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"Is the population beginning to realize that governments throughout history have used the spectre of fear to drive their populations into acquiescing into total tyranny?"
DVD ReviewOne of my daily pleasures is listening to Penn Jillette's syndicated radio show, and anytime the outspoken Libertarian/atheist begins to espouse a left-of-center way of thinking that goes against the norm, he proudly calls it "the nut point of view." A guy like Alex Jones, a filmmaker/author/speaker/radio host, has made a modest career out of shouting the so-called "nut point of view," primarily where it concerns things like scary conspiracy talk about the U.S. government, the New World Order, 9-11, and his perceived swing toward complete and total global tyranny.
TerrorStorm is Jones' latest, a disturbing look at how the U.S. and British governments may have had a direct hand in events like 9-11 and the July 2005 London bombings, and it is that underlying theme that will probably cause most people to dismiss this is as goofy paranoid ramblings meant to sell books and videos—also known more commonly as said the nut point of view. But Jones' presentation here isn't just simple Bush-bashing for the sake of Bush-bashing, because the facts do seem odd, and they do seem questionable, and if nothing else they may make you think for a moment. I guess for some it will be easy to shrug off Jones as a raving nutball, but if you're not willing to at least listen then you're doing yourself a disservice.
There is an attempt at a little connective history here that draws parallels between Nazi tactics and those of the current U.S. government to control the populace by fear, and that's just during the opening minutes. Those are some mighty hefty salvos being tossed around, and by the time Jones repeatedly mentions how 9-11 "was a self-inflicted wound and an inside job"—focusing on things like an apparent stream of suspicious molten material dripping from one of the Twin Towers or the suspicious collapse of WTC Building 7—it is clear that he is not making veiled allusions, but blunt accusations.
I'm no stranger to conspiratorial thinking or the aforementioned point of view, and I don't necessarily think a lot of what Jones touts is especially far from the truth. Even with that admission, I've never really accepted the notion that our government executed the 9-11 attacks as a vehicle to induce fear and gain power, simply because I don't want to believe that. Who really wants to believe that? Well, Jones, for one. He is adamant about getting the word out, and even if comes across a little abrasive (at times he's like an über-left Rush Limbaugh), the things he talks about do seem potentially plausible.
I'm a firm believer that it's necessary to look at all sides of a subject in order to help form one's own perceptions and opinions. If you're not willing to look at the other side, you're just closing your eyes and sticking your head in the sand, and you're destined to be woefully uninformed. No matter what the subject.
When it comes to global governmental conspiracies—particularly concerning the United States—you can easily call Alex Jones a paranoid nut if you want, but you should at least listen to what he has to say. The concepts are undeniably scary, the information presented seems theoretically plausible, and all it takes is one look at history to know that it's not like it has never happened before.
And I always like a guy who rattles the beehive.
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A+
Image Transfer Review: The full-frame presentation uses an assortment of archival footage, interviews and on-the-street material, so the image clarity does vary periodically, depending on the source. Colors fall on the soft side, appearing slightly muted, but do retain a consistent appearance for the duration. Overall, the quality is atypical of the low-budget documentary genre, with no dramatic imperfections or defects.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is 2.0 stereo, and it isn't really required to do much more than carry Alex Jone's narration, which it does cleanly. Voice quality is generally clear (with some modest distortion in a couple of spots), with the occasional transitional music bed sounding slightly fuller. Nothing really in the way of any audio dramatics here, just a simple but effective presentation.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 5 cues and remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Martial Law: The Rise of the Police State, Dark Secrets Inside Bohemian Grove
Extras Review: Extras include a couple of other Alex Jones titles—Martial Law: The Rise of the Police State, Dark Secrets Inside Bohemian Grove—to further the discussion of sweeping governmental conspiracies. Also here is some interesting footage entitled 9-11 and The Neo-Con Agenda (1h:03m:51s), a collection of panel discussion/speeches from the American Scholars Symposium held in Los Angeles in June 2006. Featured speakers are Alex Jones, Charlie Sheen, physics professor Steven E. Jones, Lt. Col. Bob Bowman, and Scholars For Truth found James Fetzer, and even if the presentation is not lit terribly well, the information is interesting.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsWhether you mock it, bow to it, or just start thinking a little more, a film like TerrorStorm is something that should be seen by everyone, not matter what their stance/affiliation/political bent. Is everything Jones says true? I don't really know. But there's nothing wrong with thinking.
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