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Fire in the Sky on DVD

Fire in the Sky on DVD

Break out your tin foil hat, fasten your seatbelt, and get ready for a nifty alien abduction ride.

Fire in the Sky is the story of the supposed abduction of Travis Walton from an Arizona forest in 1975. But it’s more than that; it’s also a decent whodunit (or, perhaps “whatdunit”) as well as a brooding and moody tale of paranoia, spiced with loyalty and responsibility.

D.B. Sweeny is Walton, though the star is really Robert Patrick as Walton’s best friend and the leader of the little band of loggers to whom this misadventure supposedly happened.

The story is crafted quite craftily, and as the tale unfolds there are times when we aren’t quite sure whether the members of the “little band of loggers” are telling the truth or not. We do get the story from their perspective, though, illustrated by shots of the UFO and dramatic flashbacks, but there’s enough doubt sowed in the viewers’ minds that until about the point where Travis shows up again (naked, hurt and very, very confused) you're still reserving judgement on these guys.

So's James Garner, who plays a federal investigator who thinks Travis was murdered by one of the “band of loggers” and that the whole gang are using the ludicrous tale of alien abduction to cover it up. This theory falls by the wayside when Travis shows up, of course, but it works long enough to add a nice strand to the narrative for the first two thirds of the movie.

The entire film has this oppressive sense of dread to it, the kind of thing you’d expect in a suspense or horror flick and not a supposed “true story” such as this. It's downright creepy.

And then there’s the infamous scene aboard the alien ship. Travis' ordeal is frightening indeed, and explains why he’s so messed up in the head – and body – when he’s returned to earth.

Fire in the Sky isn’t a real heavyweight film, but it’s a gripping yarn that manages to make a mysterious incident into a compelling movie.

The cast, which also includes Craig Sheffer and Peter Berg, does an excellent job. They’re believable “everymen,” small town folk at whom the liberal elite would undoubtedly look down their noses but who are the kind of quiet, hard working people who truly represent our civilization.

Hollywoodized, of course.

The aliens are very well designed and realized, and Travis’ ordeal is enough to make your skin crawl. But the whole movie is well done.

The DVD’s pretty good. There’s plenty of grain in places, but the 16x9 TV-compatible widescreen picture is generally good. Colors are very nice and there’s good detail.

Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and though it offers nothing in the way of breakthrough sound it’s up to the task of the disc. There isn’t a lot of surround, either, but what can you do?

There are no extras.

Fire in the Sky, from Paramount Home Entertainment
109 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
Starring D.B. Sweeney, Robert Patrick, Craig Sheffer, Peter Berg and James Garner
Produced by Joe Wizan and Todd Black
Written by Tracy Torme, directed by Robert Lieberman


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Updated May 13, 2006