Review of The UFO Movie They Don’t Want You to See (2023)
Seen in 2023.
I backed the crowdfunder for this film and saw a copy for “film festivals, distributors, and donors.”
A guide to the probability that UFO sightings have involved extraterrestrial craft, with concrete examples from the 1960s up to recent Congressional hearings.
The presentation is better than I expected from the budget, and the script is very good. I saw this in the same week as “whistleblower” David Grusch’s hearing by Congress, and knowing it was shot before Grusch began to publish his claims, I found that Brian Dunning does a fine job laying the groundwork for understanding such claims. His tone in presenting the movie is good: Hopeful, but firm about the distinction between reality and the seductive fictions that lead people to be deceived. I particularly respect the choice to have astronomers in the film stating, flat out, that the laws of physics are the same everywhere, and to briefly discuss the evidence to back up that uncontroversial but crucial and strangely rare claim. Dunning explicitly—and rightly—requires a high standard of evidence, but he does so without anything like Carl Sagan’s pedagogical adage that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.
I don’t think the film is going to play well outside the audience of scientific skeptics like me. For example, in relating Jimmy Carter’s UFO experience, Carter’s grandson Josh mentions someone named Jay. Being the sort of person who crowdfunds UFO debunkers, I know that Jay Novella co-hosts “The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe”, but he is never shown or heard in the film, nor is he personally important to it. It is tacitly assumed that you either know who he is, or you don’t mind extraneous references to non-celebrities in unscripted conversations shot for a low-budget documentary feature; a risky assumption.