23rd Oct: It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
open/close all folders
The Aliens (General)
The aliens were no smarter than humans.Everyone always assumes that just because a species is capable of interstellar travel, that means they must have unimaginably superior intellects. But this is a drastic case of Logical Fallacies. Human beings have been improving our inventions for eons and throughout all the thousands and thousands of years of constant technological advancements our brains have not evolved in intelligence to a very significant degree. In the amount of time it would probably take us to make it all the way to the point where we can travel to another galaxy—say, another few hundred years—we certainly still won't have reached that point. Probably not even in another few thousand. Especially not now that we're evolving less than before. An alien species analogous to our own in advancement would presumably be the same. That's how evolution works. When you get to a certain point, your brain doesn't need to evolve much more. Evolution is about survival in the wild, not technological convenience. You can't just automatically equate technological prowess with intelligence like it's an automatic given. Think, people. THINK. Don't assume. Think. These creatures are, if anything, less bright than humans—or at least than some of the smarter humans. The way they're hard wired, they seem to be better at long term planning than short term problem solving. They can set up tricks and traps and invasions well enough, but when confronted with something they didn't expect they always seem to miss the frickin' obvious and they don't know how to deal with it. If they were as brilliant as everyone thinks being capable of interstellar travel magically automatically qualifies you as being then they wouldn't act in such a way. This isn't an inconsistency: rather, it is a more or less realistic depiction of how such a species may be on a strange new planet.
The aliens we see are mass-produced "grunts", and the important aliens were still in space observing how they handled the strange planet.Since the grunts could handle neither the atmosphere nor the hostile locals (nor the primitive door technology), the alien leaders decided not to invade, or at worst to retreat and figure out what to do next.
The aliens were refugees!Their homeworld underwent some catastrophe that nearly wiped them out. What few survivors there were packed themselves into ships and wandered to the nearest inhabited world. They only picked a planet with oceans of poison because they were desperate. They clearly announced their presence and came unarmed and unarmored. The crop circles were universal signs of "Help us, we're starving. Can you spare some food?" Humans, bastards that we are, tried to kill the people who need us! Sure, it looked like they were gassing and abducting humans, but they were just trying to hug us and share their alien cocaine.
The Aliens were created on Earth as part of a Terran plot.An intergalactic invasion is so incredibly expensive that any land, resource, or slaves one would capture would not recoup your losses. The only resource one could garner at a profit, information, is clearly not what the aliens want. Conversely, as portrayed in Watchmen and half a thousand other sources, the best way to unify the Earth is to create an extraterrestrial threat. The aliens are incredibly unprepared for an invasion. Therefore, they were bred on Earth as part of a Gambit Roulette by some organization to create a one world government or some other lofty goal. There was nothing more to it than genetic engineering, puppetry, bribery, and sophisticated light shows.
The aliens are from another dimension, not outer space.What else could possibly explain their complete lack of preparation or equipment for landing on a mostly toxic planet? They are primitives who stumbled through a portal.
The aliens we see are the remnants of the splicers from Rapture.The allergy to water is one of many possible results of the long-term genetic damage they did to themselves with the constant splicing, as is their appearance. It also explains how they got on this planet in such large numbers without someone noticing and gives them a proper motive for wanting to capture a bunch of people: ADAM.
The aliens are just plain stupid.This is why they invade a planet full of poisonous chemicals with no weapons, armor, or reconnaissance. They are incapable of any invasion strategy other than "Hurr, hurr, let's land on that planet and beat them up!'' because they are stupid. They just stole their advanced technology from smarter aliens.
The aliens were CriminalsThey had been given life sentances, but were told that if they spearheaded the invasion they would be pardoned. The alien government knew they would all be killed.
The "Aliens" were not sentient at all - they were just smart animals.The real aliens were shipping some fragile space monkeys to the galactic preserve. Unfortunately, due to an error in the delivery form, they were unloaded on the wrong planet.
The aliens werenít naked.They were completely covered in bio-mechanical suits (hence no visible genitalia). The suits were green either from being powered in a way similar to photosynthesis or by having a high copper content (which turns green due to oxidization). The suits, while capable of keeping the creatures safe from breathing in the water vapour in our air, were (unfortunately for the aliens) not able to stand up to liquid water. The one that attacked the Hess home was not killed directly by the water and/or blunt force trauma but, between Merrillís hits and the water, caused the bio-mechanical suit to malfunction and tears in it leaked in the vapour rich air which seeped into its lungs causing asphyxiation.
