Further to “HAL, we hardly knew ya” (and now yer facin’ big time in the slam?), at PJ Media, Walter Hudson expounds The Gospel from Planet X.
Hudson argues that the aliens ignite the imagination because they provide a moral (often moralistic) commentary on society, usually a leftist progressive one. And delivered, as it were, from beyond the stars. Therefore less open to this-worldly critique. Especially when it is accompanied by the announcement that the alien prophet can/will blast us to smithereens:
All of these films neglect to acknowledge our true human nature, and build their cynical case against humanity upon that flawed foundation. We do not mindlessly consume like locusts, or flaunt intelligence or technology as license to destroy our environment. Such notions take form only as strawmen, windmills for the quixotic Left to tilt at.
It would be fascinating if a storyteller came along to craft a new kind of alien tale, one where the truth of human nature was affirmed. Certainly, we’ve had our fill of aliens preaching against our rampant consumerism and crimes against the environment.
Realistically, those stories won’t often come from the current film industry.
As to the question of why typical viewers seldom notice, let alone critique, the routine anti-human nature perspective of such films: They tend to accept that perspective as a condemnation of others, not of themselves. The Gospel from Planet X calls for no sacrificial personal change, after all, but it does create an opportunity to assign blame elsewhere—to government, to churches, to whoever. So it feels comfortable to the viewer.
Otherwise, we would just be seeing different films.
Note: An interesting reflection on HAL’s psychology that may help discussion of his culpability in murder. He certainly thinks he can run things better than humans.