Watched Edge of Tomorrow the other night and it was…interesting (it also sparked space-time-continuum debates which always seem to happen at 11:30 pm). But the biggest thing I noticed?
I’m a little bit sick of the ambiguous big amorphous spaghetti-legged creature from outer space. (I’m looking at you Arrival and just about every other movie involving aliens in the last *checks notes* you know what, since forever. War of the Worlds is guilty too.)
I’m not scared, I’m not thrilled, I’m not concerened for the fate of humanity, I’m not interested, and I’m bored.
I would rather see aliens like in Men in Black, Star Wars, Star Trek, or anything else where the aliens are actually a “character”. Not just the big thing that is going to eat humanity (or wants to talk to humanity and share it’s fortune telling powers which turned out to be equally boring). I need more this:
Now, there is a place for the giant “scary” alien (I’m thinking Alien and A Quiet Place, neither of which I have seen, though when I saw the trailer for A Quiet Place II I was just like “oh look, another spaghetti legged monster running through a throng of screaming people. Woop woop.”)
Basically here’s what I’m getting at: Explosions, big giant things, saliva dripping from fangs as big as a house, more explosions, buildings falling over, do not create tension.
You know, one of the best scenes in the MCU is when Tony’s house blows up in Iron Man III. And yes, yes, there are tons of explosions. But you know what? It’s literally one house. One building. That’s it. And there’s only three people in the house. It is a “small” event, but packed a wallop.
And there are times when the big something can be “a big something” and have a – ahem -“big” impact on the story. But the bigness/destruction of the things can’t be the only thing that’s causing tension.
That’s how I felt all the way through Edge of Tomorrow. Oh here are the big aliens. Oh look, there’s an even BIGGER alien, the Omega (which…should have not been called that. The omega is the weakest member of the pack) . Oh, and they’re going to eat humanity. Too bad.
There has to be emotional tension. And of course, the Golden Rule: don’t show the monster for as long as possible (aka, Jurassic Park, Shelob in the Return of the King, etc).
So just please and thank you, no more spaghetti space monsters.
(Disclaimer: I TOTALLY want to write a book called Giant Sea Monsters in Space one of these days, so I might be just contradicting myself here. But I want it to be FUN and PUNK. Like crazy Guardians of the Galaxy/Men in Black style stuff) (Not that I have any actual ideas for the story. Just vibes.) (But you know what, vibes are important. I don’t start writing something unless I got the vibe for it.) (It’s like an aesthetic, but instead of visual it’s just a gut feeling.)