All right, it’s time to look at a true story about someone who was abducted by aliens and lived to tell the tale…..? Hold up, wait a minute…something ain’t right! Aliens are already around and kidnapping people? Now, I will grant you that I don’t 100% believe that there is no chance of aliens appearing but if you ask me, we’ll all know when they show up. In this day and age I don’t think it’s a secret that could be contained and I highly doubt they will be going around and abducting people without causing a scene. It just doesn’t seem likely. Also if they’re advanced enough to reach us from some unexplored solar system while we still struggle to get more than a few people to the Moon at a time…we’d be pretty much doomed.
So, we start the movie off with a group of loggers heading to the mountains for work. It’s made clear from the start that none of them get along all that well except for Mike and Travis who are best friends…or so we’re supposed to believe. I have my doubts personally. Anyway, they are heading home when a spaceship appears. It zaps Travis with one of their mega lasers and he hits the ground hard. Mike and the gang immediately assume he’s dead and despite being “Best Friends” Mike decides to hightail it out of there. After driving for a while Mike’s conscience finally catches up to him and he turns back. Unfortunately, Travis is no longer there.
Now these guys are considered the primary suspects in a murder case. After all, with no body and a lot of bad blood in the group, many people think that Mike and the gang murdered Travis. Now since this is based on a book Travis wrote, you know he eventually returns and at least that helps stop the murder charges but their social reputations have all been hurt quite a bit. The film hurt itself in quite a few ways too. Granted, it is better than the Communion but I would still give this film a thumbs down.
Lets start on the iffy parts because that’s the most fun. Right off the bat the film tries to really hit you with a sledgehammer of how aliens are so real that someone randomly mistakes a street light for a UFO. Yes, the sheriff is driving in his car when he suddenly sees UFO lights approaching. He semi panics but then looks up and it’s just the lights that flash when a train is approaching. Presumably as he takes this route all the time he would have encountered this a lot so…why so scared now?
Now this next one was a doozy for me but you can technically rationalize it. So Travis calls Mike up after he escapes the alien ship and explains that he is by a gas station and needs someone to save him. The gang show up but now Travis can’t talk at all and is so traumatized that he can’t be touched either. After a lot of rehab and work in the hospital he is able to say a few words at least and blames Mike for all of this. How was he able to make the call though?
The defense you can give to this is that the trauma hadn’t sunk in yet and he was able to make the call before it all set in. The adrenaline stepped up and all that. It’s a defense and you can make it work but it still seems like a stretch. I feel like it would have been better for a grand light to be in the sky or something that let the characters know where he was. I think that would have worked a lot better.
As for his adventure in alien world, I think they probably shouldn’t have even included it. The film’s close to 2 hours and I want to say that this scene doesn’t happen until the final 20 minutes of the film. By that point you are so far to the end and the whole thing had been played out in a pretty realistic way that you might as well have kept it that way. If all we knew about the alien abduction was Travis’ word on it then this would really feel like a pretty accurate description of what went down. We would have what Travis claimed happened here and the interesting visuals at the beginning.
By showing us the inside of the alien ship it definitely steps more into full sci-fi town. The aliens seem rather weak individually so I have to say Travis missed his chance to win this one. At one point he knocks one of their helmets off and the alien looks ancient. I’m talking Yoda levels of old. The room was an anti-grav zone so Travis needed to use his momentum by kicking off of the wall and landing a direct punch. Presumably that would knock out the alien and then he could take his time trying to escape. Unfortunately he handled it in the worst ways possible as he just panicked the whole time before seemingly being knocked out.
The experiments that were ran on him were certainly pretty gross that’s for sure. Aliens seem to love torturing humans in pretty much every medium, no wonder why people are so scared of them. Between this movie, Alien, and Predator, it seems like they’re all out to get the humans once and for all. So yeah I’d cut out the alien scene and keep this as a very grounded tale of something weird happening to Travis and the rest of the characters having to wonder if they really saw what they saw or if they were mistaken. Perhaps it was an experimental plane from another country or something.
In the actual town is where you get the more interesting dynamics. I liked the cop that was brought in from another state who is supposed to be an expert on these things. He did a good job of taking control of the narrative right away and trying to get to the bottom of things. He doesn’t buy into the alien angle at all and is very confident the whole time. I liked this confidence, he didn’t suddenly start believing in aliens or panicking. He just treated it like another case to be solved.
I wasn’t a big fan of any of the main characters though. For Mike, ditching Travis was a huge mistake. That just shouldn’t have happened. In the heat of the moment you either fight or flee and now the rest of them will know what his gut reaction is. Dallas was the worst of the guys as he picks fights for no real reason the entire time. He really makes himself out to be an even bigger suspect than necessary. There’s also just nothing to like about the guy and I don’t see why they kept him on the crew.
The other members of the crew were less memorable and mainly here to fill in the numbers. Mainly the most important member of the crew is Mike as we see various characters begin to doubt him. Even his wife and daughter both keep asking him what really happened as if he was lying about the whole thing. It definitely doesn’t do wonders for his self esteem and as the film goes on he seems to have quite a lot of survivor’s guilt.
The writing is pretty solid for the most part here. It’s not a very eventful movie for most of its run but at least on a technical standpoint I thought the movie did a decent job. It didn’t take a lot of risks and the way it handled the town’s reactions seemed to be on point. It was nice to see the lie detector machine as well. I feel like we should hopefully have better machines by now but even recently I remember seeing a video of some billionaires trying one out and you’re still limited to responding with a Yes or No to each question or it doesn’t work well. That’s really limiting and it also seems like it’s hard to get an accurate response out of it. It’s nice but I wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock into the results based on this.
Overall, Fire in the Sky hardly seems like an event that would have really happened but I suppose you never know. I’d like to see one of these films where the guy being abducted fights back a little more though or maybe at least one film where the aliens aren’t gross about everything. Maybe one where they actually have some noticeable cultures and seem civilized instead of pretty mindless the whole time. Give us some cooler alien designs too. Instead of the usual stuff, have them look like Vasto Lordes from Bleach or maybe Insects from Hunter X Hunter. That would be a nice change.