This does not look good...
"Independence Day. That alien invasion movie. The first part, where the aliens come and they look up between the buildings and the sky is gone and, like, all they see is metal. Just as far as you can see, that steel ship looming up there. I remember thinking thatís what the end of the world will look like. It wonít be wars and tanks or a meteor. Itíll be something we never could have thought of...
Some aliens want to make a grand entrance. This trope marks the tendency for fleets of mile-long alien spaceships to ominously hover, several hundred feet over the world's cities without doing very much. It usually means the start of an Alien Invasion
but it can be subverted. Expect shots of shadows washing over cities like a tide, awe-stricken people looking upwards and Jitter Cam
footage of the ships over every major city. Five Rounds Rapid
against them will be useless while their Wave Motion Gun
will be devastating when they decide to use it. Absolutely no Midair Bobbing
ever. Quite inexplicable as not only would it expend vast amounts of power and present a big target but by Newton's Third Law, crush everything underneath it
. Perhaps it's because Power Floats
or because ships float in the sea and Space Is an Ocean
, but it also adds to the menace: how can something that big hang in the sky without making a furious amount of engine noise and disruption? Clearly, they must be fearsomely advanced
, and the Puny Humans
defenses will be nothing to them.
It nearly always occurs Twenty Minutes In The Future
by Higher-Tech Species
and is never inverted. Probably because humans
are too polite
See also Floating Continent
and Ominous Floating Castle
- An advert for Doritos in the UK has a giant chip hovering above London in this manner.
- The Arume ships in the final episode of Blue Drop.
- In the final episode of Kirby of the Stars, the Destrayer is a colossal UFO that is several times bigger than Dedede Castle. And then it turns out N.M.E. has a whole freaking ARMADA of them.
- The Visitors' ships in V, both versions. Likely the Trope Codifier.
- The Sycorax asteroid ship in the first Christmas Special of Doctor Who.
- Stargate SG-1 does this at least once a season. A few notable instances are:
- Inverted in "Thor's Chariot", where said Asgard flagship Beliskner appears and performs a Gunship Rescue against Heru'ur.
- "Scorched Earth" plays it straight. The entire plot of the episode revolves around convincing the Ominous Floating Spaceship not to terraform a resettled civilization out of existence (not that the AI commanding it wants to, it's just too far into the process to start again somewhere else, so stopping would doom the species in hibernation on board).
- Anubis's mothership over the capital of Kelowna on Jonas Quinn's homeworld of Langara. Less suspenseful for the viewers, as it is no doubt that Anubis wants to invade, but true for the people of Kelowna, who have never seen a Ha'tak before. This isn't an ordinary Ha'tak (which has a pyramid shape) but a much larger circular mothership.
- Inverted in the episode "The Lost City", with the USS Prometheus floating over our heroes. In this case, defending them from Anubis's forces.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - the space station, then known as Terok Nor, was one of these during the Cardassian occupation of Bajor. When the series starts, the Occupation is still recent history, the good guys have only just moved in, and there are plenty of Cardassians who'd be happy to take back their old territory.
- In Kirby Air Ride, one of the more awesome events in City Trial warns you that "A mysterious flying craft is approaching!"note Then the Destrayer from Kirby of the Stars slowly flies over the city, making an unnerving high-pitched droning noise but otherwise doing nothing dangerous at all. On top of it are tons of power-up patches, including at least one All Patch in the center.
- The Chimera ships in Resistance 2.
- Bowser's saucer in Super Mario Galaxy that he uses to laser-carve out the ground underneath Peach's castle and carry it away. You see the UFO again briefly while en route to Bowser's Galaxy Reactor, but it does nothing.
- Many, many times in the Halo games, mostly Covenant ships but sometimes UNSC ones too.
- The Reaper Fleet in Mass Effect 3, particularly unnerving as they actually drop out of the sky, defying Newtonian physics when they land on the ground as gracefully as an insect lands on a leaf. The sight of two kilometer high spaceships casually walking around and laying waste to their surroundings is impressive, to say the least. Various allied starships similarly can be seen hovering over various planets, in usually short-lived attempts to fend off the Reaper onslaught.
- These are present whenever you go outside in Iji.
- The introduction to X3 Terran Conflict shows a rogue Terraformer fleet of Mile Long Ships hovering over the remains of New York City after they bombarded it from orbit with asteroids