If (and, really, when) extraterrestrials land on earth in the distant future, they’ll probably discover a strange planet filled with a lot of water and not much in the way of intelligent life. How will they learn about the lost human civilization? Primitive forms of documentation — movies! Nine of these movies are conveniently dated in their very titles and could give visitors a sense of life on earth. So what would they learn of humanity if they viewed us through flicks like 10,000 BC and 2001: A Space Odyssey? What follows is one intrepid space traveler’s interpretation of humanity through a movie-based time line.
Though humanity seems in its infancy — fighting weather and beasts for its survival — further examination reveals two surprising facts. First, along with the primitives living in caves, there exist men who travel be sea, as well as a vast semi-advanced civilization in the desert region led by a being called the Almighty. Second, the Almighty claims to be immortal, as well as the last of His kind, which is typical. Our God was always traveling to other planets and rapidly affecting their cultures. At least now we know what happened to him.
It’s curious that society did not seem to advance much in 10,000 years. It’s still split between two cultures — one of the hunter-gatherer variety, the other a Stone Age civilization headed for ruin. The only difference this scientist saw between Year One and 10,000 BC was that men’s crotches are in great danger of injury in the former, though none of the injuries appears to be fatal.
Fast-forward nearly 2,000 years, and finally, in the year 1776, society is advanced enough to develop tricornered-hat technology — a major improvement, to say the least. Additionally, most of society’s focus seems to be on the formation of one document: the Declaration of Independence. Many new forms of government were devised in the intervening years, between Year One and 1776, but the most startling advancement in society is that, in America — which the Earth is called, at this point — men spontaneously break into song at regular intervals. Most curious.
1900 covers roughly half a century in a conflict-laden area of America called Europe. This society is rife with class issues and dominated by debates over different forms of government, with Communists, Fascists, and others constantly at each other. There exists in this society an underclass of peasants who constantly rise up. Oddly enough, much of the conflict revolves around two seemingly unimportant but handsome men.
Though covering much of the same time as 1900, 1941 shows that the ideologically conflicted world of 1900 did not penetrate into the region called California, though this region does have conflicts of its own. Initially, it seems, the conflict was between other countries and America. But after further examination of 1941, it can be assumed that the war was actually the result of America’s incompetent military attacking its own homeland. America’s armed forces regularly drop bombs on their own territory and shoot down their own aircraft. This would have been an easy place to conquer.
A pattern seems to emerge here: on earth, the most important union was definitely between males, and it was called “best friendship.” This type of relationship has a pair of males joining together in youth, splitting apart in middle age, and reuniting when older. In this time period, another conflict — the Vietnam War — occurs. Like the war in 1941, it mostly had America fighting against itself, though eventually all seemed to agree that it was a bad idea and society as a whole promptly forgot it ever happened and moved on.
2001: A Space Odyssey
In the short years between 1969 and 2001, the Earth’s technology advanced so rapidly that it seemed slightly unrealistic. The cause? Monoliths (machines that were really advanced for the Earth at the time). In any case, after some stasis, by the time of 2001 humans had developed interstellar travel, as well as a primitive artificial intelligence called HAL — which, of course, tried to kill them. This was easily the funniest of the movies found.
Unlike many of the other movies discovered, this one picks up the story of the Earth right where 2001 left off, showing how those pesky monoliths continued to affect the evolution of earthings. They prevent a war between the Earth countries of America and Russia, which was good of them, but they also destroyed a planet, created a new star out of Jupiter (a fact we were unable to corroborate, as we were very busy), and turned a moon into a life-giving planet. Bigger events happen in 2010 than in any other movie.
Between 2010 and 2012, society’s technology regressed significantly, so 2011 was probably a bad year. Then, in 2012, near-global annihilation wiped out most of the planet, as well as its denizens: massive earthquakes, tsunamis, and other kinds of havoc destroyed everything and everyone. However, nearly every one of the subjects followed in this movie survived. Amazing.