The aliens are The Buggers.Signs is a prequel to Enderís Game The aliens communicate through bug-like sounds, and they have a hive mind, which explains why they didn't have water protection since they didn't value their lives. Also, their poison neutralizes the harmful effect of water, making the humans harvestable.
The aliens created the DHMO hoax after the movieonly in this case it wasn't exactly a hoax but a way of using our scientific illiteracy against us. hacking into the interenet (our just casually creating their own site) they would gain the support of environmentalist groups which would eventually gain a lot of support and eventually ban the "harmful" chemical and allow them to invade easily, with the added bonus of the human population being wiped out from lack of hydration, the aliens would then colonize the planet.... at least that's how they thought it would turn out, naturally one of the cleverer of the 6 billion monkeys caught on and exposed the "hoax". as for why the aliens thought this would work well, they basically came to a planet made up of 80% liquid death, they're not particularly the brightest star in the galaxy
The aliens were drunkThey were having some wild party (hence naked), but got locked out from their spaceship without keys. The water thing? Alien hangovers are that bad.
The aliens were committing suicide.Like Suicide by Cop, except it was Suicide By Invading Watery Planet And Getting The Natives To Kill You With It.
The aliens were genetic experiments gone wrong who had escaped their captivity while in hyperspace, killed their captors, and ended up near earth.This explains not only their incredibly ill-planned "invasion", but it explains their freakish powers, odd weaknesses, irrational but scary behavior, and lack of any visible tools or clothes. This actually makes the fact that they acted more like horror movie monsters than any sort of force quite logical— they WERE monsters.
The Aliens weren't Aliens. They were demons.I'm actually surprised that this one wasn't said already. It may take a bit of background knowledge of Aliens and Demons, particular Abductions. Bringing a little real world logic into this (bad idea? maybe.) but most (probably all) stories of Alien Abductions are actually the result of Sleep Paralysis. Back when humanity didn't recognize the concept of Aliens, people STILL had Sleep Paralysis, but they thought they were instead being tortured or "abducted" by Demons. There's little practical difference, at least to the "Abductee". Strange Lights in the sky have also historically been the result of Demons or something spiritual, until the modern age, where we began to attribute them to Aliens. Take into account that Water, in particular Holy Water, has been a consistent weakness of Demons throughout theological history, and not being able to enter someones home, while normally connected to Vampires, is also a common theme. Really, it all makes sense if you think of it like this. These "Aliens" have no technology that we see (that i remember), We never see their "Spaceships" aside from a few lights in the sky, which could simply be the means of which they enter our reality. They seem to have no greater goal than to terrorize humanity. Take into account that main character is a lapsed priest, which is also very common in stories featuring Demonic Antagonists, and suddenly it all seems quite obvious. If you're wondering, though "Why did the people in the movie call them aliens" well, what exactly would you call them? the Popular consciousness, in both our reality and the movie, simply favors a more Sci-Fi explanation.
The bipedal aliens were made to send a message to ManIt's not likely that that a race that evolved on another planet would be as humanlike as the aliens in Signs. The starship builders created humanlike life forms, and made them water soluble so that they'd die quickly. The crop circles and the invaders were meant to communicate something to Man. We don't understand the message because the Starship Builders' culture is too alien for us.
The aliens were just showing off. Invasion was not their goal.Any race capable of interstellar travel in spacecraft that can turn invisible ought to be smart enough to have proper weapons and strategies for invading Earth. Their strategy was woefully inadequate, and their weapons were nonexistent; therefore, invasion wasn't their goal. Things the aliens may have been doing other than invading:
The aliens were trying to make a peaceful First Contact.They were just lousy at it. Think about it. They went to a planet that was covered in poison with no protective gear and with the worst invasion strategy ever. The kidnappings were retaliation for attacking their ambassadors.
The alien holding Morgan wasn't holding him hostage - he was giving the kid medicine.First of all, if these aliens were smart enough to have cloakable transport, have tested lifeforms (since animals share quite a few spots of our human genome map), and know well enough to avoid water, who's to say they don't know our biology? The alien was surrounded and weak anyway, so holding a hostage would be a dumb move. Instead, he tried to appease by trying to resuscitate Morgan, and use sign language to communicate his speci's true intent. Of course, dealing with Mad Max here was a VERY bad idea. Way to go, Mel Gibson.
