The Wild Blue Yonder Movie Review

Werner Herzog, one of the most consistently fascinating documentarians in recent years, takes his recent non-fiction work and slices and dices it together with his gift for traditional narrative. Well, in the case of The Wild Blue Yonder, it's far from traditional. It is, however, one of the most fascinating examples of feature filmmaking I've seen in awhile.

The plot is really quite simple: An alien (Brad Dourif) from Andromeda narrates his tale to the camera, for posterity. He's one of the few remaining members of his kind, having survived the arduous travel from his planet to Earth, which seemed the best place to land after his planet began to die. Unfortunately, the Andromedans don't get what they were planning on: Earth's era of greatness is now past, and it doesn't seem much better than the planet they just left. In fact, Earth is now dying as well, which has spurned the earthlings to search for a new planet of their own. Naturally, they find, and land on, Andromeda.

The story fractures into two pieces. The first is most fascinating and is revealed through Dourif's bitter monologue. His species, he says, is not some super-intelligent race. Rather, he bemoans, "We suck." His scenes are filmed in a ruined ghost town, which Dourif's alien explains are what remain of his race's planned super-community that would become a new world capital. Only no one came. It is perhaps Dourif's most soul-searching moment he's ever put on film.

The eye candy mostly comes after, involving his retelling of the earth astronaut's trip into space. Here, Herzog uses footage from an old NASA mission exclusively, wrapping a story around the audio-free images, involving chaos on the ship, despair, and the eventual arrival at Andromeda. Clearly shot in the '80s, the hairstyles alone date the story, but they don't blunt its power. It's a testament to how the right caption can completely change the meaning of a picture. Once they've arrived and find the planet covered in ice, Herzog switches to footage shot by an amateur photographer from beneath an Antarctic ice floe. It's quiet and fascinating, and Herzog lets it speak more for itself than the shuttle shots. It's here where the music, which is a mix of deep strings and tribal vocals, really gets under your skin.

Neat stuff, and while the narrative relies on some pretty goofy science (a few PhD's are thrown into the mix), it's nonetheless a fascinating story to hear told.

The DVD includes a trio of featurettes about the making of the film.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : Andre Singer

Starring :


Comments

The Wild Blue Yonder Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: NR, 2005

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