Monday, August 31, 2009

Astronaut Theology: Invasion

I picked up a DVD of Invasion, a 1997 TV miniseries based on the novel, written the same year by Robin Cook. I didn't hold much hope for it- the cast wasn't filled with heavy hitters (Luke Perry, Kim Catrall and Rebecca Gayheart are the leads) and the production values on these sorts of things were rarely cinematic, to put it mildly.

That being said, Invasion is a must-see for Secret Sun readers, since a lot of the memes we've been puzzling over the past year and a half or so are all over this film, not the least of which are the 17 enigma, the Stargate and the Green Sun. This review is lousy with spoilers, so I'd recommend you track down Invasion and come back if you want to be surprised. However, the plot itself is pretty rote, so there aren't really many surprises to spoil here.

Here's your first hit- the action takes place entirely on the 33rd parallel, opening in Phoenix (which is on Interstate 17), taking a short detour to Atlanta, and then ending back up in the Arizona desert. Given the theories about the Babylon Stargate- also on the 33rd parallel - I'll drop a major spoiler here and let you guys know that the plot of the film revolves around the construction of a Stargate (though in Invasion it's called "The Gateway").

Here's another hit- the sunrise, which I've often wondered isn't a symbol representing the return of the alien gods. And strangely enough, we see a sunrise when Luke's character is first infected with the alien virus, beginning the process of colonization.

In Invasion, Luke Perry's character┬║ is the first to be infected with the alien virus, so he becomes the unlikely leader of the alien awakening. His girlfriend is played by Rebecca Gayheart, who was at the peak of her doe-eyed deliciousness circa 1997. The 17s are everywhere in this film- note that both 917 and 4049 add up to the Magi Number.

In fact, the invasion officially begins at exactly 00:17:00. How about that? (I'll be a wiseass and point out that 1+1+15 gives us the Magi Number as well).

Apropos of absolutely nothing, there's this sequence where we zoom in on a falcon, and then pan down and zoom directly into Luke's eyes. Strangely enough, I was just thinking about the Eye of Horus representing a flying saucer not a few hours before watching Invasion, and here we see this trenchant bit of symbolism. It's one of those moments where I realize that I pick this stuff up because I've been studying it for so long, but it's probably not put in for my- or the average viewer's- benefit.

And wouldn't you just know it? Cook is also the author of Sphinx, which dealt with an artifact from the time of Pharaoh Seti I leading to the discovery of a lost tomb. Seti should ring bells for a lot of you, especially given our recent look at the founder of C-SETI, Dr. Steven Greer. I should mention that Robin Cook is also a doctor.

This is another interesting coincidence; remember those shiny black rocks from Knowing? The ones that led the children to the cosmic arks that will help them escape Earth's destruction? Well, guess what...

...they're also featured in Invasion. The black stones are the vectors that carry that the alien virus that awakens our extraterrestrial DNA, implanted within us in prehistoric times. It turns out the aliens have been cultivating this planet for billions of years, waiting for the biosphere to finally produce a species capable of constructing the Gateway.

Which sounds a lot like the Black Oil virus from The X-Files. And sure enough, Invasion also deals with human-alien hybrids. I have no doubt that Cook was influenced by The X-Files, and in turn, the ever-ravenous Chris Carter nicked some ideas back. As we learned in the I Want to Believe post, everything connects to something else with Mr. Carter, so it shouldn't surprise us that the actors who portrayed two key players in the XF AAT mytharc were first in Invasion- John Finn (Kritschgau from "The Sixth Extinction/Amor Fati") and Neal McDonough (who played Robert Comer in "Provenance" and "Providence").

McDonough plays a Bill Gates-type character, whose wealth is being used to acquire the land and materials necessary to construct the Gate-way. A decommissioned air base is selected for the project.

