The scorched earth of a post-Judgment Day scene from The Terminator. A solitary, junkyard dwelling robot reminiscent of Wall-E. John Travolta’s Psychlo-chic styling from Battlefield Earth. Seemingly harmless stock footage of animals that morphs into disturbing animal porniness, a la “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails. The BioShock like juxtaposition of old-timey tunes and futuristic mechanical armor. A man-monster creature that wouldn’t feel out of place in Matthew Barney’s acclaimed achievement of art house cinema, The Cremaster Cycle.
If you were to read about a music video with influences as varied as these and then asked to figure out which artist said video was made for, you would probably rattle off a bunch of other names before you landed on Katy Perry. Yet here we are! Perry collaborated with the renowned director Floria Sigismondi (Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People”, the motion picture The Runaways) and none other than Kanye West on the ambitious space epic “E.T.”, which tells a tale as old as time: Space alien transforms into a gorgeous humanoid (with impressive cleavage, natch), floats through the galaxy in search of an out of this world manicure, lands on an abandoned planet (Earth?), reunites with a long lost Tin Man-esque robot lover (who himself then transforms into an albino humanoid), then walks off into the Space Sunset with her Space Beau, happy as a Space Clam.
All jesting aside, this is one of the more visually impressive music videos we’ve seen in some time. It does, however, stand in stark contrast to Perry’s breezy 2010 Song of the Summer™, “California Gurls” (see our review). Whereas that video was a vibrant visual treat packed with so confectionary references that it threatened to give viewers diabetes, “E.T.” uses a considerably darker color palate to tell the story of two mismatched (or are they?) souls. The song and the video represent an interesting twist for Perry, careerwise, and it looks like her gamble is paying off: The collaboration is currently sitting at the top of both the Billboard and iTunes sales charts.
What do you think about this song? Do you like when Katy Perry sticks to super poppy, sing-a-long anthems, or do you applaud her efforts to branch out artistically? Did Kanye’s guest verses here trump Snoop Dogg’s in “California Gurls”? Do you think Katy Perry looks cuter in human female form or when she’s a faun-y extraterrestrial decked out in the latest Space Couture? Let us what you think in the comments, or hit us up with some tweets over @VH1.