The other night I found myself watching, for various complicated reasons it would be otiose to rehearse, the Spielberg/Cruise version of War of the Worlds, a movie I previously thought notable mostly for its outstanding illogic and the poor decision not to show Miranda Otto naked. To other people, though, the movie is notable for a plot hole inherited from the original story: How do these aliens not anticipate the danger earthly microorganisms might pose them? Are there no analogues of viruses on their planet?
That’s always bothered me too. But during this latest watching an alternate interpretation occurred to me. The campaign we saw during the movie, however devastating it was to Earth, was only a feint; the aliens never intended to conquer Earth during the movie, but were only gathering info. They sent the equivalent of a single battalion to (a) probe Earth’s defenses and see how effective they were, and (b) to assess the dangers Terran germs posed them. Every member of the alien force was expendable and, in fact, expected to die so that the alien home base might get telemetry that would let them immunize the next wave–which would be much larger. In short, a few months after the last scene of WotW, the aliens return, immune to earthly diseases, and wipe out Homo sapiens over lunch.
But that’s just me. What are YOUR favorite paranoid/pessimistic/cynical fanwanks?