History Channel // 2010 // 440 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // July 10th, 2011
"Millions of people around the globe believe we have been visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings. What if it were true?"
This series centers on the belief system of ancient astronaut theorists, who look at the records of primitive cultures and unexplained phenomena and see evidence of alien contact.
I grew up watching Nova and Cosmos with my dad, so something like this is right up my alley. Here's how the discs break down:
* "Mysterious Places" -- The episode touches on the various levels of electromagnetism which can be found across the globe. Spots highlighted include the Bermuda Triangle and the Gate of the Gods in Peru.
* "Gods and Aliens" -- What's investigated here is the world's mythology, specifically the similarities in the ancient descriptions of gods across cultures. Could what ancient people referred to as gods in fact be alien visitors?
* "Underwater Worlds" -- This time the lost city of Atlantis is discussed, as well as other submerged cities. Could ruins of underwater structures house the sites of alien bases?
* "Underground Aliens" -- There are underground ruins whose construction modern archeology cannot explain. How did primitive people create such elaborate labyrinths? Did they have help from alien overseers?
* "Aliens and the Third Reich" -- It's well-known that Adolf Hitler was obsessed with the occult and the search for supernatural relics. But was his quest in part motivated by help from aliens who granted his scientists knowledge way ahead of anything in existence at the time?
* "Alien Tech" -- Our use of rockets is not as modern as we like to believe. This episode examines the historical implications of several weapons and technology we use today and ponders whether or not aliens influenced their development.
* "Angels and Aliens" -- There are countless examples of people who claim to have encountered angels. Ancient astronaut theorists believe angels could be extra-terrestrials and they cite the bible and other religious sources as historical cases.
* "Unexplained Structures" -- Modern scientists cannot explain how certain structures, like Stonehenge in England and the Egyptian pyramids, were created. Is it possible aliens provided the technology which we are still unable to reproduce today?
* "Alien Devastations" -- This episode begins with an investigation into natural disasters and the rise in number of UFO sightings which can precede them, prompting the hypothesis that what we call natural are actually alien catastrophes.
* "Alien Contacts" -- Throughout history people have decreed they were visited by angels and gods. Cases discussed include Moses and Joan of Arc. Is it possible that what ancient peoples called gods and angels were in fact aliens, and what purpose did those visions really serve?
There are no answers to be found in Ancient Aliens, only questions which posit possibilities. Everything presented is rooted in fact; it's merely the interpretation of those facts which is hypothetical. And that is what is so fascinating about the series. The presentation of a different way of looking at commonly held beliefs and perceptions is quite intriguing. And it's also something the series uses to effectively draw you in. It gives you something familiar, something you have definitely heard of if not formed a strong opinion on. And then it allows people who do in fact have strong opinions tell you why they think the way they do. The passion of the people behind the interviews is strong enough to convince you at least they believe the theory they're putting out there, even if you don't.
Even if you are cynical about the ideas presented there's no denying there was a reason why the idea came about. Nothing is such a huge leap that it makes absolutely no sense. We accept that ancient people had a reason for believing a certain way back at that time. We also have to accept just as those perceptions have been proven wrong based on what we now understand to be true, it is possible our interpretations will be proven wrong in the future.
That's the real hook of Ancient Aliens. You can't definitively state that anything that's put forth is wrong, simply because there's not enough evidence either way. It's a show that's designed to make you think and in that it succeeds brilliantly. It's also a show which may put some people to sleep, but that's okay too.
The most compelling element of the visuals are by far the special effects. What would be drab location shots and photos of artifacts are instead enhanced with graphics which help make the series' point. There was some annoying stuttering in some of the tracking shots, but it seems to be a deliberate editing choice rather than a product of improper filming. There is some digital noise around some of the subtitles, too, but they're hardly up long enough for it to be more than a minor annoyance. Some of the aerial shots aren't the best, either, but they're as good as you can expect. I have no complaints about the audio; I never had to adjust the volume either way, so I was a happy camper with the mix.
A lot of what is presented relies on stupidity. Specifically the notion that if present day man can't figure out something how on earth do we expect the idiots who came before us to have had any clue?
Ancient Aliens is a polarizing show. If you're open-minded to the possibilities presented then you'll like it. If you think the idea of aliens, either in ancient times or now, is ridiculous chances are you're not reading this review anyway. I found it to be compelling stuff. I'm not hoping for an up close and personal visit from E.T. anytime soon but the possibilities imagined by those involved with this show are inspiring.
Review content copyright © 2011 Dawn Hunt; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 440 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site