Living in such a high tech, media-savvy society, it should be rather obvious by now: many of the players within the current crop of conspiracy theories are as dead as Bigfoot's family tree. Wander over to YouTube or Facebook and feast on the numerous examples of "real evidence" that wind up being some film student's final thesis and you'll realize that, with advances in science comes equally vast increases in skepticism. It's not enough to get on TV and talk about "seeing" ghosts. You have to have actual footage, creepshow images crawling across the screen with macabre meaning. Put another way, we no longer wish to "take your word for it". To paraphrase a famous saying "proof of aliens speaks louder than your mere mentioning of same." This is the problem facing The Alien Time Machine. For an hour, we hear a well meaning British man discuss his history with extraterrestrials. That's it - no pictures, no proof. Well, there is a videotape toward the end, but what it offers does little to convince us of the truth. Instead, everything about this tepid talkfest suggests that, like money, the nu-media changes everything - and not for the better.
Not really a documentary as much as a straight sitdown interview, the 60 minute Q&A is actually an "episode" of the European series Eerie Investigations. Hosted by co-founder Karen Frandsen and featuring author Terry Le Riche Walters, we get a basic discussion of the premise (the writer has been visited by aliens many times over the last few decades), the various ways he interprets the experiences, his miraculous healing at their hands, and a trip to a secret UK house where a "time machine" owned by the Orions was once located (it has now, mysteriously, vanished). We get a little video of the visit, even more incoherent conversation, complicated double speak, and no real conclusion. Frandsen is more apologetic than investigative, and the whole enterprise feels like an amateur exercise ala Ghost Hunters or Paranormal Files. Still, Walters does have some interesting things to say, albeit in a halting, sometimes disconnected manner.
Imagine The Fourth Kind except without all the clockwork plot logic and believability. Visualize sitting down with your decent English Uncle only to have him spin a spastic, semi-coherent tale of precognition, visitation, and domed rooms functioning as time machines, and you've got some idea of what you, the viewer, are up against here. Whoever and whatever Eerie Investigations are/is, this often dull installment of its "startling" revelations is truly a trial. Between Walters' struggling stream of consciousness approach to answering a question to the actual 'facts' being discussed, you're disbelief suspender will be constantly careening into overdrive. There is nothing particularly novel about what Walters has to offer. Instead of using buzzwords like abduction, probing, extraterrestrials, and the like, this is a man who has taken a far more relaxed approach to his ET encounters. Instead, he makes an often compelling case that his inherent psychic gifts, miraculously cured back, and other intellectual/physical anomalies come directly from, and via his lifelong interaction, with beings from Orion. That's right - advanced beings from Orion.
Be warned, however - the previous sentence is a far more coherent and compelling explanation of what is going on here than anything Walters offers or interviewer Frandsen extracts. Indeed, to call The Alien Time Machine rambling would be like referring to Lindsay Lohan as "troubled". The narrative jumps all over the place, Walters avoiding certain classifications only to adopt them later on. Frandsen seems genuinely engaged, but does little to direct the conversation. It's as if she is so caught up in the "shocking" truths being uncovered that she forgets the audience needs to be included as well. Perhaps the core demographic devoted to Eerie Investigations don't need such guidance. It could merely be a matter of preaching to the already knowledgeable and converted. For the novice, it can be very rough going at first - and as said before, Walters and Frandsen don't make it any easier. Nor do the Commodore 64 level graphics which emulate scenes from War of the Worlds and little green men. In fact, the most compelling element comes toward the end, when Walters offers up video tape of his trip to the title invention, a domed room where he supposedly teleported to Ancient Rome.
It is indeed the most intriguing facet of The Alien Time Machine, even if it does resemble a British tea party gone potty. As we finally see the medical healing device loaded with "millions of dollars" in fine gemstones, as we see the vaunted ceiling that supposedly contains the portal, as we hear the host discuss the same things that Walters waxed about, we start to see the bigger picture. Proof is always the appropriate antidote to skepticism. Of course, the video doesn't give us much more than visual verification that these items actually existed. There is no footage of time travel, no surprise arrival of Orions from another dimension. Instead, we get a chapter from In Search of Ancient Astronauts (complete with claims of a connection to Ancient Egypt and Walters belief in his past life as a pharaoh) connected to a nu-media mindset regarding the confirmation of conspiracy. Just because Ms. Frandsen is incapable of getting us to believe Mr. Walters doesn't mean he's lying. Sadly, Eerie Investigations and The Alien Time Machine need more than words to support their specious claims - a lot more.
As per this critic's policy, Screener copies of DVDs are not awarded points for video or audio. If Reality Films does send a final product version of The Alien Time Machine to the site, this paragraph will be updated accordingly. Currently, the screener offers a 1.78:1 anamorphic image that is soft and lacking in detail.
As per this critic's policy, Screener copies of DVDs are not awarded points for video or audio. If Reality Films does send a final product version of The Alien Time Machine to the site, this paragraph will be updated accordingly. Currently, the screener offers a Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 mix that is discernible, but far from definitive.
This Screener copy of b>The Alien Time Machine contains the 60 minutes installment of Eerie Investigations. It also offers an episode of the showcase Gardiner's World. Hosted by author and filmmaker Philip Gardiner, we get a half hour interview with Nick Ashron, a musician turned New Age spiritualist. It's a dull sitdown. Finally, there is another 25 minutes or so of music illustrated with many of the sloppy CG images used in the Walters Q&A. It's interesting, but far from impactful. If Reality Films does send a final product version of The Alien Time Machine to the site and anything differs, this paragraph will be updated accordingly.
The Alien Time Machine suffers from what every convoluted, complex conspiracy theory suffers from in 2010 - the show-me skepticism of an audience ready to pick apart that which is not readily (and ridiculously) apparent. Without a great deal of optical proof, without the X-rays that confirm Walters' extraterrestrial healing or a legitimate video look at title device (and its use), we find ourselves more conned than convinced. For those who are into such specious claims, a rating of Recommended would be warranted. All others are advised to Rent It first. This way, you can gauge its value as a product without putting out full retail price. Perhaps someday, someone will capture the undeniable verification all these supposedly true stories need to survive sensible scrutiny. Until that day, you have something like The Alien Time Machine. Approach - and believe - at your own risk.
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