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According to Occam's Razor
According to Merriam-Webster OnLine, Occam's Razor is "a scientific and philosophic rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities".
With that in mind, filmmaker Philippe Mora tried to put together a documentary depicting and proving the existence of extraterrestrials and UFOs. According to Occam's Razor was originally released in 1999 and came ten years after the success of his adaptation for Communion. While previously Mora may have worked with prominent talents like Christopher Walken, Christopher Lee, James Coburn, and Kathleen Turner, this project felt like a more personal visit into his life.
According to Occam's Razor is completely narrated by Mora and features various stock footage and home video shots from throughout the years. The basic goal of it all is to put together a collection of interviews with abductees and tidbits of information in an effort to plant the seed of proof regarding aliens and government conspiracies. The only problem is that the line between what is supposed to be considered "factual" and "entertainment" becomes blurred through the process. Many times the film turns into more of a mockumentary or a spoof rather than an attempt to make something that will turn heads.
Tacky special effects, participants that overact and far reaching historical "truths" are assembled in a fairly unorganized fashion. Sure even the back of the DVD case states that it's up to you to decide what's real and what's not, but when it's presented in this manner it's not entirely watchable. I've always been fascinated with the UFO culture, stories about abductions and banter about whether or not we are alone in the universe, but Mora's personal take here is more peculiar than good.
The documentary goes on to refute historical facts regarding the ideology of UFOs and some people come on film to discuss what actually happened. From comments made my Presidents Regan and Kennedy to written acknowledgement by Winston Churchill, According to Occam's Razor leaves few stones unturned. Heck, Mora even goes as far to say that Hitler and the German's met with aliens during World War II. Sure this bunk is presented by someone whose face and voice have been altered to protect their identity, but honestly, it comes across as conspiratorial garbage.
The abductees really take the cake though and while some of them come across as genuine, some of them are downright goofy. There's a lady that puts pots on her head to symbolize a cap that the aliens made her wear, another lady that says the aliens gave her the best orgasms of her life and even some discussion about dreaded anal probings. The bulk of the interview segments are comprised of a gentleman in Australia that discusses his experiences with other worldly beings. I always have an open mind about this stuff, but this guy comes across as one of those crackpots that give abductees a bad name. You know the stereotype.
In the end there's just not a lot of content in this documentary that makes it worth watching. If you are a diehard fan of Mora's works or sit around your living room with an aluminum foil hat on your head so the aliens can't hear your thoughts, you may appreciate this DVD. I couldn't get into it no matter how hard I tried though and that was mostly due to the poor editing job and lack of focus. It's not well structured or very poignant and in my opinion has little to do with Occam's Razor.
With a smattering of archival video footage and shots from Mora's home movies, According to Occam's Razor is a hodgepodge of image quality. The documentary is presented with a 1.85:1 widescreen anamorphic ratio, but the picture leaves a lot to be desired. There is a lot of grain and speckle in the image as well as some edge enhancement. Some of the colors are poorly saturated and the tint appears to be off at many points. I suppose for what it is, it's ok, but compared to more modern documentaries the material here looks pretty poor and dated.
There are no audio options on the disc what-so-ever, so the only possible way you'll be listening to this release is from the 2.0 English soundtrack. The quality is decent enough all things considered, but there are many points where things become muffled or there is some hissing in the background. There is little to no directionality, but I found the volume to be something of a problem. The feature will go from being so soft that you can barely hear it to have an overpowering sound effect or noise blast from the speakers. It was pretty irritating to be honest and I had to constantly adjust the volume in order to hear what was going on and not blow my ear drums out.
A few pieces of bonus material make their way onto the disc, but they are nothing extraordinary. The trailers for the documentary is available as well as a collection of outtakes that aren't funny in the slightest bit. An audio commentary by Mora is available as well, but it proves to be just as spotty in terms of quality as the documentary is. There are a few bits of information that are interesting but overall the commentary is very dry in nature.
The only way that you will appreciate According to Occam's Razor is if you are a fan of Philippe Mora's work. Well, that's not entirely true. I suppose diehard conspiracy theorists and alien lovers will enjoy it as well, but there is no appeal to the masses really. I'm not fanatic about the belief in the existence of extraterrestrials, but I do believe we aren't alone. I usually tend to stop on the discovery channel and watch whatever documentary is out there regarding UFOs when there's nothing else on, but this is one of the most poorly structured ones that I have seen. The information is constantly toyed with as being phony and true, plus the editing is erratic and unorganized enough to leave the viewer confused as all heck about what's going on. I'm going to suggest that you skip it unless you are already reading this review with your mind set on buying it.