Confucian aliens arrive to koan us into nirvana. Timeless Knowledge is Bliss.

Villeneuve arrives ahead of all its contemporaries. Leapfrogs everyone and squirts ink the face of competitors.

He sees the future and past sci-fi vaguely related to First Contact and outdoes them, in a relaxed and calm way, without violence and histrionics.


Communication with aliens is complex, so experts do it on an ivory tower, while pseudo-religious nutters try to use explosives to screw it up.

But here, there’s direct references to math problems (quizzes, almost) being common ground, but not allowing any comprehension beyond that. If all you have is a zero-sum game, everything looks like a war.

In another plus, William Fichtner doesn’t play a friendzoned disabled person.

District 9

The aliens want our help and they bring us offers.

But here, they bring us advanced knowledge which are not weapons.

Their offers can be used in a good way (with less black goo)! You will be an augmented human, not a complete alien.

Independence Day

Aliens appear with their actions being interpreted as hostile, leading to global kumbaya.

But here, aliens nudge in the direction of human understanding and camaraderie. They force us to work together not be representing an external enemy to be fought by everyone, but by uplifting us primitive species.

They cleverly split up the information between the different countries, bringing a meta-message of unity and against turning differences into war.

Mass Effect

The first contact was the First Contact War, where millions died on both sides.

But here, the wars are between humans. The aliens are not hostile towards human, even they have all the reasons too.


Horny aliens want to select the best humans for breeding and create an unstoppable race of übermensch.

Nah, just kidding, there’s no tentacle action here. This is serious! There are only platonic relationships here. The only fluid exchange is that ink used to write poetry and philosophise…

Forrest Whitaker is also empathic and has common sense, but he’s in charge here.

The Arrival (1996)

Alien-Human relations are mediated by the spooks, even though the boots on the ground resent this.

Nope, no tiger blood here. Nothing to see here, move along.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Aliens arrive, and Earth stands still (in front of a TV or smartphone), its mouth agape and drooling.


Aliens do no interact with water.

They don’t seem to care either way, but their spaceships are cloud covered and disappear in a puff of fluffy nimbus…

War of the Worlds

Nope, no war here. See above.


Ain’t nobody got USB hair here!


This is my place for ramblings about sequences of images that exploit the human visual limitation know as persistence of vision.

Ephemera of Vision