Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ video pays homage to ‘Aliens,’ ‘Superman,’ more

March 01, 2011 | 5:54 p.m.
gaga Lady Gagas Born This Way video pays homage to Aliens, Superman, more

Lady Gaga in "Born This Way" Credit: Interscope

Lady Gaga has always claimed she was a geek in high school. Based on her new video for “Born This Way,” a sci-fi mini-epic with stylistic nods to “Aliens,” “Superman” and “Metropolis,” we believe her. (For music critic Ann Powers‘ take on the video, check out our sister blog, Pop & Hiss.) 

In the seven-minute origin story, the singer’s “Mother Monster” emerges as a nightclub-ready heir to the extraterrestrial queen from James Cameron‘s “Aliens.” She’s nasty, maternal and ready to produce a whole new race. Gaga introduces the video’s extra-planetary premise in voice-over, saying, “On G.O.A.T., a government-owned alien territory in space, a birth of magnificent and magical proportions took place.”

G.O.A.T. sounds like it might share a system with LV-426, the planet where Sigourney Weaver‘s Ripley and the rest of Nostromo crew pick up trouble in “Alien.” Gaga births her own embryos, a gooey approximation of the ones Ripley torches in her showdown with the alien queen in the sequel, and Mother Monster morphs into a spider-like creature resembling the biomechanoid designs by Swiss artist H.R. Giger that were featured in the “Alien” franchise.

Gaga and her director, fashion photographer Nick Knight, make other cinematic references in this genre mash-up. “Born This Way” opens with Bernard Herrmann‘s score from “Vertigo” and the singer sitting astride a crystalline throne straight out of Richard Donner‘s version of Krypton in “Superman.” (This being Gaga, Krypton is naturally gay-friendly — the whole scene is encased in a pink triangle, and a sparkly unicorn gallops by).

Looking like a sister to one of Guillermo del Toro‘s nasty “Pan’s Labyrinth” fairies, Gaga sports an extra eyeball on her chin, and when she withdraws a gun from her crotch, it echoes Rose McGowan‘s machine gun leg in Robert Rodriguez‘s “Planet Terror.” The teeming dancers around her resemble the gyrating masses of people in Fritz Lang‘s “Metropolis.” And even Zombie Boy, a Canadian fan of George Romero‘s movies who has covered himself in full-body zombie tattoos, makes an appearance, with Gaga wearing zombie makeup alongside him.

Besides providing plenty of fodder for cinema nerds, the video has served another purpose for Gaga, publicizing her “Born This Way” album, which is due May 23. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

— Rebecca Keegan


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10 Responses to Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ video pays homage to ‘Aliens,’ ‘Superman,’ more

  1. James says:

    What a great music video. The art direction and visuals were very nice!

  2. Pro-Life says:

    I checked out the video with an open mind & while I thought that the prelude to the song certainly was visually interesting, I realized very early on that her concept bears a strong resemblance to that of a far more talented yet far lesser known artist. I am speaking of course of Janelle Monae. I've known now for quite some time that Lady Gaga is profoundly unoriginal but I find it quite pathetic that her new gimmick is nearly identical, at least visually, to the concept art that Jane has been imagining for the better part of four years now.

  3. Drayke says:

    Janelle Monae was referencing Metropolis, as was Gaga. Niether of them came up with it. It's a very old, very famous film that is quite often referenced in pop culture. Both Janelle and Gaga took elements from the film and made them their own.

  4. Howard says:

    Did anyone else notice that the musical opening of the new Lady Gaga video steals an original music score by the legendary composer Bernard Herrmann? (I am, of course, speaking about the copyrighted ASCAP music score for Alfred Hitchcock's film Vertigo, which Hermann composed in 1958 and is used here without proper acknowledgement.) Or is this breach of copyright considered to be a homage and therefore Stefanie Germanotta does not have to pay publishing royalties to Herrmann's estate?

    • windrider2 says:

      Steals? That's the kind of accusation that gets people sued for libel. How do you know she didn't pay the royalty fees? How do you know she doesn't have the consent of his estate? The absence of credits is a bogus argument because music videos don't normally run credits. And in an era where nearly all hip hop and rap flagrantly steals other people's music (its called sampling and proper credit is not always given and certainly never in the music videos). Throwing words on top of a completely sampled soundtrack (Madonna did it, for all intents and purposes, in Vogue) is the norm in that genre.

      Besides, Gaga is a very canny business manager as well as artist. She knows the legal consequences, probably way better than you do. I'm very confident that she took care of that business long ago.

  5. John Lennon says:

    Her madonna rip off music still sucks. All hype, no substance.

    • asfda says:

      no substance???
      my friend diedre was considering commiting suicide and then she saw gaga sing an acoustic version of born this way at the monster ball and now realizes it doesn't matter how much people put you down
      gaga changes the lives of today's youth and her message is beautiful
      youre probably a bitter old fool that can't accept the fact there is a new queen of pop
      besides gaga has a better voice than madonna ever did

  6. danilo andres says:

    she is the best i love him…..
    you know something
    i never was meet to one peolple that can do all lady gaga do
    i believe on she and im shure of she is willi be the best pop start for ever

  7. movieguru808 says:

    Gag you are soooo weird! anyway…i dont know how i feel about Gaga anymore…yes the girl can sing but everything else about her…i think she is tacky…and unprofessional

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