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View Full Version : how come most sci-fi aliens are tall and lanky??



Plat
2003-Dec-03, 06:12 PM
how come no big, muscled up ones....??.....predator was an exception

Glom
2003-Dec-03, 06:15 PM
Teal'c!

tuffel999
2003-Dec-03, 06:24 PM
Teal'c isn't an alien he is human!

Glom
2003-Dec-03, 06:29 PM
No, he's Jaffa.

Sotos
2003-Dec-03, 06:31 PM
Because they don't spend most of their time sitting on the sofa watching TV and eating Twinkies?

tuffel999
2003-Dec-03, 06:34 PM
No, he's Jaffa.

Which are humans who carry larval gould(spelling?).

So he is a human with a big parasite!

Glom
2003-Dec-03, 06:35 PM
At best, he's a GM human.

tuffel999
2003-Dec-03, 06:37 PM
But he is still human modified or not. His lineage is from earth.

kylenano
2003-Dec-03, 06:56 PM
Vogons?

Roy Batty
2003-Dec-03, 07:44 PM
The Blob :D8)

Lycus
2003-Dec-03, 07:54 PM
Why can't Teal'c take that decal off his head? I always figured that he's trying to cover up a bad mole or something.

Waarthog
2003-Dec-03, 07:58 PM
Gorns?

Earthbound
2003-Dec-03, 08:04 PM
Why can't Teal'c take that decal off his head? I always figured that he's trying to cover up a bad mole or something.

Because his is "branded" into his head. When Jaffa move up to the level where they are leading other Jaffa their "tatoo'd" symbol is "branded" into the forehead. So, even if it was removed he'd have one nasty scar.

Eroica
2003-Dec-03, 09:04 PM
Those giant aliens in Alien?

mike alexander
2003-Dec-03, 10:27 PM
They sent the basketball team in the saucer.

For that matter, ever notice how those huge, slanted eyes are actually much too big to fit in their heads if they are spherical? Which means the eyeballs are ellipsoids? Which means they can't look to the side without turning their heads?

daver
2003-Dec-03, 11:11 PM
They sent the basketball team in the saucer.

For that matter, ever notice how those huge, slanted eyes are actually much too big to fit in their heads if they are spherical? Which means the eyeballs are ellipsoids? Which means they can't look to the side without turning their heads?

No, i didn't notice that.

Hmm. Maybe the eyeballs are flexible--rather than having a lens, they change focus by increasing or decreasing the distance to the retina (by looking to the side or straight ahead).

Oh. Were you talking about the huge aliens in Alien, or the generic aliens we see in CEot3K or the courtroom scene in B5 or the Asgard in SG1?

mike alexander
2003-Dec-03, 11:25 PM
Yo, Daver

Oh. Were you talking about the huge aliens in Alien, or the generic aliens we see in CEot3K or the courtroom scene in B5 or the Asgard in SG1?

Don't even know what some of those are, but more like the bighead skinnies in CloseEnc or Whitley Streiber. The kind you see in phosphorescent plastic on keychains.

The eyeballs (sic) could rotate up or down, but not side to side. Of course, they probably just use clairvoyance.

tuffel999
2003-Dec-03, 11:39 PM
The B5 courtroom scene involves on of those very type of stereotyped aliens. It really was quite funny because the human was suing the alien because his great great great grandfather was abducted by them and tested on and sent back but everyone thought he was crazy. It was really funny to me anyway.


I say that all the aliens are tall because of union rules......why not?

Lycus
2003-Dec-03, 11:58 PM
The B5 courtroom scene involves on of those very type of stereotyped aliens. It really was quite funny because the human was suing the alien because his great great great grandfather was abducted by them and tested on and sent back but everyone thought he was crazy. It was really funny to me anyway.

Oh, I remember that scene. When the alien was asked to give his argument, he just held up a card that had one of the crop circle designs drawn on it.

tuffel999
2003-Dec-04, 12:05 AM
That is the one.....my girlfriend had no clue why i was laughing so hard.

