“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.” Yes, I am talking about the 1988 Science fiction film They Live directed by John Carpenter.
The movie has a great concept but maybe not the best execution. The main character of the movie is Nada played by the wrestler Roddy Piper who comes upon an anonymous city to find some work. He notices odd behavior at a small church across the street where he spends the night. The same night he bears witness to the destruction of the church after the police surround it forcing the inhabitants to flee.
Out of curiosity, Nada investigates the next day on which he stumbles upon a box full of sunglasses. Upon donning one of those pair of sunglasses, he finds a capitalist alien race manipulating human beings through the use of a signal on top of the TV broadcast that is concealing their appearance and subliminal messages in mass media while living among them.
Even if the idea of “the world is not what it seems” has been used in quite few franchises (Terminator, The Matrix, Harry Potter), this movie probably appeals to anyone with a interest in politics as it is a classic example of the true nature of capitalism and the way in which its true goal is to set people against each other and to control the masses with consumerism.
Personally, I like the idea that all our literature and advertising and television gives us nothing but subliminal messages like “Buy,” “Obey,” “Stay asleep,” “No imagination,” “Marry and reproduce,” and “No independent thought.” The movie was adapted from a comic book version of the popular science fiction story “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson.
Though the Carpenter version is a cult favorite and is applauded for experimenting with such an interesting concept, the long fist fight among Nada and Frank really stretches the movie and loses the fast pacing of the original story.
I still think it would be worth to remake this film as the concept is very unique and has great potential. Imagine if we found out that the current famous celebrities, politicians, religious gurus are all aliens, what would be our reaction? How are they controlling us in the current age? How did they begin to live among us? Maybe facebook, twitter, reality TV shows are all part of the current social media that the aliens are using to send subliminal messages.
And you could make the film in Stereoscopic 3D. That would be the ideal marketing line for the movie – Wear 3D glasses and you will find them among us!