Crop Circles - Quest For Truth

Starring: William Gazecki
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Color, Closed-captioned

Special Features:  Trailer, deleted scenes, photo gallery, interview with director


Are crop circles such as those seen on Led Zeppelin album covers and in M. Night Shyamalan movies starring Mel Gibson (Signs) the product of superior alien intelligences or mere hoaxes?

Well, if you apply Occam's razor - the dictum that if two explanations explain the same set of data, then the simpler one must be the correct one - then it's an obvious hoax. Especially since a lot of people came out in the early 1990s to admit to the hoax and demonstrate to the media just how easily crop circles can be made.

However, the set of "experts" dragged in front of the camera to be interviewed by director William Gazecki never seem to have to have heard of old William of Occam (died 1349).

Instead this two hour long documentary ends up being agitprop for self-styled Fox Mulder-type "believers" rather than its own purported quest for truth.

Apparently a shorter 88-minute version of this movie is (quite aptly) being broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel.

The shorter version is probably the better one as I found my eyes glazing over in dull incomprehension at the hour-and-a-half mark as some woman droned on endlessly about something that sounded like real science (it was certainly dull enough), but was probably pseudoscientific gibberish. Oh well, if you can't convince them, confuse them I suppose.

Anyway, Gazecki's documentary is aimed at debunking the idea that the crop circles are created by self-confessed hoaxers, but rather by "intelligent entities" or something. The words extraterrestrial or UFO is seldom mentioned, but we do get a lot of New Age synonyms for them. However he ultimately undermines his own case by never giving a voice once to any dissenting viewpoints or those of any of the hoaxers - what is he afraid of? That his own viewpoints will look silly then? Probably.

Anyway, it's sort of sad when people persists in believing in something when it has been as thoroughly debunked as is the case with crop circles. They are either extremely self-delusional or maybe that upcoming book deal is just too damn lucrative to let something like truth get in the way (Gazecki interviews lots of "authors").

Also, believing that humans are incapable of producing something as elaborate and sophisticated as crop circles betrays a low opinion of humanity and what it's capable of. (It's all very similar to those "scientists" who believes that Martians or whatever built the pyramids. I suppose that great achievers from Beethoven and Goethe to Einstein and Cezanne are all aliens too then . . .)

Later this misanthropic view becomes apparent when a bearded "expert" - becoming more animated as he goes on, better get back on the medication there, dude! - tells us that crop circles are actually an attempt by aliens to warn us against our own destructive impulses. Someone has seen The Day the Earth Stood Still one times too many, methinks . . .

THE DISC: If you do get anything out of this one-sided documentary it's at least that crop circles are a legitimate form of art. They are quite amazingly complex, impressive and beautiful. Hats off here to Doug Bower and David Chorley who began making them after an evening at the local pub back in 1978. Crop Circles - Quest for Truth has a lot (and I mean a LOT) of shots of them. As if that isn't enough, there is also a photo gallery of the world's most famous crop circles.

That's good. What is also insightful is the extra footage cut for length reasons from the movie. I however suspect that Gazecki didn't include these sections because here we get to the dark underbelly of the whole UFOlogist thing, namely paranoia dealing with government cover-ups and conspiracies, unmarked black helicopters and so forth. All this may make for a typical X-Files episode but here it just undermines the credibility of those interviewed.

Gazecki isn't a particularly honest film-maker and unlike, let's say, the searching Bowling of Columbine one never gets the impression that he is actually interested in finding out the truth behind the whole phenomenon. Gazecki seems to have made his mind up in advance.

Other extras include a trailer. The menu itself is quite professionally done, especially for such an independently-produced documentary. Sound and image (shot on high-end digital camera) is also adequate. There is audible hissing during some interviews, but that is also to be expected.

WORTH IT? If you're a believer, yes. Then you'd find Crop Circles - Quest for Truth essential viewing. Personally I think you'd be better off reading journalist Jim Schnabel's level-headed book titled Round in Circles about the whole phenomenon instead, but that's just me. If you're not interested in the topic, it is doubtful whether this over-long documentary will trigger any life-long obsessions.

RECOMMENDATION: The crop circles themselves are quite spectacular and for them alone I am not quite sorry that I actually watched this movie.



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