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Alien Autopsy - DVD Review

3 stars


Alien Autopsy DVD Review

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Originally filmed in 2006, Alien Autopsy is finally making its debut on DVD.  Wait!  Not THAT alien autopsy!  Directed by Johnny Campbell and starring the charmingly funny talents of Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnely, this little indie comedy made some waves in England before washing ashore here in The States.  Smartly directed and consistently humorous as it unfolds its “hidden” conspiracy, this film is sure to gather a momentum here in America.

Ray Santilli (Donnely) is a collector of sorts.  Well, actually, he pirates Hollywood films for a living.  Earning just enough to make a trip to America – alongside friend, Gary Shoefield (McPartlin) – in order to find some footage of Elvis, Santilli discovers another collector (Harry Dean Stanton) who has some interesting footage from Roswell.  Santilli buys the footage only to have it ruined when he arrives back home in England.  Surrounded by a group of friends, Santilli and Shoefield know what has to be done: they must recreate the footage and, in turn, fool the world with some downright dicey footage of an alien autopsy.  Selling their footage to everyone, Santilli finds himself involved with a Hungarian Art Dealer and an American director (Bill Pullman).

With the same sharp edge of an Edgar Wright film, Campbell’s direction is full of quick cuts and tense and gooey timings that will unsettle the weakest of hearts.  Yet, this film’s innocence shines through, making it more enjoyable than simply cerebral.  Part mockumentary, part actual film, Campbell’s direction embraces the many controversies that spiraled outwards from the “world premiere” of Santilli’s “stupid” film.  You remember that night.  You know you watched.  I did.  And this film takes you behind the scenes, up to, and after that night of “historical” moment.  Trust me, you’ll enjoy the ride.  And, like me, laugh hysterically when the “experts” review the footage while the conspirators watch their magic cast its illusion upon the public.

Justifying the film as a remake, watching the aloof nature of Santilli implode the secret is part of the fun.  Donnely is a natural at playing clueless when it counts and here, guided in keeping the lies straight once the film has been “released” by his comedic brother McPartlin, charms himself through talk show television – especially when he gets a bit out-of-sorts with his narrative.  He’s almost a rock star, but we know a fall must be coming because we know the film is a fake.  They can’t produce the original.  Still, Campbell’s film draws us in with some wonderfully dry performances.

While it may be a little unfocused at times, Alien Autopsy actually reawakens with a big finish that includes the real Santilli and Shoefield sitting down to muse about the film.  They are the executive producers after all, they are allowed some screen time.  Still, the film has a fantastic closing couple of minutes that showcases some honest ingenuity that makes it a little more memorable.

Even if some of the “facts” in Alien Autopsy feel a little too forced and shaky, one can hardly fault the movie for not being accurate in the depiction of the film’s events.  After all, it’s a narrative built upon a lie.  A really big one.  One that fooled the whole world…for a little bit.  Or maybe not at all.  Still, it did happen.

I have the t-shirt to prove it.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD Disc
3 stars
3 stars
DVD Experience
3 stars

DVD

DVD Details:

Available on DVD - October21, 2010
Subtitles
: English, French, Spanish
Discs: Single disc (DVD)

Synopsis: In 1995, mysterious top-secret black-and-white footage, supposedly filmed during the 1947 Roswell incident, was broadcast around the world. It showed the autopsy of an alien lifeform. The men responsible for the discovery of the footage, buddies Ray (Declan Donnelly) and Gary (Ant McPartlin), are thrown into intense media scrutiny. But the guys have an even bigger secret. And it?s not very pretty. Based on true events, Alien Autopsy is the alternately bizarre and frequently quirky story of the two unlikely lads from London who become icons in UFOlogy with a discovery that stunned millions who?ve long searched for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Bill Pullman (Spaceballs, Independence Day) and Harry Dean Stanton (Alien) join a cast of intriguing characters in the tale of the mystery that, in one sense at least, was truly out of this world.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a commentary from director Campbell which is pretty funny and interesting.  It details some of the behind the scenes inspirations and stories that compromised the actual making of the film.

Featurettes:

  • The Making of Ant and Dec’s Alien Autopsy (30 mins): this Making Of featurette seems to have been produced for British television, as it is very much in spirit with the film, highlighting the process of making Alien Autopsy, complete with a cheeky British narrator

Alternate Opening (1 min): a very interesting concept for the opening of the film, kind of wish they had stuck with it.

Deleted Scenes (23 mins): this expansive collection of deleted scenes can be viewed with or without the director’s commentary and, if these scenes had been included in the final film, would have added some very interesting layers to an already interesting story.  Sad that they were cut because there is some interesting things at play here

Outtakes (2 mins): very funny, but all too brief collection of outtakes

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