Your Weekend Creature Comforts: Steven Spielberg’s Aliens
The week has gone by all too quickly again, and here you find yourselves ready for yet another post by your faithful Lilith. And sure enough, this weekend’s creature comforts post is one to get all hot and bothered by. I know I’ve been on a Star Wars kick lately, specifically spending a lot of time on Tatooine, but today I am completely shifting gears and bringing you an article on quite an accumulation of amazing creatures. That’s right, I am not sticking with one species, but instead am spotlighting all the incredible aliens that the dinosaur god Steven Spielberg has ever created. So there will be quite a few aliens to talk about this week, ending with my personal favorite of this powerhouse’s monsters.
After watching some of Spielberg’s most recent box office hits it can be difficult to travel back in time to some of his earliest films, but for this post we will have to grin and bear the lacking special effects for a bit. And seeing that his first alien film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, was made in 1977 we could have figured out then that Spielberg was in for a lifetime of trying to bring these amazing creatures to the big screen. This first alien flick by the man focuses on the UFO aspect more than the actual creature aspect, but the final scenes of the movie bring us face to face with what young Steven thought of as an alien: your classic dome-shaped head, big black eyes, and green body. You might find it interesting that these little monsters were actually played by local young girls in costumes since puppets frankly sucked and Spielberg thought young girls would be more graceful then little boys (I will refrain from writing something inappropriate here, but you know you were all thinking it as well). I think Spielberg has stayed true to his initial version of the creature when it comes to the eyes, but otherwise we can be glad that Spielberg has expanded his imagination quite a bit since this first alien flick of his.
And next we have probably the most famous of all Spielberg’s alien movies: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Despite ET also having an enormous head and eyes, Spielberg claims that ET was actually a plant like creature, which might explain his predilection for healing dead fauna as well as for why the crew of aliens on earth are acting as botanists collecting plant samples from Earth. But why Spielberg made ET so squat and poorly mobile we will never know. I am also glad that Steven’s taste has evolved significantly since this film.
Spielberg then took a two-decade break from aliens until 1997’s Men In Black, and I think he tried to make up for it by making a film like MIB where he could compress a ton of alien species in to one movie. The movie is riddled with aliens, but I think the main antagonist “The Bug” is probably the most insightful in to where Spielberg’s aliens are headed. He also had to make a little shout out to his favorite original type of aliens by creating the Arquillian hidden inside of a human. And Spielberg came back for MIB 2 as well. Though not as creative as the first movie, it is packed with another huge litany of alien creatures, my favorite being the crew in disguise in the post office where retired Agent K works, keeping tabs on him.
Now War of the Worlds is a more recent film that Spielberg really went dark with his aliens. These monsters are out for human blood, literally. And while the monsters with their agile, multi-limbed bodies, huge heads and glowing eyes are terrifying; I have to say my favorite part of the movie is actually seeing how people turn monster in this post-apocalyptic scenario. However the aliens, and the huge walking spacecrafts that obliterate people in one laser beam, are sufficiently terrifying.
And in 2008 Spielberg decided to reboot Indiana Jones with the sadly disappointing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie. It was quite a dud compared to the original three, but Spielberg couldn’t help himself and had to put some aliens in it. These aliens hail back to those of the Close Encounters type with the oval, sloping heads and round, piercing eyes. Normally I would say that adding aliens to anything can only make it better, but I have to say that statement does not work for this film.
Then in 2011 Steven went a little nuts with his aliens. First there was Super 8, a movie about children coming of age that just happens to take place when a misunderstood alien is wreaking havoc on a small town in the Midwest. Of course Spielberg wants you to sympathize with the alien in this film, but there is one scene that still scares the bejeezuses out of me every time. It is subtle, but basically when our main character, a young boy, makes it to the alien’s underground lair to rescue his girlfriend he spies the alien maneuvering about and while the creature is working on some sort of technology, he non-chalantly reaches over to grab a snack which just happens to be a human leg.
Also in the summer of 2011 was Cowboys and Aliens, an old Western where a group of aliens is pillaging a local town for it’s gold. These aliens are much more reptilian than most of Spielberg’s creations, and are quite violent and ruthless. While the aliens were not my favorite part of this film, I certainly enjoyed it, mostly because it paired up two of my favorite actors of all time: Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.
Lastly we come to one of Spielberg’s current works in progress, which happens to feature my favorite alien creation from the man. Falling Skies is currently still playing, and I am totally addicted. This is another post-apocalyptic scenario show that Spielberg produces. It features many alien species, including espheni, skitter, mechs, and the one good species the Volm. Some of the evil aliens trying to conquer the world use contraptions called harnessed that implant in to the spine and brain of human children, making them mindless slaves. But it is the 6 legged skitters that are my all time favorite alien species of the show, and possibly of all time. These bug like monsters are intelligent, strong, and incredibly agile on their 6 legs. The kicker about this species? They were once harnessed too. In the first season our favorite female doctor role dissects a dead skitter only to find a harness embedded deep under the animal’s back, making it obvious that they were once an enslaved race from another planet as well. And the group of rebel skitters that joins our team in the second season is just phenomenal. I absolutely adore these aliens, both the ones on the good guy’s team and the bad’s.
Well that concludes another weekend creature comforts with hopefully enough alien species discussion to keep your appetite satiated until next weekend, see you then geeks!
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Posted on July 19, 2014, in Creature Comforts, The Weekly Skitter Report and tagged Aliens, creature comforts, E.T., Falling Skies, Men in Black, monsters, Movies, Steven Spielberg, your weekend creature comforts. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.