Fire In The Sky Review
By Christopher Null
With all the great "true" UFO stories out there, it's a bit puzzling to figure out why the hicktastic 1975 story of Travis Walton and his band of logger pals earned the right to become a movie.
Walton's story -- based on his own book, which I can't find for sale anywhere, called, ahem, The Walton Experience -- goes like this: Six hard-drinkin' logger buddies encounter a red "fire in the sky" one night. They investigate and find a giant UFO in the woods, but Travis gets too close, and a light shining on him knocks him off his feet. The other five run away. When they come back the next day, Travis is nowhere to be found. The little Arizona town suspects homicide, and the FBI eventually swoops in. No one can find Travis -- or his remains. Is all the talk of UFOs a prank? When tempers threaten to flare out of control, Travis shows up again, six days later, naked, and shell-shocked. He finally tells what happens: He was abducted and tortured. And it was nasty.
Much of the film revolves around infighting among the loggers and the law. Tempers run hot, and the fellows threaten to self-destruct. What feels like 15 minutes concerns whether or not they'll take a lie detector test. (They do.) Then the results are inconclusive.... Sigh. It isn't until the last 15 minutes of the movie that we even get a glimpse of what Travis experienced, and by then the whole affair has become a bit boring, a bit too much like Deliverance in space.
It's a bit funny to see Robert Patrick playing a redneck here -- he'd of course later go on to play an FBI agent in The X-Files, a TV show which could have done this story in 42 minutes flat, though in reality, it probably would have deemed it to boring to bother with at all.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 12th March 1993
Box Office Worldwide: $19.7M
Distributed by: Paramount Home Video
Production compaines: Paramount Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 10
Cast & Crew
Screenwriter: Tracy Tormé
Starring: D.B. Sweeney as Travis Walton, Robert Patrick as Mike Rodgers, Craig Sheffer as Allan Dallis, Peter Berg as David Whitlock, Henry Thomas as Greg Hayes, Bradley Gregg as Bobby Cogdill, Noble Willingham as Blake Davies, Kathleen Wilhoite as Katie Rogers, James Garner as Frank Watters, Georgia Emelin as Dana Rogers, Scott MacDonald as Dan Walton, Wayne Grace as Cyrus Gilson, Kenneth White as Buck, Robert Covarrubias as Ray Melendez, Bruce Wright as Dennis Clay