Music Video Review
By our guest blogger, Nick Hanover
At its start, the video for Katy Perry's Kanye collaboration "E.T." seems to be referencing both Wall-E and the Fallout franchise. The Wall-E components come from the garbage heap we look down on as the video starts while the Fallout traits are visible in the video's use of the '50s radio sounds and fiery symbolism so key to that that classic game series' intro cut scenes. One of those references would be weird on its own in a Katy Perry clip but the two combined is all kinds of crazy. Far odder, though, is the fact that the video swiftly abandons that hybrid style in favor of some super slick aerial action.
What starts as some kind of fatalist vision instead becomes a CGI-heavy love story between a shape shifting alien woman and a "big headed astronaut," played by Perry and West respectively (or maybe not, more on this later). The two seem to literally fall in love as the video shows the two figures crashing through the clouds in their respective ways. West is stuck in some kind of space capsule while Perry is just floating with the aid of either a dress or a series of scarves. The jury's still out on that one.
Perry as an alien is flat-out creepy but really only because I've long suspected the automaton pop star hails from somewhere otherworldly. She shoots fireworks from her breasts. Her eyes are as big as saucers. She is draining Russel Brand of his precious bodily fluids. This I know.
So, call it pitch-perfect casting. Whoever did Perry's make-up deserves some kind of reward for completely distracting viewers from all of this song's insanely stupid lyrics and instead shifting the focus squarely on Perry's creepier and creepier visage. The song in its original form was merely a platform for one of the most strained relationship metaphors ever but here with the video we get a work that appears to be intent on showing what Matthew Barney's version of E.T. would look like.
By the time Perry makes it to the rubbish that is what remains of Earth and frees her androgynous Wall-E boytoy, the fantasy is so complete it doesn't even matter that the particulars are so incongruous. Why does Perry have deer legs now? Doesn't matter. Why is the figure in the robot suit a Grace Jones lookalike instead of West? Doesn't matter. Why the hell is West vowing to "probe" Perry while they have some "alien sex?" Doesn't he see that she's already found herself a replica of David Bowie's Man Who Fell to Earth character? And why are they just standing around naked while West's spaceship cruises by? Does. Not. Matter.