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Dreamland (1996)

REVIEW

More infuriating nonsense to mark the 50th anniversary of the crash at Roswell, New Mexico. The usual suspects are rounded up to tow their party lines (Stanton Friedman, Bob Lazar et al) and producer / director / would-be intrepid presenter Bruce Burgess does absolutely nothing to question what he's being told or even point out the idiocy of some of the arguments.

Lazar gets to tell his story again, and once again the inconsistencies in his account of downed alien spacecraft are obvious and, of course, go completely unchallenged. The very notion that a massive global conspiracy that has held intact for 50 years should suddenly become brain damaged and fail to block the publication of a book supposedly spilling the beans on their activities simply beggars belief. If the military-industrial complex really is as all-powerful and paranoid as the conspiracy theorists suggest, surely they could have got their acts together long enough to silence a single, supposed rogue ex-employee.

Once, briefly, Dreamland comes close to touching on an alternative - and slightly more credible - theory before rushing on to breathlessly tell us that we are indeed being visited by little grey men. It's suggested that Lazar may have been deliberately fed misinformation by the American military while working at Area 51. Of course, Dreamland's conclusion is that he was fed information about the supposed retrieved alien ship - the more sober minded might choose to believe that the military were feeding him this bullshit story to distract attention away from very terrestrial though no less fascinating experiments of their own, realising that the public at large would be just as happy to hear about conspiracies and cover-ups as they would about their top secret research projects. So while Lazar and his ilk regurgitate the same old paranoid nonsense, the USAF are happily testing their top secret new aircraft content in the knowledge that with the pre-millennial fad for all things X-Files-ish, the public are content to believe in UFOs and aliens.

Elsewhere, plenty of footage of supposed UFOs buzzing Area 51 are wheeled out again, including some that has been discredited as fake elsewhere and at least one shot that had previously appeared in documentaries about Gulf Breeze, on the other side of the country! Everyone questioned happily accepts that shaky footage of lights floating around at night are alien spaceships but never once question exactly what it is they are looking at - certainly the footage we are shown in Dreamland is little more than a fuzzy, indistinct incandescence floating against a bland background with no frame of reference whatsoever. We could be looking at anything from an alien invasion fleet to a firefly, but the show would happily have us believe that it is the former rather than the latter.

What the show patently fails to comprehend is the inherent paranoia of the US military machine. It is capable of keeping very Earthbound secrets from its people for many decades (witness the long gestation of the Stealth fighter, constructed and flying years before the public was made aware of it - unless they spotted it and reported it as a UFO!) and will go to extraordinary lengths to protect its secrets. This doesn't mean, however, that they are hiding secrets about alien spacecraft - they would be just as paranoid about any top secret project. Area 51 is clearly involved in something of a highly secretive nature, but to blindly accept that it is a project to reverse engineer alien technology is folly of the highest order. Why is it so much easier to accept such a fanciful idea than to accept that rather more mundane but more believable notion that what people are seeing over Area 51 are just new advances in military technology?
KEVIN LYONS

 


Last Updated: 1 January, 2009

 


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