saucer Men, who decided to start their invasion in America, land of the automobile when exposure to car headlights causes them to explode.
You’d think that the leaders of an alien race that overpowered the Earth “within minutes” and have since dominated humans for 1,000 years, would have the wherewithal to not hatch a scheme that involves giving the conquered Earthlings carte-blanche access to the vast knowledge of a learning machine. And while you would understandably think that Earthling military machines wouldn’t still be operable after 1,000 years, you’d probably still want to take the time to find and destroy any secret bases containing them. And you’d probably think that, since the volatile atmosphere of your homeworld could be wiped out with a single nuclear blast, you might want to keep the nukes and the teleportation device link from Earth to back home separate. If you think those things, well, you’re smarter than the Psychlos!
Independence Day: Resurgence brings the invading aliens from the first film back for a grudge match. Hopefully, they won’t have added an anti-virus program to their computer system in the last ten years.