I’m just going to come right out and say it. Aliens are overrated. We, as Earthlings, give them entirely too much credit. “Supreme Beings”, we call them, without irony. The moniker “extra-terrestrial” basically translates to “superlatively human”. I’m not buying that. I don’t think aliens, generally speaking, are any better or any smarter than everyone here on the third rock from the Sun. Take for example, the creatures from Signs, who launched a full-scale invasion on a planet comprised almost entirely of water-their biggest and only weakness-like Superman trying to win a Kryptonite hot dog eating contest. What about the little green men from E.T., who absent-mindedly left one of their own behind on Earth and left him there, unsupervised, to fend for himself-like an intergalactic Kevin McCallister. You see, the beings from the great unknown aren’t so different from me or you. (Aliens from the) Stars-they’re just like us.
However…because there is always a however, what if I were to build the perfect movie alien? If I were to channel my inner Dr. Frankenstein, I could create a celestial body more perfect than all of us. Smarter, stronger, more beautiful and flawless in every way. We on Earth would finally have a Martian worth worshipping*. I think I will.
*I’m aware that Martian means “from Mars”, so for the sake of the exercise let’s just agree that our visitor hails from the Red Planet.
Head/Face: Thomas Jerome Newton, The Man Who Fell to Earth
There’s something about the androgynous beauty of David Bowie that’s already somewhat alien. It’s an attribute he leaned on throughout his career-his songs, from Space Oddity to Life on Mars?, were enhanced by a feeling that maybe the man performing them was never of this Earth. Thomas Jerome Newton, like the man who played him, is disarmingly alluring and attractive-literally so-he’s so interesting and different looking that it’s impossible not to be drawn towards him-all cheekbones and jawline and perfectly tousled sunset-colored hair. It’s altogether unclear if he’s a man, woman, even human. It doesn’t matter. One look at Newton and you know that you’re going to come away from that encounter just a little bit different than the way you came in.
Eyes: Alton, Midnight Special
Certainly, there are aliens with more prominent, expressive eyes than Alton. My dear, sweet, E.T. has big beautiful baby eyes, all wide-eyed curiosity, and feeling. The big-brained Martians in Mars Attacks have eyes that are wild and crazy and unpredictable, those peepers wouldn’t look entirely out of place inside the sockets of Charlie Sheen during a Las Vegas cocaine bender. The problem with those eyes is that they don’t have any kind of cool, separate function outside of sight. I mean, regular old human eyes can see, our super-alien’s eyes should be able to do a lot more than that. That’s why I’ve picked Alton, whose eyes can shoot blue laser beams (a much cooler laser beam color than regular old red) that are capable of pulling satellites out of orbit and temporarily paralyzing anyone who makes prolonged eye-contact with him, like a pre-teen Medusa.
Ears: Yoda, Star Wars
My grandfather has these big, giant looking ears with a fairly significant amount of hair growing in and around them. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing thing in the world, I suppose, but to me, it’s a sign of wisdom and experience. His ears tell me that he’s seen things, he’s done things, and he’s definitely heard things that I have not. His ears tell me that my ears should listen to him because I just might learn something. Yoda has ears like my grandfather.
Mouth: Xenomorph, Alien
To this point, my creature is a pretty fair mixture of good looks and slightly out of this world functionality. It’s able to command attention and defend itself if need be. Though if this monster is ever going to command Earth’s full respect, it’s going to need to be able to scare the shit out of us. It’s going to potentially need to eat us alive. That’s why I’ve sewn the mouth of a Xenomorph on the head. You’ve seen this mouth before, I’m sure. It’s all fangs and drool and fangs and acid and fangs. Worst, or maybe best, of all? It has another mouth inside of its mouth, one which juts out like the arm of a Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robot to further tear through our skin and bones. How lavishly unnecessary and incredibly mean-spirited is that? Taking a piece from the Xenomorph here gets me two mouths for the price of one. It’s important to be frugal and resourceful in times of a full-scale alien invasion.
Torso: Riddick (Vin Diesel), The Chronicles of Riddick
That’s right. Suddenly it’s getting awfully hot around here. Are you blushing? Well, they don’t call it the Red Planet for no reason. Yes, my alien is from outer space, but it hasn’t seen a Milky Way in years. It hasn’t touched a carb since the first Apollo mission. A torso with more ripples and valleys than a topographical map of Jupiter shows that this alien is dedicated, strong, and may very well have a core more volcanically powerful than Earth.
Arms: Heptapods, Arrival
With the addition of the octopus-like arms of the Heptapods, my creature no longer resembles anything human. Like Alton’s eyes, these arms serve multiple purposes. First, they are long and fluid and pull and heave and stretch, and so they are very functional. Secondly, they serve as writing utensils, able to communicate a written language in case my creature’s Xenomorphic mouth is full of human heads (I will teach this alien manners-it will never talk with its mouth full). Thirdly, like the movie Arrival, the arms are unique and awe-inspiring, as all space creatures should be.
Legs/Feet: Danny Zuko, Grease
Hold on. Wait just a minute and hear me out. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that Danny Zuko is not an alien, he’s just a gorgeous twenty-nine-year-old high school senior. You’re thinking that just because someone has a moon crater-sized divot in his chin, that doesn’t make him an alien, and you were under the impression that this was a piece about aliens. Well, Danny Zuko is an alien. The movie agrees with me. Think about it. At the end of the film, after a prolonged song and dance, Danny and his co-alien, Sandra Dee, hop into a Ford De Luxe Convertible, put that thing in drive, and fly away to outer space. That’s not me reading too much into the ending, that’s literally how the movie ends. It’s not a metaphor-Danny and Sandra get into a car and fly away into the clouds, smiling and waving to their friends below. They don’t appear frightened or upset. They appear to be going home. Danny Zuko is an alien. Danny Zuko is also an excellent, athletic, hypnotic dancer, and I want my alien to be as well. My alien needs Zuko’s legs. Don’t argue with me on this one.