The Phoenix Incident
Review by- Stephen Harper
On March 13th 1997 in Phoenix, Arizona occurred one of the biggest mass sightings of a UFO in history. Thousands of people witnessed a huge V shaped object approximately several football field sizes pass over Phoenix. With the 20th anniversary of what now is known as the Phoenix Lights it’s a very good time to review the 2016 film The Phoenix Incident directed by first time filmmaker Keith Arem.
I’m not ashamed to say I’m a bit of a boffin when it comes to UFO’s, conspiracies and supernatural incidents. What’s always intrigued me about the Phoenix lights incident is the thousands of witnesses. Even the governor at the time who witnessed the event ridiculed it, but later on came out publicly and apologised and admitted what he actually saw. I understand that totally, it’s easier for people to dismiss sightings as nonsense because they’re probably afraid of being ridiculed themselves. It’s also easier for peace of mind not to question, but there’s thousands upon thousands of more evidence regarding UFO’s than proof of Jesus Christ, but it doesn’t stop millions believing?
The fascinating thing regarding Phoenix is that it didn’t happen on an isolated road or in secluded woodland, it happened over an entire city. I was always shocked that a film hadn’t been made sooner, but I guess the timing kind of fits nicely.
When it comes to a review I’m torn completely with The Phoenix Incident. The first half of the movie is extremely good and very clever. Arem obviously is a huge fan of UFO phenomenon and builds the movie around a documentary style. It’s presented as a found footage film and expands of the conspiracy of the incident, but inserts a group of adrenaline junkies heading out into the desert for a weekend of motor biking. Unfortunately for them they’re caught up at exactly the same time as alien spacecrafts enter our atmosphere. The movie runs as a chronological set of interviews exposing the incident, but pasting his own story within, gluing the two together like it’s a real narrative. This part of the movie is particularly good, even though it never feels real, it’s damn good fun. Once the group realises its an aliens is were the film dropped the ball. What should have stayed completely in the audience hands loses out to the temptation of showing far two much. The CGI spacecrafts are very good and their duel with fighter jets is great, but showing the alien beings just didn’t work. The concept design of the creatures looked poor, a cross between a Xenomorrph and a dog. This part of the movie doesn’t even feel like it’s connected to the rest. I can totally understand the filmmakers trying to build tense moments and action sequences, but it should of been a case of less is more.
Considering it’s Arem’s first time as a director I think he does an amazing job. He clearly has a passion for this subject, especially as he’s involved in a around the table chat with other UFO experts to discuss the incident, which is a wonderful feature on the Blu-Ray & DVD and well worth purchasing for this alone.
The film is wonderful shot and looks like it’s been director by an established filmmaker. Performance-wise there’s no complaints, its just a pity it eventually tread into generic straight to DVD sci-fi, because there was enough material to build an amazing movie.
All in all The Phoenix Incident has some terrific moments and is good fun overall.
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