Monday, October 13, 2003

Dale Keiger's got a post up on a Guardian article which contains a throwaway line comparing Beowulf to Jaws. Not to be outdone, I thought I'd share my Beowulf theory. Or, more accurately, it's my Alien theory, since it's much more about Alien than Beowulf.

Beowulf fights three monsters: Grendel, Grendel's mother (fought in her lair, an underwater cave), and the dragon, which kills him. Ripley fights three monsters: The Alien, the Alien Queen (fought underground), and the last Alien which, having gesticated in a dog, ran on all fours like a beast, mirroring the Chinese characterization of the dragon as midway between beasts and men, based on their having language, but running on four legs. And, like Beowulf, she dies after killing the last Alien.

I'd been promoting this theory for years when they decided to make a new Alien movie, Alien: Resurrection. My friends were convinced they were witnessing the death of a perfectly good theory, but I had enough of a background in critical theory to refuse to change a theory in the face of conflicting facts. Luckily, the latest installment featured a Ripley that had become more of a monster, thanks to DNA experiments gone wrong, and a monster humanized by the same process. The answer to my problem was easy to find.

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