DreadCthulhu
2003-Dec-04, 01:26 AM
Most Klingons are fairly bulky.

DataCable
2003-Dec-04, 07:26 AM
The skinny, large-eyed "Asgard" variety of aliens are typically referred to as "Greys," in UFO vernacular.

As to the tall & lanky bit... Ewoks and Jawas come to mind...

captain swoop
2003-Dec-04, 08:53 AM
Ok f rom SG1, big aliens


Unas, Reetou, the shapechangers from Foothold and Urgo (although he was only a mental projection)

Mellow
2003-Dec-04, 10:46 AM
Platinum, don't worry, I kinda agreed with the premise of your question. But it seems your arguement has been shredded.

I still agree that the thin, big headded, big eyed alien prevails as the strongest common alien image.... lack of imagination to blame I expect.

AstroSmurf
2003-Dec-04, 11:09 AM
John Travolta wasn't all that slender either (ahem).

And of course the Mondochewans(sp?) from Fifth Element.

darkhunter
2003-Dec-04, 11:53 AM
Piersons Puppeteers, the Pak,

Or are we sticking to movies?

Jabba the Hutt, Watto,....

captain swoop
2003-Dec-04, 12:20 PM
Tinman and the Crystal Entity also the things from 'Encounter at Farpoint' spring to mind from TNG

eburacum45
2003-Dec-04, 01:17 PM
Tall skinny aliens come from early 20th century attempts at exobiology; since Mars was believed to have intelligent aliens making canals, and the gravity there is low, and the only shape that early science fiction authors ever seemed to consider for intelligent aliens was humanoid, the tall spindly legged alien type became a stereotype.

Of course early nonhumanoid aliens also were being dreamt of by such great writers as Olaf Stapleton at that time.

Conrad
2003-Dec-04, 04:03 PM
Ah! How about the chief baddy in "Robot Monster"??

And the inverted-ice cream cone alien in (I think) "Zontar - the Thing From Venus"??

And of course, The Thing, from "The Thing"

eburacum45
2003-Dec-04, 04:35 PM
And the inverted-ice cream cone alien in (I think) "Zontar - the Thing From Venus"??

The monster looks sort of like an inverted ice-cream cone with teeth around the bottom. It looks like a (phew!), like a teepee or . . . sort of a rounded off pup-tent affair, and, uh, it's got fangs on the base of it, I don't know why but it's a very threatening sight, and then he's got a frown and, you know, ugly mouth and everything, and there's this one scene where the, uh, monster is coming out of a cave, see? There's always a scene where they come out of a cave, at least once, and the rest of the cast . . . it musta been made around the 1950's, the lapels are about like that wide, the ties are about that wide and about this short, and they always have a little revolver that they're gonna shoot the monster with, and there is always a girl who falls down and twists her ankle . . . heh-hey! Of course there is! You know how they are, the weaker sex and everything, twisting their ankle on behalf of the little ice-cream cone

Swift
2003-Dec-04, 06:27 PM
Worse than the tall, thin aliens (I agree, they are a common stereotype) are the cute, furry, nice aliens, like the Ewoks in Star Wars. I want to see the movie where the cute furries are mad, blood-thirsty killers and the 4 meter high spider with venom dripping from its fangs is a peaceful, chess-playing poet. Tim Allen's funny take-off on Star Trek (sorry, can't remember the name) had a funny gag along those lines.

Earthbound
2003-Dec-04, 08:38 PM
Worse than the tall, thin aliens (I agree, they are a common stereotype) are the cute, furry, nice aliens, like the Ewoks in Star Wars. I want to see the movie where the cute furries are mad, blood-thirsty killers and the 4 meter high spider with venom dripping from its fangs is a peaceful, chess-playing poet. Tim Allen's funny take-off on Star Trek (sorry, can't remember the name) had a funny gag along those lines.

Galaxy Quest

Ilya
2003-Dec-05, 02:05 AM
Worse than the tall, thin aliens (I agree, they are a common stereotype) are the cute, furry, nice aliens, like the Ewoks in Star Wars. I want to see the movie where the cute furries are mad, blood-thirsty killers...

