So I am screwing around on Netflix looking for something to watch and I come across this. Feeling nostalgic around Christmas, maybe because my dad died this year and I used to watch stuff like this with him, or maybe just because I haven’t really had the chance to sit down and watch some classic movies in awhile I popped this one on. I learned a few things. First, it felt weird not watching this on VHS and an old tube television. Second, this movie came out decades before I was born and yet I still enjoyed it more than most modern movies. And possibly last but not least, At least once a week I hear someone say ” I wish people would stop with all the political and social commentary in movies and on television.” Honestly, that has always been there. This movie is about a man from space that shows up with a giant robot. We as humans of course shoot him as soon as he tries to hand us something and his giant robot melts some guns and a tank. Space man gets fixed up and tried to get a meeting with the world and of course the world goes all high school stupid and starts with the if he goes I won’t go stuff.
So what is a space man to do when America locks him in a room and says don’t go anywhere? He leaves to see the city. News of course goes nuts, starts gets people all riled up and scared. See a pattern here? This movie was released in the 1950’s and if you replace the word spaceman with words like “Irish, immigrant, communist, Muslim” or any number of words you can change the year and it would fit the social commentary of a decade. The space man even comments about the media spreading needless fear.
Once we get to the end of the movie we hit another topic of social commentary that could hit any number of decades. Our space man finally gets a meeting, but not with world leaders but with scientist. Whats his message? That giant robot is basically the galaxy police force and they have ultimate power that no one questions or interferes with. They are so feared the rest of galaxy wants to trouble so they simply don’t have weapons. Since earth discovered nuclear energy they will eventually use it in a space ship and join the galactic community. Either do so in peace or the giant robots will destroy the Earth. That is a pretty damn severe message I would say.
All and all I have to say I was surprised by the the amount of social commentary in a movie from the 1950s, but more surprised how much of it actually stands true over 60 years later. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.