Lessons From Sci-Fi Movies or What I Learned on Vacation (On LV-426)

This is your obligatory spoiler alert.

There are certain movies that, when you come across them while flipping channels, you stop and watch them. I have quite a few on my list:
The Princess Bride1, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Blues Brothers, Jaws, Iron Man, Hellboy the list is actually pretty extensive. While comedies immediately sprang to mind just now, I would guess that the bulk of my “Oh this is on, I think I’ll just sit here and watch until the next scene, oops I watched the whole thing” movies come from the Sci-Fi genre.

In fact, I have
Aliens on in the background while I am working on this. I just finished watching…


Yesterday I was flipping between
The Matrix and JJ’s Star Trek3.

Naturally, my TV habits lead to some silly posts on the voluntary NSA site (
Facebook). After that I started to think about some of the things I’ve learned watching Science Fiction movies. In the spirit of sharing and intellectual and philosophical education, I thought I would put some of them here.

Alien series has a lot of really important life lessons.

  • In a curiosity killed the cat corollary, the curious scientist get the facehugger.
  • Not all hugs are happy.
  • In space, everyone but the cat dies (seriously, watch the first film).
  • The Biohazard and Quarantine protocols were created for a reason.
  • Every crew should carry some kind of fire arms (Alien).
  • Sometimes even the best weapons don’t matter (Aliens).4
  • If someone says “Please kill me,” do not hesitate to kill that person (Aliens).
  • Sometimes taking a sequel in a new direction is a good thing (Alien and Aliens).
  • Sometimes taking a sequel in a new direction sucks balls (every movie after Aliens).
  • The longer a series goes, the worse the movies become.
  • The greatest concept ever can turn in to a horrible movie in the wrong hands (all of the Alien vs Predator films).
  • The greater the anticipation, the greater the disappointment (see previous note).
  • You can never trust an android (Alien).
  • Except when you can trust an android (Aliens).
  • Sometimes the android just doesn’t matter (that one with Winona Ryder, you know, that one that sucked. No, not that one, the other one that sucked.)

Of course, there are plenty of truths that are so universal that they appear in many movies. Now keep in mind that just because I am mentioning the film in the following section does not mean that it is one that I will stop and watch if I find it on the tele.

One of these universal truths was already mentioned.

  • You can never trust an android (Alien, Terminator, Blade Runner, West World, The Day the Earth Stood Still6).
  • Computers can be just as bad as androids (Alien, Terminator, War Games, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Resident Evil, Tron, The Matrix).
  • What you should really be afraid of are evil corporations (Aliens, Resident Evil, Robocop, Terminator, Buckaroo Banzai, Blade Runner, Outland, Soylent Green).
  • Sometimes, not often, but every once and a while you can trust the androids, robots, and computers (Star Wars the whole franchise, Wall-E, Star Trek specifically the TNG crew, The Black Hole, Aliens).
  • The exploration of space can be amazing (Star Trek the whole franchise, Space Cowboys, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Right Stuff7).
  • Except when it’s not (2001: A Space Odyssey Star Trek the whole franchise, Alien, Aliens, Event Horizon, Black Hole).
  • It doesn’t matter if you are in space, on Earth wasted by war, or Earth just plain wasted, love will always survive (Star Wars: A New Hope8, The Matrix, Wall-E).

Honestly, I think that is a pretty damn good place to stop on this one.

I suspect that there is a What I Learned From Horror Movies post in my near future.

1 Part of this year’s birthday celebration will involve seeing
The Princess Bride at the Redford Theatre.

2 To be fair, I started watching right before Newt goes to sleep in Medlab.

3 Now I’m not saying that
Star Trek (2009) is on my must see list, but I was just in the mood to watch it. Well, I was in the mood to watch portions of it.

4 This is when you go back to the ship and nuke the whole installation from orbit.

5 It’s the only way to be sure.

6 Yes, this is a debatable one.

7 I know, I know. This one is not fiction but I
love this movie and this is my blog.

8 What do you mean
Jedi? Oh, I wasn’t talking about Han and Leia or Luke and his dad. Ew, no. I wasn’t talking about Luke and Leia either. They’re siblings you sicko. I was talking about R2D2 and C3PO).