You know how in the blockbuster Steven Spielberg movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind Richard Dreyfuss joyfully makes contact with aliens who arrive on earth, even agreeing to go with them on their spaceship? Well, super scientist Stephen Hawking says humans should stay home.
Image: 20th Century Fox
Times Online reports that Hawking, in his new Discovery Channel documentary, Into the Universe says, though he believes there are definitely other life forms in the universe, humans should think twice about contacting them:
If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet.
Hawking goes on to say that intelligent alien life that could travel would most likely be nomads who wouldn't so much want to shake our hands as exploit our planet for its natural riches and move on. If we got in the way of that, we'd be, shall we say, eradicated or enslaved.
With all due respect to Mr. Hawking, who didn't know that!? All you need to do is go to the movies to understand that aliens mean us no good.
As my fellow contributing editor, Nordette, wrote on her blog:
Hawking leans more toward our first contact being like the movie Independence Day or ABC's resurrection of V and its sinister aliens who want something from us we can't afford to give. Maybe they have that cookbook from the Twilight Zone, To Serve Man.
So here, in no particular order, are 10 films that prove Mr. Hawking knows exactly what he's talking about:
Independence Day (1996) -- Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum: The ultimate alien-invasion movie on steroids. These particular little green men, in very big spaceships, don't even pretend to want to be friendly before they start blowing up the White House and every other Earth landmark they can find. t's ridiculously long and most of the characters are a waste of time, but Will Smith is funny and the effects are very good.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) -- Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter: The original in glorious, creeeeeeeepy black and white. These giant pea pods show up on a farm outside a small town in California. Then the pods develop into emotionless human-like bodies, and when people go to sleep, the pod bodies take over. Good stuff.
War of the Worlds (1953) -- Gene Barry, Ann Robinson: Kind of like in Independence Day, the aliens, Martians this time, come in big, glitzy ships. The earthlings know they're in for a battle as soon as the Martians zap the priest who approaches their ship trying to make nice. You should have known better, Padre.
Signs (2002) -- Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix: This movie proves that crop circles really are evil! The aliens were using them like some kind of landing strip -- and the next thing you know, poor mild-mannered Mel and his family are barricaded in their farmhouse waiting for the aliens to come and get them. And they do.
The Thing (1982) -- Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley: Kurt Russell and a bunch of scientists are stuck in frigid Antarctica doing mankind-saving experiments when The Thing shows. It starts killing scientists left and right and confusing the survivors by being able to resemble anyone it's killed. This one's directed by fright-master John Carpenter, and it's a rockin' good time.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) -- Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal: The alien in this one isn't so much of a threat as he is the bearer of a threatening message. Klaatu and his robot Gort tell Earth that if humans don't give up their aggressive ways, Gort and his fellow robots will destroy them. That's because space aliens have become worried about Earth's development of atomic power. Do you sense a Cold War message? I know I sure do.
The Blob (1958) -- Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut: Yup, that's the Steve McQueen making his film debut in this thriller -- and I use that word very loosely -- about an alien from outer space. This alien is exactly what it sounds like. It's a blob. A big blob. An alien blob. It blobs around, oozing its blobbiness all over town, attacking unsuspecting townsfolk. It's a blob.
It Came From Outer Space (1953) -- Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush: That's right, it came from outer space and started taking over the townsfolk. Sound familiar? Most aliens, it seems, have a pretty standard playbook: mundane, yet effective.
Predator (1987) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers: Here's the California Governator at his best. The alien, which looks like a large, upside-down mop with vines growing on it, is terrorizing the jungles of Central America. Ahhhh-nald is part of a team of commandos fighting terrorists, but they end up fighting the predator as well. The coolest thing about the alien? It can camouflage itself against the greenery of the jungle, totally invisible, until ready to strike.
Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) -- Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon: Often referred to as "the worst movie ever made," this movie nonetheless exposes space aliens' true motives. Two aliens decide they're going to resurrect dead humans and use the zombies to conquer the rest of earth. Though they're not too good at it, mayhem ensues. By the way, this movie was directed by the man often referred to as "the worst director ever," whack-a-doodle Ed Wood, Jr. (If you want to see a really funny, funny movie, see Ed Wood, starring Johnny Depp.)
If you'd thought all aliens were benevolently strolling along a cosmic beach, like Jodie Foster's father in Contact, or cute in an ugly kind of way like little E.T., these movies should convince you to think again. As Maggie Koerth-Baker at Boing Boing interprets Hawking's message: "For the love of god, everybody just stay quiet. If we're lucky, they won't notice we're here."
Into the Universe airs Sundays at 9pm on the Discovery Channel.
Just in case these warnings aren't enough, here's a little taste of the original 1938 "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast that was so authentic sounding, there was a public panic.
Marc Bernadin at io9 notes that Stephen Hawking Admits That Aliens Will Probably F**k Us Up
At Clone Movie, the Movie Blog writes about all the friendly aliens in movies.
Jane Genova, Speechwriter-Ghostwriter speculates what reporters should do if aliens arrive.
Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television/Online Video. Her other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock and Meg's Rad Review.
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