Let’s say you bumped into someone from another world, other than trying to comprehend why you among seven billion others have been chosen for first contact how would you try to communicate what makes humanity special? In the past we have sent golden records into the depths of space (ignoring the fact that decades on most people on earth wouldn’t have the technology to play the metallic album) laden with the cream of culture.
With so much choice how could you narrow down some form of media to convince your new AFF (Alien Friend Forever) that we are worth spending time with. You are humanity’s Metacritic/Yelp/Zagat and you have to pick a movie or book or song to let them understand your species.
Which neatly brings me to Gravity.
Space is huge, it is so incredibly vast and unending that to take in it’s full size will eat you up and destroy you. In the vast cosmic scale individually we are insignificant and have as much impact as a fleck of dust on the surface of Pluto does to your daily life. Despite this you are important, you matter to those around you and you have a vested interest in your own fleeting existence.
I have always been interested that as we have discovered more about our real size in the universe we have walked away from the belief systems of religion that helped place us at the centre of it all. The more we needed God to help cope with impact of being small an unimportant the more we have turned to the nihilism of the emptiness of space. We have been cast adrift and abandoned.
It may be set in space but this is not a sci-fi movie. It is a film about people, about a person and what it feels like to not know how to react. It places events on the screen that is down to the viewer to interpret. I watch it as a success of the human condition and the drive to endure, whereas another may view it as the spiritual rewards of giving yourself over to faith. It is one of those movies that transcends genre billings and utterly rewrites what a film can be.
It neatly reflects another potential movie for Alien Date Night, Pacific Rim. Whereas that was a riot of joy and fun showing what happens when we all come together against adversity Gravity is all about battling monsters on your own in a tight and absorbing manner.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Worldly Encounters.”
The friendly, English-speaking extraterrestrial you run into outside your house is asking you to recommend the one book, movie, or song that explains what humans are all about. What do you pick?