If aliens were to visit earth, what would they see as the dominant species of the planet. That’s the narrative in this old film from 1985 at NZ On Screen looking at our car culture in an offbeat way.

The Dominant Species is a loopy look at the relationship between people and cars in 1975 Aotearoa … from an alien’s eye view. Nifty animations and FX intersperse the alien automotive anthropological survey of Mark IIs, VWs, anti-car activism and driveway car-washing. There’s a ladykilling Jesus Christ atop-a-motorcar dream sequence; and Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries scores a rugby match traffic jam (predating Apocalypse Now’s choppers).

The Dominant Species film

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  1. ” The trouble with most forms of transport, he thought, is basically one of them not being worth all the bother. On Earth — when there had been an Earth, before it was demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass — the problem had been with cars. The disadvantages involved in pulling lots of black sticky slime from out of the ground where it had been safely hidden out of harm’s way, turning it into tar to cover the land with, smoke to fill the air with and pouring the rest into the sea, all seemed to outweigh the advantages of being able to get more quickly from one place to another — particularly when the place you arrived at had probably become, as a result of this, very similar to the place you had left, i.e. covered with tar, full of smoke and short of fish. ”

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

  2. “You’re trying to tell me that they’re all going in the same direction, travelling to much the same destinations, and yet they’re all deliberately impeding the progress of each other by covering six square metres of space with a large, almost completely empty tin box?”
    “That’s exactly what we’re trying to tell you, boss”
    “You’re drunk!”

    Ben Elton, Gridlock

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