What do we pull out of the toolbox when our civilization is threatened by malevolent forces beyond our comprehension? I’ve got some ideas.
Every Friday, I’m compiling a list of five things that meet one criterion. “What is that criterion,” you ask? Well, it’s going to change every week and you’re just going to have to try and keep up.
Five Weapons We Should Use in the Event of a Giant Monster or Alien Attack
Whether during the War of the Worlds or when The Blob was swallowing folks by the truckload, the human race has generally been depicted to have some semblance of an impressive-yet-ultimately futile military response to unbelievable threats.
The problem is that in nearly every monster or alien invasion narrative, the militaries of the world fail because they seemingly only have three basic settings on their panic switches:
- a few ground troops with assault rifles
- missiles fired from fighter planes
- nuclear weapons
Why movies so wrought with fiction and imagination neglect to get any more creative or *gasp* realistic when it comes to the human counteroffensives, I will never know.
The shortsightedness of the military figures presented in these movies ultimately leads to discussions about what we, as a species, would/should do and how we would fare when faced with an attack from a giant spider or a fleet of extraterrestrial destroyers (don’t act like this hasn’t crossed your mind). What do we pull out of the toolbox when our civilization hangs in the balance? I’ve got some ideas.
5. Focus All Your Energy
As of 2009, most countries are sticking with traditional munitions like bullets and missiles and bombs. You probably knew this much. But all of those countries are also looking to the future, in the form of lasers and sonic weapons. And if those are our future weapons, then we should probably assume there would be no more perfect time to unleash our own directed-energy weapons than on the always-impressively-evolved foes science-fiction authors swear are coming our way.
This idea isn’t as crazy as it sounds, either. For one, Boeing recently destroyed a target with a laser strapped to a plane. Really. Based on the pinpoint accuracy and effectiveness of that tool, King Kong wouldn’t even get up to the 10th floor of the Empire State Building, if he threw his little temper tantrum today.
A less-destructive but just as effective method of using focused energy (radiation, in this case, rather than the light in a laser) to subdue an opponent is the US military’s “Active Denial System,” which is basically just a giant microwave heat gun, causing extreme pain in any life form caught in the crosshairs.
Acoustic weapons have only been used in crowd control situations thus far but it’s obvious that if we turn them up to 11, we would probably damage a lot more than a set of eardrums. Remember that part in The Incredible Hulk when they slowed down The Hulk with only sonic weapons? There’s your proof; I mean, that movie was basically a documentary, anyway.
4. Kill It! Kill It With Fire!
Napalm may smell good in the morning but it’s a thing of the past. The current preferred incendiary weapons generally involve oxidizing agents and white phosphorus (in addition to the standard kerosene/benzene mixture). So, basically, now we’ve got super napalm.
What do those newfangled ingredients mean when it comes to knocking a monster on its ass? The oxidizing agents mean the ignited fires will not stop burning very easily (like terrifying trick birthday candles). And as for white phosphorus… well, let’s put it this way: white phosphorus is so serious, it has been deemed inhumane for a military to use it as a weapon during combat – the sticky, incandescent particles easily vaporize flesh while also working the chemical’s poisonous properties into the bloodstream as the deadly smoke fills the lungs and eyes of the target and anyone nearby. It’s pretty hardcore.
Curiously, this can’t-miss option was never even considered in a flick like Godzilla when a giant flesh-and-blood monster was stomping tanks like autumn leaves on a driveway.
3. A Gatling Gun with Wings
Even though the A-10 Thunderbolt II is armed to the teeth and has been around for decades, I cannot recall it ever being featured in a movie when a bulletproof monster or UFO threatens a metropolis. I find this omission curious because the Thunderbolt is an airplane that is literally built around a chain gun.
I don’t care what sort of armored spaceship or thick monster exoskeleton you’re dealing with, I think we should at least give the airplanes that can fire 3900 uranium-depleted 30mm rounds per minute a shot (or a few thousand shots, more accurately), don’t you?
2. Rail Against It
This is the most unfamiliar concept on the list (it’s still largely in development) and as such, I think we should really hype up just how awesome it would be to finally unveil it dramatically after the Martians blow up our famous landmarks.
A rail gun is a device that depends on electrical currents to hurl a large non-explosive projectile down two electrified rails at incredible speeds (like, say, eight times the speed of sound). It sounds a bit strange but basically it is a giant gun that uses electricity instead of gunpowder. It would do some seriously awesome damage to any being stupid enough to stand in its way.
1. Let’s Punch Right Through It
For some reason, when it comes to giant science-fiction foes, our movie heroes only appear to be interested in literally scraping their opponent’s surface.
In Independence Day, when the deflector shields are finally down, how does the remaining American Air Force finally engage a 15-mile wide spaceship? With air-to-air missiles designed to shoot down other jets and larger planes (neither of which are 15-mile wide spaceships). When bullets and rockets and carpet bombs were doing nothing but pissing off the Cloverfield monster, nobody ever thought about trying something different – no mention of harpoon missiles or poison gas or anything. In my admittedly amateur expertise, the answer to both of these conundrums seemed pretty obvious: how about something that slices through the monstrous, previously-impermeable exterior and reduce all the insides to goo?
When giant warships and creature(s) the size of a skyscraper seriously threaten us, don’t think we’re not going to quickly reach for the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 15-ton bomb carrying over 2 tons of explosives with the ability to penetrate 200 feet of reinforced concrete (and if not that, maybe one of MOP’s predecessors, the Mother and Father of All Bombs).
And if none of those work… then I guess we have no choice but try and infect them with smallpox.