One of my movie theme favorites is the idea of the space alien on Earth. This plot has been the vehicle for bringing all sorts of metaphor messages into our homes.
In the 1950’s the aliens were dangerous and insidious. They often crept into society and grew among us, waiting until they could take over. Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Blob are great examples. They symbolized the dangers of communism to the American dream.
In the 1980’s the aliens arrived either by accident or in search of new friends. In Starman, Jeff Bridges plays a space creature who takes on the appearance of a human after his ship is shot down by humans. He is kind, searching for a way to go home.
Steven Spielberg brought us E. T. the Extraterrestrial in 1982, creating a film phenomenon instantly. ET is cute and loveable. He befriends a young boy and must rely on his new friends to escape the probes of government agencies. The message here is of childlike acceptance of others who may be different.
More recent movies have swung back to the invading aliens, with movies like Independence Day and Signs. We seem to rally together when we have a common cause.
At this time of year, when we’re all looking for a little fright, include a fun alien flick in your queue. It’s a fun way to introduce kids to classics, and a great way to start a conversation about what those aliens might represent.