It was bound to happen. A Sci Fi film is being produced presenting humans as the evil, alien aggressors invading a peace loving alien planet, the allegory, according to the producers, being a comment upon the "imperialism" of the United States. Innocent aliens being killed by evil, imperialist space faring humans and it appears to be all George Bush's fault... again.
Science Fiction has used the alien invasion over and over for decades supposedly as an allegorical statement about the human condition contemporary to the production of a given film. In "Independence Day" the aliens are here to destroy us. This film was ridiculously criticized as nothing but "American jingoism" with Americans imagining themselves the saviors of the world because, with the USSR fallen, Americans were the only remaining superpower. Conversely, in the classic 1951 film "The Day The Earth Stood Still", a friendly alien visitor to Earth is shot down by the evil military and it is we, rather than the aliens, who are the bad guys. This film was supposedly about the Cold War but at least we humans were characterized as simply fearful in the 50s classic. Perhaps that benefit of the doubt for humanity is now gone as far as this new cartoon is concerned?
USA Today reports on "Terra", a new cartoon with voice work from the likes of Danny Glover (no selling point for the film there!), Dennis Quaid, Ron Perlman, Luke Wilson, Amanda Peet, Rosanna Arquette and James Garner.
In the animated Terra, residents of a peaceful country village look up into the night sky and notice a peculiar star pattern. What could it mean? ... The worst comes true: The object is an alien ship, planning to launch an attack and claim the pastoral world and its abundant resources for a race of extraterrestrials who have destroyed their home world with war, greed and pollution.
Seems like a normal Sci Fi offering thus far. But "there's a twist" we are told.
It's a familiar tale, but there's a twist: The invaders are human, and the townsfolk are the salamander-like, peaceful victims who must rise up against the monsters.
USA Today goes on to quote the producer, Keith Calder, who claims that the film isn't "anti-human" yet the paper goes on to describe how humanity is presented as uncaring and "imperialist" in the film.
In the tradition of sci-fi invasion tales, Terra is loaded with allegories about imperialism. "It touches on a lot of current issues and shows a sense of responsibility for actions," Calder says.
Not anti-human? That rings a bit hollow when another interview of producer Calder describes the humans of the film "Terra" as being unconcerned over the fate of the alien race on the planet they are invading for its natural resources.
..."the humans have a sinister plan," says producer Keith Calder. "But they don't know there is intelligent life there, because they view the local creatures as animals."
The humans don't know these aliens are intelligent? Do, you expect me to believe that a humanity that is advanced enough to fly through space to another planet is incapable of being smart enough to realize that a creature that makes clothing for itself is not just an "animal"? (see accompanying image of "Terra's" aliens) For humans intelligent enough to make space ships, they sure are presented as stupid in THIS film!
No, I can't really say they are presented as stupid. They are presented as evil. There is a difference.
Seems a tad anti-human to me.
It is painfully obvious that what we have here is but a thinly veiled attack on the United States masquerading as entertainment. That this is less entertainment and more political commentary on the supposed evils of our great nation seems woefully obvious.
I must admit that I have not seen the film as it has not been finished, but this advanced publicity is NOT a good sign that it will be much more than what I see thus far. Naturally, I could be wrong, but somehow, I don't imagine I will be too far off the mark. If you want my guess, I'd say the hero is either a kid that is smarter than all the adults, or a female scientist who is more "caring" than all the rest (or both) either of whom will naturally be on the side of the poor, benighted alien salamanders. Of course, the evil corporate meanies in charge of the space ship will brush the concerned heroes aside and employ dumbed down, evil military thugs to kill all the magical aliens. It will proceed in formulaic fashion from there until the heroes convince all the meanies that the poor salamanders deserve to be treated as people too.
The film has not been picked up by a distributor as of yet and here's hoping it won't. But, as anti-American as Hollywood usually is, it's a good bet they will find a distributor easily enough.
For me only one question remains: will they invite the Dixie Chicks to provide the sound track?