If An Alien Invasion Really Happened, We'd Be Dead Instantly

In movies humans fight off alien occupation forces, explode alien ships, and mind-control aliens with the power of love. How on earth can we think that would happen?

In Falling Skies, Noah Wyle is all set to fight off an alien invasion with the power of being a gosh darn nuisance. It's actually one of the more realistic takes on a way to stop occupation. What's unrealistic is the idea that occupation would occur in the first place. They'd just destroy us, and although it wouldn't be a fun ride, it would make for an interesting few hours of television. Instead, we have to watch good, old-fashioned earthling spunkiness take care of a vastly superior force.

One of the primary ways we stop an alien invasion in movies and television is by finding the alien's one big weakness. There's some hinting at that in Falling Skies. "These things can be hit," a gruff man with a gun says, "And they can be hit hard." They have a vulnerability. In Skyline — spoiler alert — it was true love. The problem with every such One Big Weakness is the audience starts picking apart why the key was that one weakness and no other.

In Signs it was water, but did it have to be fresh water? Wasn't it raining anywhere? Snow? And what about the water in the human body? Even though most of the body's water is suspended in cells, there's a lot of moisture left over. What happened to the aliens whose victims cried like a baby and wet themselves - as I most certainly would if I were being attacked by a clawed chameleon alien. Did those aliens die?

And what about the other people in Skyline? Did they not love anyone enough to take over their brain-eating alien hosts? The One Big Weakness is a tiny crack that is meant to end the movie happily but instead bursts it to pieces.

Sure, we're all happy to suspend our disbelief - with a crane if we have to - because laser fights and big alien ships are cool and we like to watch them. But any alien force so advanced that it can cross vast reaches of outer space would make short work of us. Remember, we're not just talking about technological advancement here. Space travel comes with a whole host of chemical, physical and biological challenges that have to be met.

How does this alien race combat bone loss, exposure to cosmic rays, cramped quarters on a ship, and perfectly recycling its waste while on board a space craft? If its technology allows it to shorten the voyage, how does it keep all outside contaminants out, and can it use that technology against us? If its tech forces it to take long voyages across space, how does it keep its immune system — and those of its offspring — going strong, and could it use that against us? An alien-invasion film might simply be a film in which every human on the planet dies within 24 hours, and just as the last person's eyes are closing in death - they see an alien ship land and an alien creature step out of it to plant a flag in the dirt. We may all be dead before we even know they're here.

When it comes to actual technology, we don't even have to consider. Independence Day is and shall remain an object of ridicule for saying that alien ships can be given a virus via a laptop, and that alien ships which can survive a nuclear attack can't put a shield on the one area of their ships vulnerable to a crop-duster. Any way you slice it, they have interstellar travel and we have iPads. There's not even a contest.

The biggest problem with most alien films is the assumption that they'd want anything that might keep us alive for even a second. There's a possiblity they'd want slaves, pack animals or meat, but what are the chances we'd be any good to them at all? Life is a light dust of carbon between an nitrogen-oxygen vapor and an iron core. Our biosphere would probably be a nuisance to them. It's hard to match complex biology. It's easy and profitable to harvest elements, though, and if they came across space, that very well might be what they were looking for. Perhaps the best, most realistic, movie that could be made about alien contact is the two hellish hours a small band of survivors of the initial strike would last as they saw the planet ripped apart and broken down under them.

The point is, if they don't want us alive, we won't be. We can fight and we can hack and we can find weaknesses and we can band together. We can do whatever we'd like. We'd still all be killed.


Comments

    Hear, hear!

    I suppose it should be: "Read, read!"

    I concur.

    The only possibility of us surviving is if they believe that keeping us alive would be better than killing us.
    Sort of like Greece, and Rome/etc with allying with others, and charging taxes for protection.

    Perhaps the alien race does not produce offsprings as fast as we do, so the idea of a new 6-7 billion in slaves who will do all the work for them in terms of collecting resources; perhaps even helping to send troops to fight wars for them/etc might be a better idea then simply eliminating the planet of all inhabitants.

      Not likely, if they were that intelligent they would either be able to use Machines to do that sort of work or they'd genetically engineer us so that we are more biddable. Besides if the aliens were space faring wouldn't they just bombard a planet from orbit?

    Battlefield Earth. They wiped us out in a day. Took 1000s of years for us to win it back. L Ron was a visionary :P

      Please, please tell me you're being sarcastic.

      Oh god please.

    Orbital Bombardment with lethal radiation. Planet would be dead in minutes if they wanted to. Chances are most aliens are not hostile at all I believe.