The Aliens were after some specialized resource, and actually won.The aliens weren't here to conquer the earth; they were here for resources. Something in our bodies is valuable to them. It's like miners going into a mine to dig for gems or coal. There's a known risk of methane gas for miners, and a known risk of water in its many forms for the aliens. Chances are some of the miners, and some of the aliens, will die; but the payoff is high enough to make it worth the risk. So yeah, a couple died, (at least one) unfortunate, but they knew the risks when they signed on, and the rest made it out with what they came for.
The aliens lost a ship carrying a VERY important thing at RoswellThey didn't know where the ship was hidden on the planet, so they invaded everywhere at once. Once they got the missing thing (treasure, a resource, whatever) from Area 51, they sent out the signal to go home.
The important aliens are far more powerful, and they destroy the Earth after the movie is over.The weak aliens were a test to see if we were Xenophobic. If we had made peace with them, they would have brought us into an alliance.
The Aliens were invading Earth FOR the water.Think about it. If the aliens are vulnerable to water, then they likely did not evolve on a planet with water. Water isn't exactly a common molecule in space. They want the water as a deadly weapon they can use against their kin. The Signs were business proposals to obtain the water peacefully: They wouldn't want to divert resources from fighting their enemies. (That's also why the invasion force is so small.) When that failed — well, humans are mostly water, so they'll separate us into water and human jerky.
The Aliens are on the run from a much MUCH scarier race.They just stopped by earth for a bite to eat...they were running out of food, and desperate enough to head towards Earth for food. They sent a few agents ahead to plan the attack, thus, the crop circles. Oh, did I mention the above mentioned "Much scarier race" is heading for Earth, and won't be as easily repelled?
The Aliens needed human slave labor.The radio said that the aliens seemed more interested in abductions than all-out combat. If they found a world with resources they needed but which had large amounts of water present, they'd need either major protective equipment or a slave species to harvest the resources.
The aliens were just idiots screwing around.Aliens Bob and George were travelling the galaxy, when Bob spied a peculiar planet.
The invasion was actually the result of an Interstellar Uriah GambitWhat better way to create a suicide mission than to send the underling to a planet covered (about 75%) in what will literally eat then him/her/it alive. The other troops were probably recruited from prisons, asylums and amongst the dregs of their society. How can their equivalent of coroners complain when there are no remains (melting away during the first rain storm)? Those in charge knew; the troops were told they were to procure Di-hydrogen-monoxide by any means necessary. Society was told that they were tragic losses while on an exploration mission to a deadly planet with barbaric inhabitants.
The aliens were in a similar position to the Golgafrinchim B ship.Much like the B ship, the aliens in the movie are the useless portion of their species. Wanting to eliminate the incompetent members of their race, the alien species made a volunteer Alien Invasion of water based planets, knowing only the truly stupid would volunteer.
The aliens were damaged by chemicals in the water, not the water itself.There's plenty of crap in tap water other than good ol' H20.
The Aliens didn't KNOW that water harmed themWater isn't naturally blue. Why should the aliens think that the blue pieces of Earth are water? They don't have water on their planet, or not much of it, and they clearly didn't send out any unaliened craft to get the composition of Earth before they invaded. It's entirely possible that they never encountered a watery planet in their voyages and didn't realize what water does. Maybe they never even visited another world before (we really overestimated how much dust the surface of the moon had, after all). That could have been their first encounter with water. Hydrogen may be the most common element in the universe, but oxygen is a good deal rarer. Or maybe they're only hurt by water above a certain concentration; their breathing on Earth is a lucky coincidence they discovered by trial and error.
The Aliens suffer from a negative reaction to certain ions of water.Water is not a poison to the aliens, they simply suffer from something similar to aquagenic urticaria, a real world disease where people suffer from a horrible skin response to certain ions in water. This still doesn't explain why they came to a world three quarters covered by water, but hey, it's just a movie.
Water in and of itself is not harmful to the Aliens.Rather, there is something in the water that harms them. The film has some foreshadowing to support this idea, with the main character's daughter refusing to drink the water because "it has amoebas in it". Some kind of bacteria or virus found in unfiltered tap water (remember, the film is set on a farm which probably has a well rather than an urban water supply) can literally eat the aliens alive.
