In the Oscar-nominated film Arrival, 12 alien ships, uh, arrive on locations all over Earth. Due to some wacky sitcom miscommunication and hijinks, we end up with a Chinese general about to go full Independence Day on the peaceful aliens' hentai monster-looking asses.
That's not ink.
Fortunately, Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a linguist, finally deciphers the aliens' language. Which allows those that know it to experience time in a non-linear manner -- like Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen, but without the screaming blue genitals. Using glimpses of her and the general's shared future, Banks is able to convince him not to go full Pullman and saves the day.
"Aww, I already had the badass speech ready and everything."
Except that, not every vision she has is a good one. Among her future snapshots are:
- Getting married and having a daughter (that's good).
- Her husband leaving her, and the kid, because she tells him about her vision of their daughter dying young from cancer (that's bad).
- Her writing a book about the alien language, thus teaching others how to see their futures (oh, shit).
We're talking about billions of people now having future visions of horrifying personal events, from murder to walking in on their grandma "watching" The Price Is Right. We can't even treat post-traumatic stress disorder effectively. How do we handle pre-traumatic stress disorder? And that's only with events that are universally looked upon as bad. How about things which are subjectively bad? Thanks to the aliens' "gift," it looks like Earth is headed toward a more unified global existence. What's stopping racists and jingoists worldwide from saying, "Fuck that noise," and creating mini-Holocausts all over the place? They may not succeed, but they sure as hell can try.
And what about free choice? Hell, we had to put a spoiler in front of this entry so people that haven't seen the movie wouldn't scream bloody murder. What happens when someone spoils your whole fucking life? This isn't some "Jon Snow is Rey's dad" bullshit. It would be the biggest possible invasion of privacy imaginable. The argument on either side is the type of divide that would tear the fabric of civilized humanity as we know it. On second thought, maybe blowing the shit out of them was the right idea.
Next time just get us an iTunes card, assholes.
Logan Trent is Cracked's Head Layout Editor. Follow him on Twitter.
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