Shout Factory presents
Crop Circles: Quest For Truth (2002)
"It was me on my way to a meeting, with this problem or that problem. Looking. Seeing. And wondering what in the world is this?"- Colin Andrews
Stars: Colin Andrews
Other Stars: George Wingfield, Busty Taylor, Nancy Talbot, John Martineau, Isabelle Kingston, Simon Peter Fuller, Lucy Pringle, Robin Heath, Michael Miley, John Michel, Nick Kollerstrom, Andreas Muller, Bert Janssen, Palden Jenkins, Andy Thomas, Karen Douglas, Micheal Glickman, Charlie Mallett
Director: William Gazechi
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:54m:14s
Release Date: 2004-01-20
DVD ReviewWilliam Gazecki is the Academy AwardŽ-nominated director of the controversial and highly acclaimed documentary, Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997), and with Crop Circles: Quest for Truth, he takes on the slightly less conspiratorial, but no less fascinating, subject matter of, you guessed it, crop circles. Only this time, Gazecki steps back a bit from the explosive narrative that he delivered in Waco, and settles into the dreamy, scientific world of the unexplained crop circle phenomena, sacred geometry, and the seemingly level-headed and intelligent individuals who research it feverishly and passionately.
The beautiful and elaborate geometric patterns found in wheat fields in England, North America, Europe, and Australia have never been properly explained away enough to satisfy most casual observers, and while there are certainly most likely hoaxers out there, it seems a stretch to discount every single of them as man-made art. Gazecki's film dispenses with the concept or acceptance of fakery for the most part, though it is addressed briefly during the last ten minutes, and the focus instead is on the men and women who are doing the investigative work on the causes and after effects of the crop circles.
Collected here are some of the leading names in the field of crop circle research and study, including prolific author Colin Andrews, whose slightly dry, but intriguing lecture in Alien Sign—The Message: The Crop Circle Mysteries is another good source of education on the subject. The people that Gazecki has interviewed here all seem like smart folks, well-educated types who attribute the crop circles to everything from ionspheric plasma to collective consciousness to highly-focused balls of energy to, yes, even some veiled references to some greater force at work. The acceleration in the complexity of the designs over the years, and the subsequent corresponding themes, are certainly unusual and their resemblance to such ancient symbols as Celtic crosses and wheels are unmistakable, as is their proximity and alignment to the many stone circles (such as Stonehenge) that dot the English countryside.
Skeptics will no doubt find the straight-faced analysis of the crop circles mysteries as the chuckle-worthy ramblings of a bunch of bookworms, and Gazecki's approach here doesn't leave much room for outright skepticism. Ultimately there are more questions raised than actually answered, but William Gazecki has done what many good documentarians do, which is raise questions and lob out some interesting "what ifs" along the way.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+
|Aspect Ratio||1.78:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Issued in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, Gazecki's documentary immediately falls victim to having been assembled from an array of video sources, ranging from hand-held outdoor video to interviews shot in more controlled environments. There is plenty of grain to be found, but that is more likely a result of the source material, much of which appears to have been collected from the archives of researchers like Colin Andrews. Similarly, color levels are moderately inconsistent, except for the sequences shot by Gazecki for the film, which all look relatively bright and clean.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: Crop Circles: Quest for Truth is presented in a basic 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Surround track, and there are very few instances where a more active mix would have made any difference. This is largely a series of interviews, recorded under varying conditions, and the quality varies likewise. Voices are clear and discernible at all time, but some noticeable hiss during some of the interview segments knocks the overall rating down to a B-.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: AGI Media Packaging
- Photo Gallery
The first segment is entitled Colin Andrews and the CIA (16m:49s), and the crop circle researcher recounts a chilling encounter with a shadowy character that is right out of The X-Files. If Andrews was a wacky, illogical babbler, it would be easy to discount the tale as a juicy bit of image tweaking, but the man seemed genuinely rattled by the events of the story. The other two spooky sequences are titled Military Helicopters and Balls of Light, with one running 05m:40s, and the other 02m:40s. In these two hand-held video clips, shot while Andrews and a group of researchers were on their way to a fresh circle sighting, we catch a glimpse of two British military helicopters hovering over the field, and in one segment one of the choppers appears to be trailing a mysterious ball of light. Unless Andrews hired a couple of retired military pilots to fly a pair of lookalike helicopters, this is ominous footage, indeed.
The last segment is called Magnetic Mysterious Particles (04m:03s), and while no less fascinating, it is less dramatic and more of a head-scratcher. Physicist Rodney Ashby details how plants found at a particular circle contained excessive amounts of iron oxide particles, not just on the surface, but INSIDE the plant structure itself. Ok, it is time to look to the skies and call Fox Mulder. Pronto.
In addition to a theatrical trailer, an automated Photo Gallery (actually a combo of video and stills) shows off all manner of beautiful crop circles, runs just over 25 minutes, all set to a properly ethereal score is also included.
The disc is cut into 14 chapters, and doesn't include any subtitles.
Extras Grade: B+
Final CommentsIf you find the subject of crop circles even remotely interesting, you need to sneak a peek at William Gazecki's documentary, which picks the brains of the leading researchers in the field (no pun intended). These aren't tin-foil-on-the-head nutballs, but rather an educated lot of scientific and mathematical types all intrigued by the elaborate and detailed crop circles that have appeared all over the world.
Hoax? Aliens? Balls of rogue energy? Gazecki never plays his hand directly, and instead allows his subjects to explain their beliefs, all of which sound resoundingly logical and frightening at the same time.
Rich Rosell 2004-03-16