After the infection of Phoenix is successful, the alien spores are released all over the world. We see them raining over four different cities; Washington (with a beauty shot of the Washington Monument) New York (with the WTC there) London and Rome. Fascinating selection there, particularly for all of you parapolitics researchers out there.

People who have rh-Negative blood can't handle the alien virus and they are sent in 28 Days Later-type rages before succumbing to massive coronaries. That's what happens here, but I thought the timecode was interesting nonetheless.

The plot is pretty thin- a team of doctors try to develop an antibody to the alien virus in order to disinfect the hybrids at the Gateway and delay the inevitable colonization. That being said, I thought that little signifier behind Kim Catrall's head* was pretty amusing in light of the connections between alien experience and hallucinogens.

The team succeeds but the lead doctor- who's been treating his own infection- succumbs to a deadlier effect of the virus with 17 minutes left in the story. Bangs you over the head with the 17s, this movie does.

Green is the default color signifying aliens in movies, but I thought it a bit prescient that the alien ship engaging the Gateway strongly recalls a green sun. One might even interpret that this symbolic green sun is ringed, just as the sun of Ra was.

True to form, the invasion is repelled- but don't worry, they'll be back. A setup for a sequel, or something a little more Sirius? Maybe to answer that question, we should take a deeper look at Mr. Cook. He's an incredibly fascinating character.

Aside from being a doctor, a protege of the late Jacques Cousteau and a successful novelist (shades of the late Michael Crichton), Robin Cook is also on the Board of Trustees of the Wilson Center, aka The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Cook sits on the board with Obama Cabinet members Hillary Clinton and Kathleen Sibelius. That's what you call connected, son.

What's fascinating here is the mix of alien identity and esoteric symbolism in Invasion, coming from the pen of a heavy-hitter like Robin Cook. This ties directly into my monster manifesto from last year, Bringing It All Back Home, where I said this:
When you read the ancient texts - particularly the Sumerian and Egyptian- a picture becomes very clear- the gods descended from the heavens, created men and taught them the arts of civilization and then returned to the stars. Over time, scholars have seen all of this as metaphor. That's scholars for you. Everything is a metaphor.

But what if your business was power? Government, religion, the culture industry, the military- if you could somehow ingratiate yourself to these "gods" to the point that somehow they decide to align themselves with you, well, that would be the ultimate advantage. Wouldn't it? The question becomes how do you even contact these beings?
Now, there are a lot of theories about the periodic explosion of alien memes in the media, of which Invasion was part of. For my part, I don't know exactly what the agenda is behind it, but having lived through a few waves of UFOmania, I'm not much convinced of anyone else's theories either.

But I will say this: when you see an alien invasion movie, that's one thing. When it's embedded with all of this bizarre occult symbolism you see over and over and over again, that's another. When it's written by a guy plugged deep into the power structure, that gets my attention.†

I do think there are a lot of people out there who would very much like to contact alien beings and share in their power. But I still don't see any compelling evidence that anyone down here has, at least on any appreciable scale. But we certainly seem to rushing headlong towards something, and with Barackobamun there seems to be particular attention being paid to covering all of the right ritual/semiotic bases. What that adds up to, I can't rightly say. If you got a couple beers in me, I'd say that the symbols and the psychology tell me that the power players are expecting something big, and I'm not sure if they're sure how it will all go down.

I'll have more to say about Invasion in the future. In the meantime, I'd like to hear what you guys out there think. If you haven't seen it yet, drop what you're doing and get your hands on a copy.


┬║ Luke Perry's name is interesting- Luke is related to Lux (light), certainly appropriate in this film. "Perry" is of multiple origin, but my pet theory is that it could also be an Anglicization of Bereach, meaning "blessed."

*This is the second time in my life I've spent more than 5 minutes watching anything with Kim Catrall in it. I'd rather eat thumbtacks than watch Sex and the City.

Cook also spends a lot of time writing about infectious disease, which is the main plot device of Invasion. If that isn't grounds for a bit of worried speculation, I don't know what is.