Then it (he?) got up, ignored the crowd of bipeds who were firing at it until minutes ago, strolled into the sea and vanished. It has to lie low until the next alien menace visits earth, so that it can save us again. (I wonder what it eats. Must be seaweed.) The spectators – military, civilians and movie-goers – suddenly realise that this monster is their friend (though they were trying to nuke it) and watch it go, a grateful smile on their lips.
Clap, clap, clap.
But what is this obsession with giant monsters destroying cities or aliens killing humans or the apocalypse?
Why do we enjoy watching the planet getting devastated and then some clever dude coming up with a plan to stop it with a single brave, brilliant, reckless act? And of finally saving Earth and its people?
For one thing (perhaps the most important), it’s the effects. When Jurassic Park was released, I watched it in the big screen. The effects (sound, visual, everything – remember the glass of water vibrating when the T-Rex approaches?) were worth dying for. But that was years ago, and for us it was the first of its kind.
By now all possible kinds of creatures have grown larger than life and have attacked us. Also we have been visited by aliens of all shapes and types. They have destroyed all cities in America. (We are safe: like normal homo sapiens, they prefer America too. Which explains why the beasts that fought Godzilla went straight to SFO from Japan.)
And when climactic changes (caused by man) bring about the end of the world, it would happen in the next thirty minutes.
Anything from outer space comes only to destroy us and steal our world.
Why are we attracted to those films, to the very idea? End of the world – does that sound enticing??
It’s the fear, I am thinking. We have no clue what we would do in case beasts or aliens of this magnitude do appear. Or if the end of the world is in sight.
It’s an acknowledgement of our vulnerability – we’re just hanging there in the edge of space, a tiny blue speck at the mercy of the entire Universe, exposed to anyone who might have any designs on us.
It’s our optimistic hallucination that humanity will unite and rise and hold hands to defeat these beasts. That nature will forgive us for our errors and let us live in harmony again. (That we will have learnt a lesson and will live in harmony at all.)
It’s our fondness for happy endings, to see Earth intact and chasing the sun again.
It’s our penchant for hero-worship, to see the President of the US fighting aliens in a fighter plane or a marine protecting the land by taking away the nuclear bomb even at the risk of his own life or a scientist who loves the Earth letting nature have its way.
That which terrifies us, excites us. Stimulates us. And then, bores us to death.