I'd bet that if you ever found yourself cornered by Dan Aykroyd at a cocktail party, the topic of "UFO conspiracy theories" would be the main subject of conversation. The veteran comedic actor has been fairly outspoken over the years where UFOs are concerned: He not only believes in 'em ... he believes aliens are already on this planet, just waiting for the appropriate time to make the presence known.
Whether you agree with the "Art Bell"-style theories of extra-terrestrial visitation or not, this is a topic that seems to bring out the crackpot in everyone. And I mean it endearingly when I say that Dan Aykroyd is a grade-A crackpot of the loopiest kind. But he's also a rather well-read and exceedingly intelligent man, so one would be foolish to simply dismiss Aykroyd's beliefs just because "we don't have any proof."
The aggressively amateurish Dan Aykroyd: Unlugged on UFOs doesn't do the man a whole lot of favors though. The questions (by doco director and "ufologist" David Sereda) are banal at best, moronic* at worst, and none of them allow Mr. Aykroyd any opportunities beyond those of an "errrrr-ing" and "ummmm-ing" goofball. (* My jaw dropped when Sereda asked Aykroyd "If you could travel through time, who would you like to meet?")
A collection of fairly intriguing UFO footage is used to fill in the blanks between Aykroyd's blather, plus there are archival interviews and speeches from the likes of astronaut Gordon Cooper, retired Air Force man Ken Storch, former NASA contractor John Schuessler, former Canadian Minister of Defense Paul Hellyer, and scientist John Hutchinson -- all of whom seem pretty darn convinced that not only do space visitors exist, but that superpower governments are already well aware of their presence.
The subject itself always seems to make for a suitably entertaining sit-down. I mean, who hasn't looked up into the sky and thought "Dan Aykroyd's right: There's aliens out there!"? Fans of the subject matter may find some entertainment value within Unplugged on UFOs, but I doubt they'll argue with my opinion that this low-budget chat-fest is chintzy-looking, semi-redundant, and more than a little goofy.
Plus Aykroyd, for all his intelligence and passion for the subject, spends a whole lot of time saying "hmmmm" and "ummm" and tossing out words like "metallurgy" over and over. Frankly I've seen the guy discuss the UFO issue with a lot more wit and insight than what's offered here.
Video: Low-end full-frame presentation all the way. The thing looks like it was made for Canadian public television, only with lamer production values.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.
Been a fan of Dan Aykroyd's for longer than I care to recall, and I've always been pretty fascinated by UFOs in general -- which makes this cheapie doco a fairly big disappointment. The revelations are rare, the insights are jumbled and dry, and the UFO footage, while interesting at first, is mercilessly re-used in an effort to pad out the Unplugged running time.