Fan response has been huge, and for the most part, most agree that I’m being pretty naive, and people are pretty much horrible to one another all over the world. You’re right, in that I currently live in a pretty progressive, integrated society. At least, compared to forty years ago. I’ve never really seen wide-spread, large-scale racism, and that’s pretty limiting.
Most other fans seem to agree that the South African discrimination against the prawns is in place of Apartheid against the blacks, instead of both occurring in this movie’s history. That makes more sense, but it’s another reason why setting the movie in South Africa hopelessly muddies the metaphorical waters. The spectre of Apartheid looms so heavily over South Africa’s history, it’s hard to just ignore it.
Anyway, I remembered something else that would have been good to see in the documentary approach, and a very good reason the prawns would be met with widespread hostility: religion.
The presence of extraterrestrial life is heretical to many forms of organized religion, who believe that God created Man in His own image. There’s nothing in those books about God creating prawns on the seventh day, and knowledge of their existence would cause global theological disillusionment, sending hundreds of millions into a crisis of faith never before imagined. Some might reform their religious texts, be progressive about the whole thing, but by and large, the prawns’ arrival is the death of God. No longer is Earth the favored planet, Man the chosen life form. Suddenly we’re shown to be inferior to a pack of bipedal roaches. You’d have mass suicides, wars, civil unrest manifesting in hate crime on an unprecedented scale. Millennial cults would spring up like weeds, fearing the appearance of these “demonic-looking” creatures as a sure sign of the end-times.
Now that’d be a documentary.