A&E » Arts

Star Dreams worth a gaze



Film explores crop circle phenomena

What: Star Dreams

Where : MY (Millennium) Place

When: Tuesday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

I’m not much when it comes to things paranormal. I don’t even read my horoscope in Cosmo when I’m under the dryers at the salon. The most interest I’ve ever extended to the subject is a brief stint during university when I maintained a serious Sunday night dedication to the X-Files. Although that had as much to do with an interest in David Duchovny as it did the unexplained. The truth wasn’t out there anymore when it was just Scully and the guy that played the evil terminator.

I’m not a cynic, rather a "live and let live-type," that finds most paranormal activities fall under "let live." So I admit I approached Star Dreams, a film from Gibsons, B.C.-based Genesis Communications that explores the phenomena of crop circles with ingrained, but not vindictive skepticism. I like to be floored as much as the next guy. It’s good to have your mind blown every once in a while. So shock me, I thought. Rock me. Make me a believer. I’m game.

Admittedly, my pre-viewing enthusiasm was seasoned with an expectation for the high flake quotient that inevitably accompanies presentations on metaphysical subject matter. But I had more to gain by being surprised than by having my "let live" expectations confirmed.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, the film delivers in both areas.

My mind was indeed blown. There’s no denying that crop circles, massive geometric designs mysteriously imprinted with crushed stalks in cultivated fields, are amazing. Captured by sharp aerial photography that allows the circles to rotate fluidly across the screen, the film does a great job presenting their exquisite design and intricacy. Mandalas, pictograms, symbols of advanced mathematics – they’re as captivating now as they were to the ancient minds and civilizations that recorded them for the ages. It’s inhuman to not be inspired.

The term "circles" is actually a gross downplaying of these geometric wonders. Many are not even circles, displaying straight edges and pictogram-style equations. A standout is the renowned Catherine Wheel, which measures 780 feet in diameter and is composed of 409 individual, geometrically perfect circles. It’s truly awe-inspiring in its magnitude. As the aerial camera rotates around the massive spiral the enigma requires no commentary; there’s no way a bunch of punks out for a laugh could pull off something so incredible. And the Catherine Wheel is but one among many of comparable intricacy, precision and scale.

The facts and logistics are also impressive. According to the film, more than 10,000 crop circles have been recorded in the past two decades, most completed under cover of night, without any discernible human touch. It touches briefly on the Doug and Dave hoax story, whereby two men gained media notoriety in 1990 for claiming responsibility for every single crop circle in England. But it’s obvious, just in scope, number and location that Doug and Dave are a sad excuse for an explanation.

It’s by offering its own attempt at explanation that the film suffers. Prepare for a re-enactment of a "ball of light" in the sky that looks like it was done with a Pong game. Prepare for abduction stories, and phrases like "nature divas," "fairy-child," and "Mother Earth calling out for help," to be tossed around. The cable yoga channel pan-flute music doesn’t do Star Dreams any favours in that department either.

By dismissing rather than disproving any non-paranormal theories regarding crop circles, the film is less a documentary and more an addition to the metaphysical community’s indoctrinal canon. By neglecting to even attempt a crop circle reconstruction the croppies give the film the same one-sided slant they condemn the media for in its coverage of the Doug and Dave event. Objective, it is not.

But a post-Halloween wild viewing trip-out it is. Even the most hardened skeptic will marvel at the visuals in Star Dreams. And for those with an interest in the paranormal that extends past David Duchovny’s brooding loner cuteness and a higher tolerance for Zamphir, the film promises an exhilarating and provocative experience.

Star Dreams will be screened twice at MY Place on Tuesday, Nov. 4, at 7 and 9 p.m. The film’s writer/director, Genesis Communications president Robert Nichol and Canadian crop circle specialist Chad Deetken will be in attendance to answer questions and lead a post-film discussion.

Tickets $8 adults, $6 students and seniors, available at the MY Place box office. Call 604-935-8410 for more information.

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