Saturday, July 07, 2007

Arrival and a doubt

The Arrival (1996) is a fast paced alien invasion movie.
It does not have presidents preaching patriotic feelgood early in the morning, no laser beams causing widespread mayhem, no tentacled monsters.
It does have conspiracy, complete with men in black (actually gray overalls), black speakers going bdddrrrrrp in an observatory, huge radio antenna arrays, a geeky astronomer not afraid to follow his instincts and a satisfying ending.

It is midway between two extremes.

What would I personally like an alien invasion movie to be like? Quiet
real terror mixed with the paranoia of Philip K Dick novels, real hard-sf technology - no blinking-lights-ray-guns, and a potent dose of wonder, all splashed on a canvas of a start studded night sky. A galaxy spanning plot.

Zane Zaminski (played by Charlie Sheen) has this uncanny resemblance to Dr. Freeman of the famed game Half-Life, but the situations don't really match much.

A thought on the aliens' structure. They are humanoid, but their knees bend the other way. Like kangaroos. Like all quadrupeds. The hind legs of a kangaroo or a cheetah are extremely powerful. For running, while catching prey or while avoiding being caught as one. That's how they have evolved. Which brings me to my question. Let's forget about the scientific validity of the movie for a moment. Would any naturally evolved beings develop such hind legs and still be bipeds? and vice versa? Or am I missing something here?

6 comments:

Srinivas said...

Well to an extent all these Chimps kind of do have strong hind legs and also do a lot of things on two legs. To an extent they bridge the gap but their running speed is not much compared to Deers/Cheetas/Lions.

skroderider said...

Your comment actually led me to see my doubt in a clearer light - so I'll rephrase my question.

Would any naturally evolved beings develop "backward" knees and be bipeds? Or would any naturally evolved beings evolve to be bipeds and develop "backward" knees? The bottomline here being - are backward knees comfortable (or advantageous at all) for bipedal walking motion?

Srinivas said...

Well i don't think thats how its designed for. But I guess you could easily walk backwards with sufficient practice. That only leaves us to question the situation of eyes. If we had bird like eyes would it be more easier? The birds don't seem to think so!

skroderider said...

It's not walking backwards - it's walking forward where your knees bend the other way (to humans).
My primary assumption was that this kind of leg structure would only develop if evolution favoured it - in other words, if it were advantageous for the organism. Is it easy
1. to walk fast with such legs (say in running from predators) and
2. be a biped
at the same time?

Srinivas said...

Does Ostrich have reverse bent knee??
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/ostrich.html

skroderider said...

Yes. This picture shows it actually bending it -
http://www.ostrich.org.uk/images/Oscar.jpg