‘Crop Circles’ just an uneven account of bizarre phenomenon


By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
September 27, 2002

1 star

William Gazecki’s latest documentary, “Crop Circles: Quest for Truth,” is an ambitious project that attempts to tackle the mystery behind crop circles. But the dimly filmed picture would work better as a weeklong series of documentaries on the Discovery Channel rather than meandering along for two hours on the big screen.

M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller “Signs,” starring Mel Gibson, explores the possibility that extraterrestrials could be leaving crop circles as navigational aids. Though it’s not detailed in that film or “Crop Circles,” several humans came forward in 1991 to show how easy it was for them to make the mysterious patterns in farm fields.

Gazecki clearly believes these huge, intricate geometric shapes that have turned up in almost 10 countries since the 1970s aren’t the work of pranksters, but some other force. Whether aliens or some other kind of phenomena are behind them is less important to him than the belief that they are real.

To support his theory, he trots out a series of experts who give their reasons for believing. Most are writers and photographers rather than scientists (who would have lent more credence to his case). Gazecki acknowledges this imbalance in his production notes by saying, “Because of the limited scientific knowledge available, I’m hopeful that this film will inspire public debate that leads to a deeper study of the phenomenon in institutions of higher learning.”

“Crop Circles” would have made more of an impact with some good editing. The documentary would have been more compelling with succinct narration rather than allowing the subjects to ramble. And when Gazecki does have an interesting subject, he doesn’t follow through. It would have been fascinating to hear more from the pilot who claimed to have flown over Stonehenge and not noticed anything spectacular, only to see a crop circle when he flew back 25 minutes later.

Other than the aerial shots of the crop circles–which are amazing to look at regardless of who (or what) created them–the film isn’t much to look at. Grainy and often shaky (thanks to a good chunk of footage shot by amateurs), it has the same unsettling feel as the “Blair Witch Project” movies.

There are some funny moments, though. Trying to make sense of a ball of light “escaping” from a crop circle, one woman suggests it may be a shiny bird.

As to why anyone would fake a crop circle, perhaps it’s fame or something even more simple–the desire for money. I’m not saying that the group of English farmhands interviewed here concocted a crop circle for their own gain. But they were able to charge $5 to each person waiting in a long line of cars to come in and take a closer peek.

Comments (1)

  1. Tato Sugiarto says:

    Dear miss Jae-Ha Kim,

    Please, would you mind to read AL QURAN:
    Surah 34th SABA’ verses 12,13,14.
    Surah 55th AR RAHMAN verse 33.

    Sincerely yours,
    Tato Sugiarto.

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