    I couldn't see why they would invade anyway. What could they gain, that they couldn't other wise find else where. The problem is; as much as we may not seem a threat, we hold some powerful weapons of our own. So with thats being said what would you gain? well, they could mine other planets easier and probably with out a problem. So then it must be the slaves? If they have weapons, that are that powerful to take earth in a couple hours, life must be common as they can afford to spare some resources to take a worthless world. So why cant they take a different world, where the inhabitance don't start wars every day with them selves.

    So what does this ad up to?
    It ads up to the fact that earth is a pointless waste or resources considering, if they perceive us as a threat later on. We probably will blow our selfs up before that anyway.

    Short answer: They wouldn't bother on us

    Love saved the day in skyline? The hell are you talkin about. The main dude got infected by the light and he built a kinda of resistance to it, he bonded with it, it's why he remained himself when they put his brain the husk. duh.

    Well duh. Frankly if an alien species is advanced enough to come to Earth (presumably via spacecraft), they'd also have technology to likely obliterate our race without having to set a foot on the planet surface.

    Hell, the US military takes that approach when going to war these days. Why send in ground troops when you have enough planes/drones to blot out the sun?

    "alien ships which can survive a nuclear attack can’t put a shield on the one area of their ships vulnerable to a crop-duster."

    To be a little fairer, that one vulnerable area was also their biggest weapon, in a state of commencing attack.

    It's the same reason why a bunch of ragtag misfits can survive a zombie invasion while a fully trained army with full defences can get slaughtered.

    It's the belief that the individual can overcome anything no matter how big or difficult the obstacle seems. You can call it 'universal values', or perhaps just the "American Dream".

    In that case, no movie so nihilistic (although realistic) will ever get approved by a blockbuster studio and will be forever swept under the rugs by both the critics and the general audience.

    It all depends on how technically advanced they are or how good at combat they are, for all we know they could be a race that has no idea what violence is.
    i think when people talk about aliens they always assume humans are a horribly inferior race and can be crushed in an instant but we will never know until/if we make contact.

    I find it interesting some of the most irreverent and satyrical alien invasion/zombie apocalypse movies are the most consistent.
    I'm thinking of Shaun of the Dead and Mars Attacks, specifically.
    In Mars Attacks, the reason they didn't wipe us out immediately was because they were cruel bastards who enjoyed screwing with us and their weakness wasn't discovered earlier because the grandma was the only one still listening to the right song.
    In Shaun of the Dead, the army came along to wipe out the zombies and the rest were put into service positions and game shows.
    Sounds about right.

    As always if you want to read a quality and logical alien invasion story you need to screw the movies and go to the books. Greg Bear (writer of the upcoming Halo novel) writes a fantastic series, Anvil of Stars was the last book that answers all the questions above. Basically when the aliens come, we're screwed, unless there exists another alien race thats taking the time to try and protect inteligent life from the bad aliens that want to pre-emptively eliminate any possibly threats to themselves.

    Or better yet go back to the source and read your HG Wells. Alien invasion stories that made way more sense than garbage like Skyline and ID4.

    "Independence Day is and shall remain an object of ridicule for saying that alien ships can be given a virus via a laptop"

    This complaint always annoys me. Was I the only one who noticed they had an alien ship for the last 50 years? THAT'S how they developed the virus. They didn't just upload a virus they downloaded off the pirate bay.

    (Whether they could actually reverse-engineer an alien OS in those 50 years is obviously dubious, but that's beside the point)

    "Perhaps the best, most realistic, movie that could be made about alien contact is the two hellish hours a small band of survivors of the initial strike would last as they saw the planet ripped apart and broken down under them."

    That would be interesting to see. Thoroughly depressing, but interesting.

    If there are thousands of earth-like planets in the galaxy and since we're in the backwater outskirts of it, why would be be special enough to warrant any attention from advanced space-faring aliens? There are probably huge terra-like planets with more space, more resources and even more suitable climates than ours that would appeal to them more than Earth. How about a movie about aliens who settle on Mars or Venus and become our neighbours. And it's be like the whole "Howdy neighbour! We're new to the solar neighbourhood and just thought we'd teleport by and introduce ourselves!" suburban thing... "Dear, look who dropped by? If it isn't our favorite Martians/Venusians/Saturnites!"

    If we someday start to colonize other planets and expand into space moving all over the galaxy, building space fleets and even military style space cruisers ( Think Enders Game ) Where 50 years after an invasion we had advanced immensely in space tech we even had iron cannons and bio chain-linking mega weapons!!!

    This really could be part of our future. The interesting part to it is that if aliens miss this chance to take out before we step out of the restriction of our planet..
    "We" maybe the "Alien" race invading other planets and taking THEM OUT! ( Think Avatar )

    Give the human race enough time and we will either overpopulate and perish or spread out to other planets and even try to terraform marz with CO2 heating up the planet melting the water and growing forests.

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