"Critters"

Wingnut Ninja
2003-Dec-05, 07:21 PM
As to the tall & lanky bit... Ewoks and Jawas come to mind...

Or Wookies, for that matter.

Most actual sci-fi tends to stay away from the classic skinny grey alien motif.

Captain Kidd
2003-Dec-05, 07:30 PM
The B5 courtroom scene involves on of those very type of stereotyped aliens. It really was quite funny because the human was suing the alien because his great great great grandfather was abducted by them and tested on and sent back but everyone thought he was crazy. It was really funny to me anyway.

Oh, I remember that scene. When the alien was asked to give his argument, he just held up a card that had one of the crop circle designs drawn on it.

They're named the Vree (I think), and I loved the way they were handled. Galatic jokers, they love playing tricks on 'backward' planets. Hence why only rednecks and loners see them. Crop circles were just pretty pictures to watch us go bonkers tryig to figure them out (along with probing). Cool way, I thought, to handle all the weird and outlandish UFO sightings. Just a big joke on a planetary scale. :)

captain swoop
2003-Dec-08, 09:33 AM
They're named the Vree (I think), and I loved the way they were handled. Galatic jokers, they love playing tricks on 'backward' planets. Hence why only rednecks and loners see them. Crop circles were just pretty pictures to watch us go bonkers tryig to figure them out (along with probing). Cool way, I thought, to handle all the weird and outlandish UFO sightings. Just a big joke on a planetary scale. :)


Borrowed from the Hitch Hikers.

'Teasers' they were called, bored rich kids looking for a bit of fun.

daver
2003-Dec-08, 04:50 PM
'Teasers' they were called, bored rich kids looking for a bit of fun.
Ah, that was my guess for Close Encounters.

constible
2003-Dec-08, 05:37 PM
Skinny actors are are more plentiful than big, chubby actors.

And make-up to make skinny actors appear big, fat, whatever costs more money.

tracer
2003-Dec-11, 01:30 AM
Tall skinny aliens come from early 20th century attempts at exobiology; since Mars was believed to have intelligent aliens making canals, and the gravity there is low, and the only shape that early science fiction authors ever seemed to consider for intelligent aliens was humanoid, the tall spindly legged alien type became a stereotype.
Okay, that kinds makes sense ... but why were these same Martian aliens usually depicted as green? Ya can't tell me the early exobiologists expected walking, talking, breathing aliens to be covered in chlorophyll like plants.

DataCable
2003-Dec-11, 06:21 AM
...but why were these same Martian aliens usually depicted as green?

Probably unrelated... but I once heard that the reason Frankenstein's monster is frequently depicted as green is that the Boris Karloff (or perhaps earlier) film was sometimes screened with a green bulb in the projector to make it look more "eerie," and it stuck.

Green Knight
2003-Dec-15, 07:43 AM
Farscape is one series that went out of its way to portray some cool looking aliens, with the Pilots, Hynerians, Leviathans, the Scarrans - and the list goes on.

zebo-the-fat
2003-Dec-21, 10:53 PM
Most film/TV aliens seem to have 2 arms, 2 legs and one head. Is this because the film makers are lazy or just have no imagination?
Or are 3 legged 2 headed actors just too expensive?

tuffel999
2003-Dec-24, 12:33 AM
Or are 3 legged 2 headed actors just too expensive?

They aren't union so they can not use them.

Zamboni
2003-Dec-25, 05:48 AM
Felt like being serious for a moment...

In terms of humanoids (similar to humans), aliens that are more advanced tends to put less weight on physical might rather than technological might. This usually (in the human deduction) leads to your so called "tall and lanky" characters. However even in our society today, body size and shape varies to a great degree, at least in small parts. For example, body builders, wrestlers, strongmen (and women) tend to have larger muscle mass than a regular civilian. This is mostly affected by their occupation in which such appearance is required.

