Recently, as I watched one of Hollywood’s latest sci-fi movies, Battle: L.A., I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between the imperialist nature of the aliens in the film and the imperialist nature of early American settlers.
The movie takes place in the near future and centers on the mission of Michael Nantz, a U.S. Marine who has been tasked with rescuing civilians stranded behind enemy lines. The enemy of the U.S. is not from this world; they are extraterrestrial beings sent to Earth to steal our water and natural resources. Sergeant Nantz rescues the civilians and takes his mission to a new level by attempting to destroy the alien’s central command center. Nantz and his team of soldiers take down the central command center and turn the tide of the war in the favor of the humans. The movie ends on a positive note, with armies around the world destroying numerous alien command centers.
I immediately thought about the comparison between early American settlers and the aliens upon viewing the movie. The aliens have highly advanced technology and invade the habitat of a foreign society (Earth) with the intent of stealing its resources for their own use. Similarly, 17th Century American settlers invaded the habitat of Native Americans with the intent of stealing their land. The settlers had guns and armor that were highly advanced for their time. Unfortunately, the Native Americans were not able to repel their enemies as well as the humans did in the movie. The settlers cruelly relocated Native Americans to reservations far from their homes. The Trail of Tears was one such example of a Native American relocation that occurred right here in Georgia.
Americans have held a strong sense of imperialism since the time of the early colonists. Since then, American territory has expanded westward to cover the entire continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii. America has also had territories such as the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Americans have claimed these lands as territories in order to reap the benefits of their natural resources. The American imperialist attitude will only continue to flourish and the U.S. will only continue to “acquire” foreign lands as their own territories.
Hollywood has attempted to portray this greedy American imperialist attitude in other films from The Last Samurai (2003) to Avatar (2009). What do you guys think? Is Battle: L.A. another one of Hollywood’s anti-imperialist films, or is there no connection?