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Opinion

Astrojive: Fiendish But Wacky

Richard Lee Byers considers the flawed master plans of this year’s sci-fi movie villains


A while back, I wrote about the dopey strategies employed by our extraterrestrial foes in alien invasion flicks like “Battle: Los Angeles.” Sadly, the antagonists in this year’s sci-fi movies haven’t turned out to be any brighter, with human and humanoid villains seemingly vying with their overtly monstrous counterparts to concoct the dumbest scheme of all.

These deleted scenes — no doubt they’ll appear on the Blu-ray and DVD — illustrate my point:

’STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS’

ADMIRAL MARCUS: In the wake of his two attacks on Starfleet, some might say it was a mistake to wake Khan from suspended animation so he could design weapons for our conspiracy.

MARCUS’S AIDE (muttering): No shit. Especially considering that his knowledge of military technology is 300 years out of date.

MARCUS: What’s that?

AIDE: Nothing, sir.

MARCUS: Well, as I was saying, it was not a mistake, because even Khan’s rebellion will further our ends. By a stroke of good fortune, he’s gone to ground on Kronos, the Klingon home world.

AIDE: Why would he do that? He could have fled to anywhere in space. Why pick a planet where humans are persona non grata?

MARCUS: It doesn’t matter! What’s important is that we now have an excuse to dispatch the Enterprise to bombard Kronos after first sabotaging the warp core so she can’t slip away afterward. That will ensure that the Klingons identify her as a Starfleet vessel and declare war on the Federation just like we want them to. Brilliant, eh?

AIDE: Well, sir … permission to speak freely?

MARCUS: Yes.

AIDE: Blowing the hell out of an inhabited planet just to kill one fugitive isn’t a very Federation-y thing to do. I mean, it’s kind of like terrorism or a war crime. Aren’t you worried that somebody higher up will countermand your orders? Or that Kirk and his crew will refuse to carry them out? Or that Engineering will discover the sabotage early on?

What I’m thinking is, we’ve got our own secret starship parked in our secret shipyard behind Saturn. We could make a surprise attack on Kronos ourselves, make sure the Klingons blame Starfleet, and run away before they get their act together to counterattack. That way, it’s less complicated, and we’re really in control of the operation.

MARCUS: Intriguing … but we’ll stick with my plan. There’s a reason I’m an admiral, you know.

AIDE (muttering): Convoluted thinking?

’MAN OF STEEL’

GENERAL ZOD: So here’s my plan. We threaten the people of Earth to force Kal-El to surrender the Codex. Brilliant, eh?

JAX-UR: Well, sir … permission to speak freely?

ZOD: Proceed.

JAX-UR: Kal-El had no part in the conflicts back on Krypton. As far as I can see, he has no reason to prevent us from using the Codex to bring about the rebirth of our race. He might even like it. Maybe all we have to do is ask nicely.

ZOD: A novel approach. But extortion is kind of my thing, and even if it weren’t, we’d still find ourselves in conflict with Kal-El when he discovered we mean to exterminate the Earthlings.

JAX-UR: We do? Why?

ZOD: To claim this world for our own.

JAX-UR: You remember we’ve got a spaceship, right? We can go find a different planet … oh, wait, I get it. The humans already have cities and such that we can use.

ZOD: No, that’s not it. When we heighten the Earth’s gravity, it will smash the existing infrastructure.

JAX-UR: Why would we increase the gravity?

ZOD: Obviously, so we can live just as we did on Krypton!

JAX-UR: You know, about that … I was talking to Faora and Nam-Ek, and we all think being able to fly is pretty cool. Super-strength and invulnerability are cool. Wouldn’t it be better to keep these new powers?

ZOD: No! Everything must be exactly as it was on Krypton!

JAX-UR: Right. Because that worked out so well the first time.

’PACIFIC RIM’

OVERLORD HONKGRUNT (commander of the invading forces on the far side of the Breach): So here’s my plan. We start out by sending relatively weak kaijus through to the other universe and sending them relatively infrequently. Gradually, over the course of a number of years, we increase both the strength of the monsters and the frequency of the incursions. Ultimately, we’ll be sending mighty beasts across so often that the humans won’t be able to withstand them. Brilliant, eh?

HONKGRUNT’S AIDE: Well, Many-Eyed One … permission to speak freely?

HONKGRUNT: If you must.

AIDE: If we proceed as you suggest, aren’t we giving the humans time to adapt to the threat? They could invent new weapons — giant robots, maybe — that are a match for the kaijus. They might even study the Breach and discover how to close it.

How about if we breed the mightiest war beasts we can create right from the get-go and keep every one of them on this side of the portal until we have enough to send through hundreds or even thousands all at once? That way, we wipe out the whole human race in one great onslaught they never had a chance to prepare for.

HONKGRUNT: I have no tolerance for subordinates who imagine themselves cleverer than I. Report to the kitchen and tell my chef to prepare your flesh for my evening repast.

AIDE: You gave me permission to speak freely!

HONKGRUNT: And now you must face the consequences.

And so it goes in movie after movie, and perhaps we should be glad. The day humanity encounters a sensible nemesis is likely the day when we’ll really be in trouble.

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