In theory should an alien civilization develope similar in ways of the humans, their society should consist at least as much variety as our own, if not more. Movies tend to protray aliens as races of singular occupations, and mostly militaristic beings. In those cases the aliens tend to have physical appearances that might suggest great strength or dexterity, for example, the Klingons or the Aliens from Alien. Other times when the invader tends to use their technological might their appearance also change to acommodate such scenario; for example the Martians in Mars Attacks.

Generally the above formula (physical alien = big muscle and vice versa) usually holds true. Although in the case of non-violent aliens the shape and sizes protrayed are for lack of better words, out of this world. Parasitic life forms, floating bubbles, metalic entities, and even translucent energy fields have all graced the screens once or twice. Since the idea behind these aliens is that they come from a much different background or in a much difference enviroment than we are, there really isn't an applied method to identify or catagorize their appearance.

DaveOlden
2003-Dec-25, 08:26 AM
... ever notice how those huge, slanted eyes are actually much too big to fit in their heads if they are spherical? Which means the eyeballs are ellipsoids? Which means they can't look to the side without turning their heads?

It strikes me that they could turn their heads to the side, but with a tilt to level things out. So they would tilt-and-turn to look at you. Then suddenly tilt-whip their heads to see your friend Bob.

Boy, this tells us a lot about their culture. Constantly tilting their heads and turning, over the centuries, they would have developed the impression, to any outsider, that they're all puzzled. (And a not a little odd.)

As the behavioural sciences long ago established, puzzlement is usually indicative of curiosity. [I can't cite the source on this one, you'll have to trust me.] And wherever there's curiosity, somewhere lurking nearby is a question.

Or is there? One could easily and quite safely assume, that flying around the universe and abducting a few locals everywhere, would take not only a lot of fuel, but a lot of skill and knowledge. I'm sure they'd know, after doing it so long, how much they know, otherwise how would they know what they know and be able to pull it off?

Which makes me all the more curious as to why they're so puzzled.

Maybe they're bluffing.

But we still haven't figured what got those eyes to that angle in the first place. They are usually at about a 30-degree angle up from the horizontal, if I remember the pictures correctly. Whereas our visual horizon is flat, from 0-degrees to 180-degrees, theirs would be from 30-degrees to 240-degrees and shaped like a wide shallow "V". (Making it that much faster for artists on their world to paint valleys.)

Or perhaps it's an evolved feature. They may have indeed been running around abducting long before Ed Wood came up (quickly I admit) with Plan 9 from Outer Space. After all, he was hardly the first person to think up aliens you had a hard time figuring out.

I propose they are natural abductors, eyes angling up over generations to better see that oncoming flying predator about to abduct from 30-degrees up and to the right.*
Which of course would mean that at one time, millions of years ago, they had level eyes.

So in the ancient past, a proto-alien would have, not needing to tilt their heads, and in no way puzzled, simply turned and looked at you.

Ah the good ol' days.

* Of course, carrying this forward, they would , given a predator's adaption to steeper and steeper attack angles, eventually develope vertical eyes. Then they'd have to lay on their sides. Might make them drowsy. Which is much better than puzzled. Or is it?

Plat
2003-Dec-27, 06:35 AM
dont tell me a predator or an alien couldnt beat the ish out of an alien from signs or whatever

§rv
2003-Dec-28, 09:43 PM
I recently looked at The Fifth Element....or at least I started to. The aliens in that movie were like turtles walking on their hind legs....slow moving, awkward and very mechanical. They were really lame. I mean, couldn't the director have come up with better looking aliens? I really doubt that aliens who have the technology to create the 'weapon' would be so clumsy. :-?

Plat
2003-Dec-28, 11:11 PM
In theory should an alien civilization develope similar in ways of the humans, their society should consist at least as much variety as our own, if not more. Movies tend to protray aliens as races of singular occupations, and mostly militaristic beings. In those cases the aliens tend to have physical appearances that might suggest great strength or dexterity, for example, the Klingons or the Aliens from Alien. Other times when the invader tends to use their technological might their appearance also change to acommodate such scenario; for example the Martians in Mars Attacks.


so true, dont forget the Predator