MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
In 1995, music producer Ray Santilli was shown a piece of film that depicted an autopsy done on aliens that had crash-landed in Roswell, New Mexico. Seeing a chance at fame and fortune, he and his partner Gary Shoefield plan to sell the footage to networks around the world. But after discovering the film had deteriorated, they reshoot the autopsy at a friend’s flat and end up cashing in on one of the biggest UFO hoaxes ever.
WHAT I LIKED
Anyone who has followed any sort of UFO reports in the mid-1990s should have a certain interest in this film. Just prior to its release in 2006, the real Ray Santilli and Gary Shoefield came clean with their account of the alien autopsy video, and if you were one who thought it could possibly be true (and I was one of those, I’ll admit, having some interest in the genre), you can’t help but feel a little stung by the revelation.
However, knowing the public story before the mea culpa, it was interesting to watch how this film revealed itself. In particular, I did enjoy seeing how the alien autopsy was recreated in a small flat and how things went down behind the scenes.
However, to really enjoy this movie, you have to take it as a whimsical comedy rather than a science fiction piece or a serious drama, because it’s presented more as a BBC sit com than a feature film.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
My biggest problem with this movie was how the characters were retrofitted to reality stars Declan Donnelly and Ant McPartlin. I know there’s a lot of Ant & Dec fans out there, but for someone like me who are seeing them for pretty much the first time, they just didn’t seem right for the roles.
Ultimately, this movie doesn’t know what it’s trying to be. The comedy could work, and the descent into celebrity debauchery by Ray Santilli was mildly interesting, but it all started to turn into a wannabe Hollywood story. I was more interested in a more revealing story about the people behind the hoax, in particular the original cameraman.
Finally, there’s a rather intelligence-insulting insinuation with this film that while Santilli and Shoefield were charlatans, there was a truth behind the real footage… and that is just a little too cheesy for my tastes.
The DVD comes with deleted scenes, outtakes, an alternate opening, a commentary by director Johnny Campbell and a making-of featurette with Ant & Dec hosting.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of Ant & Dec, and anyone who wants the sort-of true story behind the alien autopsy.