Sideplitting fun as William Shatner doffs his Captain Kirk uniform for a suede shirt with a big collar + bell bottoms and heads out onto the road with a film crew of six to explore mankind's mysteries. Shatner's enthusiasm for the material is boundless in energy. You will either be swept up in the marvel of it all or laughing yourself silly, in either event its grand entertainment that actually beat crewmate Leonard Nimoy's far more dignified "In Seach Of ..." out of the pop culture refuse chute by a year or two.
Seriously though, this was a West German produced quasi-documentary cashing in on the Ancient Astronauts fad of the 1970s ala Erich Von Daniken's ridiculous books of a similar name, who was thoughtfully given a screen credit. The film even boasts a very listenable electronic musical score by "Winnetou" composer Peter Thomas & is fast paced enough for the attention deficit disabled. Then again just watching William Shatner gaze into the empty sockets of the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull while theorizing on the influence of ancient space mariners on human development is worth the effort needed to obtain a copy -- This baby is way out of print, and probably for a good reason.
An additional curious footnote is found in the presence of paranormal phenomenon guru William Dennis Hauck, one of the leaders of the Modern Alchemy movement, who served as a technical consultant and even gives an on screen interview to Shatner in front of a radio telescope they couldn't get the keys for. Hauck wrote up a sort of memoir of his experiences working with Shatner in his 1989 trash expose "Captain Quirk", which paints an unflattering portrait of the actor as a raving narcissist who actually believed he was an alien contactee at one point. Fun reading, you can find a copy for a dollar on Amazon.
I think Shatner is in fabulous form, raising the material from mere proto new age crap into a sort of kitschy exploration of the marvelous quirks that make humanity such a fascinating life form. Only humans would have thought to scrape the top layer of iron oxide rich soil of the Nazca plain away to expose the brighter soil underneath and make pictures best appreciated from overhead. And only humans could read anything more into it than people just making pictures in the sand.
Without someone like William Shatner as our host the proceedings would wear thin, but his enthusiasm for the phenomenon and his own search for an answer to his own alleged contact experience carries it like Sigourney Weaver carrying an ALIEN movie. If it was anybody else we'd be tempted to take it seriously, and the whole thing would be a dreadful bore. I watch not because of the paranormal angle, but because its a William Shatner film from his lost years of the 1970s with Krautrock electronic disco space music. Plus, his shirts all have big wide collars, and he wears matching bell bottoms! And he gets all intense -- sometimes *really* intense -- about UFOs, crystal skulls, native costumes that look like space suits (my favorite part!), drawings of proposed NASA projects that were never made, lost pyramids overgrown by jungles, space aliens, and ESP!
In other words, I've been looking for garbage like this my whole life.
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