Not all aliens are allergic to water.We only see the one alien reacting badly to water. Yes, people in the Middle East fought them off - but it never says they used water. Yes, the veterinarian said they chose landing sites away from water - that doesn't make them allergic necessarily, just not fond of water. Perhaps the one alien that invaded the Hess home was some poor schmuck who happened to have a seriously inconvenient allergy - like humans allergic to peanuts, the sun, vitamins, etc.
Water is not lethal to the aliens.Perhaps it just hurts them: as we see the skin burns off the alien when touched by water. Want to know what actually killed him? Perhaps it was something to do with Merill beating the SHIT out of him.
Firefighters end up on the front lines.Firefighters vs aliens. Teh awesome cannot be more obvious.
There's nothing in the water that kills aliens.Their skin contains large quantities of Sodium. The water reacts with the sodium and turns it into caustic soda, a highly corrosive base. That smoke where the water touched the alien's skin looked a lot like sodium reacting with water.
Graham was right: there were no psychic powers, and everything is thanks to God.He just doesn't notice that God Is Evil.
The Aliens are only hurt by holy water, or at least water handled by a holy person.This would explain why they die when a priest throws water at them, but they weren't afraid to invade a planet full of water because it wasn't naturally poisonous.
The kids' mother was part alienHence Bo's aethereal looks, "premature" smiling, precognition (which we know she inherited from her mom: "Swing away...", etc.), and dislike of water. She's at least half human, so it doesn't harm her; she just feels like it isn't clean. This also might explain why Morgan is asthmatic and generally sickly throughout the film, but after one shot of alien nasal-spray and a quick nap clears right up (possibly leading to the most energetic reading of "Dad?" in the entire movie). The entire invasion might be a retrieval operation for hybrids. After all, the radio reports did say they were dragging off people. The spacemen might have mistaken the humans' attempts at saving their loved ones for those of kidnappers grasping at their hostages, and acted accordingly.
Signs and Unbreakable take place in the same universe.Mr. Glass wanted to find a superhero because he knew the aliens were coming.
The entire movie was a more realistic take on the same concept as Invader ZimThe alien grunts weren't all that bright, and Earth was obviously the last planet their species should ever want to invade. Hence, the aliens we see in the movie were a group of annoying idiots their superiors wanted to get rid of by sending them on a "Secret Mission" to an acidic Deathworld.
The film was a commentary on prejudice, racism, and cultural invasionThis is my true interpretation of the film, and I have never seen this echoed on any website or with anyone I have discussed this with so I'm sharing it here. Signs was about ignorant prejudice that devolves into mass panic. We see the aliens messing with the farmhouse, but nothing they do is truly malevolent. Keep in mind that they are from another planet far away, and this might be their first contact with an intelligent species. They might not even perceive humans as having intelligence comparable to their own. Even though we build cities and farm houses they might think of it as an ant makes an anthill. Next we see the invasion. The news program shows an alien peeking into the window of a children's birthday party. The alien is causing no harm here, it is only curious. Sure, the news stations claim there have been reports of abductions, but we do not actually see them occurring. This is just wild rumor and mass panic by the general public in the face of a cultural invasion. We see the kids at the farm house hiding in the closet, wearing tinfoil hats, and obsessively watching the news because they are driven by ignorance to panic and take irrational actions. At Shyamalan's house, an alien enters his home and he locks it in the pantry. Again, from the alien's perspective, this is probably not a malevolent act. The aliens have interplanetary travel, they could do better than send one unarmed alien into his house if they wanted to cause him harm. In return for trying to make contact, the poor guy gets locked in the pantry. Then Mel Gibson goes in there, and the terrified alien reaches under the door to reach for help. In a panic, Gibson slices off one of its fingers. At the end of the film, the young boy has an asthma attack and loses consciousness. The family then sees on the news that the aliens are leaving Earth en masse because water is poisonous to them. Next, a lone alien breaks into the house and the family sees it has the unconscious boy cradled in its arms. A closer look reveals that the alien is missing a finger. It is the one from the pantry, left behind by its own people on a strange world. And yet, when faced with the one who cut of its finger, it still has the kindness of heart to heal the boy by spraying a mist in his face. Gibson then tells his older son to brutally beat the alien with a baseball bat, which he gladly does. The unarmed alien offers no resistance. Shortly after, the young boy awakes, thanks to the alien's antidote. Gibson and the family show absolutely no remorse for the brutal murder of the one who saved the boy. In their ignorance, they interpreted the alien's act of kindness and forgiveness as an act of aggression, and they killed him simply because he wasn't human.