Fire in the Sky

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

From “War of the Worlds” to “The Day the Earth Stood Still” to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” movies about aliens have always captivated the imaginations of many. But where “Fire in the Sky” differs is that it’s based on a true story whereas the previously mentioned movies were works of fiction. Now anyone who has claimed to have seen or been captured by an alien is generally sought as someone who wants attention or isn’t in their right mind. “Fire in the Sky” tells the story of a group of loggers who witness an alien abduction and one of their members (played by D.B. Sweeney) is supposedly taken captive on an alien spacecraft where he is subject to their experiments. When this sort of thing has been lampooned so many times, the validity of the argument has to come up. That’s to say – did it really happen?

We meet the gang of blue-collar workers as they’re speeding through the forest, presumably being chased by someone or something. They call the sheriff and quickly tell them that one of their friends is presumed dead. The story is told in flashback, leaving us to piece the bits of the puzzle together. Mike (Robert Patrick) is the leader of the group and the best friend of Travis (D.B. Sweeney). The group had seen a light in the forest (a “Fire in the Sky” if you will) and Travis went to investigate. He’s frozen by a light, then knocked down to the ground. His friends assumed the worst and then left. When they come to their senses to come check on him, he’s gone. He returns five days later (after his colleagues are thought to have murdered him) to suggest that he’s been probed by the aliens who inhabited the spaceship. The rest is a character study of Travis re-entering his life and the effects that this incident has on the small town of Snowflake, Arizona.

“Fire in the Sky” is certainly not a bad movie, but where it falls short is that it was marketed as an “alien” movie, without many appearances by actual aliens. Instead, the movie focuses on the emotions of the group of friends and the prejudice they face as opposed to showing us what we want to see – aliens! I’m a logical person and I have to believe that this true story did, in fact, happen. I don’t know what these men did see, but the movie was supposed to illustrate that for us. As it stands, we see people with financial problems who see their friends and family turn on them when this incident happens. The movie wasn’t a big hit when it came out in 1993 and I’ve no reason why its voyage to DVD has been so long. D.B. Sweeney had just come off “The Cutting Edge” (a personal favorite of mine) and it’s been so long since I saw the movie, I totally forgot Robert Patrick and Henry Thomas (of “E.T.” fame – a much better Sci-Fi movie). Quite simply, for a sci-fi movie there was little “Science” in the fiction. That said, it is entertaining and well worth a rental at the very least.

Video: How does it look?

Presented in a broad 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer, “Fire in the Sky” looks about as good as it ever has. I could be wrong, but the last time I saw this was when it came out on – sigh – video about ten years ago. Seeing the movie in it’s proper aspect ratio framed a lot of the shots better, not to mention the video quality was bumped up a few notches. Many of the scenes look crystal clear, though there are several that show some grain. The last shot of the movie is nearly unwatchable and I’m still trying to decipher if it was meant to be that way, or something happened on the transfer. Still, this looks better than the old Laser Disc and VHS versions, that’s for sure.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio showed a depth that I really didn’t think the movie had. The opening scene is particularly robust with the truck going through the woods. The majority of the movie is rather dialogue-driven and the newly re-mastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack does have some opportunities to show off here. While the stage is housed in the front arena, the surrounds kick in a few times to make their presence known. Dialogue is clear and the scenes aboard the spacecraft sound very good, to say the least. The soundtrack won’t blow you away, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good this sounded.

Supplements: What are the extras?

No extras have been included here, Paramount even stopped including inserts in their DVD’s as well.

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