23 October 2009

The Owls Are Not What They Seem: A Review of The Fourth Kind



I have to admit that I was somewhat taken in by tonight's screening of The Fourth Kind. The film starts out with a very impassioned Milla Jovovich telling that audience that what they are about to see is a dramatization of real events mixed with actual footage. Jovovich tells us that she is portraying psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler of Nome, Alaska during events that took place in first few days of October, 2000. The audience was reminded that in the end, "It's up to you to decide" on the validity what is presented in the movie.

The film presents a picture of a broken woman whose husband Will was murdered a few months previously. As she comes to grips with her husband's death, she continues to see a group of patients that have similar sleep disorders. Around 3:30 AM, each of three different patients remembers seeing a white owl coming into their bedroom and nothing else. Eventually, Dr. Tyler hypnotizes one of the patients and realizes that the group is being abducted by aliens.

Without giving any more of the plot away, let's discuss the film itself. The story that is presented is compelling and cinematically shot quite well. The director uses different story panels on the same screen to intersperse the "actual" footage with the dramatization. The effect could be tiring if your focus was not constantly drawn to the panels with the archived footage. The experience is unnerving at best, thinking that what you are viewing is real...

There comes the rub. A little back checking turns out that either Dr. Abigail Tyler is an internet ghost, or the CIA has erased any electronic records of her. Doing a quick Google search will yield some authentic looking web results for Dr. Tyler listed below:

A Bio for Abigail Tyler from the Medical Journal Archive
A 1997 Article about Abigail's work with sleep disorders
An article about Will Tyler's 2000 suicide

The problem is that when doing a Whois domain name search comes up with all these sites being created after August of this year.

If one does a Google News Search for Dr. Tyler, you get zilch. There are no news sources that would indicate that a Dr. Abigail Tyler existed. The final piece of damning evidence comes from a handout given at the screening. It says that, "In October 2004, filmmaker Olatunde Osunsanmi had wrapped principle photography of his thriller The Cavern and traveled to North Carolina for post-production. While there, a chance dinner conversation sparked an interest that would be the genesis of The Fourth Kind." That's a tad problematic since there is "actual" footage in the film with the real Abigail Tyler and Olatunde Osunsanmi dated 2002.

The film does what it has set out to do, get people talking about it. While I appreciate the P.T. Barnum like chutzpah of the filmmaker and marketing team, go see it for entertainment. If you're looking for evidence of UFOs, listen to Coast to Coast AM.

21 October 2009

Dungeons and Dragons Sodas

The folks from Jones Soda have showed that their true nerd colors in producing a new line of sodas inspired by Dungeons and Dragons.  Now when your 14th level Chaotic Good, Dwarf Fighter/Thief/Magic User gets ambushed by a patrol of kobolds;  pop a top on a tall boy can of Potion of Healing to replenish those lost Hit Points.  The limited edition sodas include: Potion of Healing, Dwarven Draught, Eldrich Blast, Sneak Attack, and Bigby's Crushing Thirst Destroyer.  All sodas can be opened by your +2 bottle opener...

It is doubtful that these lads had the protection of these new Jones Sodas before bringing out the D20's.



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