Thursday, July 17, 2014

Coincidence? I think so. (Chariots of the Gods movie review)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

One thing I remember fondly of high school was those movies you’d watch in science or maybe history class.  The narration was jerky and the monologue was usually simple.  Picture quality was usually very low to begin with and deteriorated from constant use.  This was the first thing I thought of when I started watching Chariots of the Gods.  In fact, it didn’t look like they were playing it full screen.  The ‘documentary’ was made in the 1970s and shows its age.

This ‘documentary’ takes on the ancient astronaut theory.  For those that don’t watch the History Channel, this is the belief that we’ve been visited and even guided by aliens in our distant past.  The movie shows several things, like the pyramids and monoliths, that ancient humans couldn’t possibly have built.  (There are 2,000 ton pieces of granite with no quarry nearby, for example.)  There are also cave paintings that look vaguely like some guy with a round head.  Since the drawings look so much like a modern astronaut, this has to be proof of ancient visitors.

You may have noticed that I put documentary in single quotes when referring to this movie.  That’s because the movie is very light on the evidence.  It’s almost like an overview of The History Channel’s Ancient Mysteries.  Instead of having people on to explain what a particular item might be, it’s more like, “Look at the pyramids.  How did they build those?”  Then it’s on to the next thing.  (“Don’t these statues look like astronauts?)  It’s basically a world tour of interesting things that are supposed to show proof of ancient visitors.

Now, I’ll admit that the Nazca Lines, which are covered in this movie, are a little odd.  Why would a culture go through so much effort for that?  I’m just not making the connection on most of the other stuff.  We probably read a lot of stuff into things, like the drawings.  If you draw something with fingers and feet and a head, it’s going to look like a person.  Make the features strange enough and someone’s going to think it’s an alien.

Look at all of the science fiction we’ve made.  Does that mean we were visited by Klingons or Predators thousands of years ago?  Probably not.  Some guy was probably doodling on a rock face one day and decided to try something different.  I mean, if aliens were going to have us carve stuff in the ground, why a picture of a monkey?  If aliens were going to have us build a pyramid or other building, why use materials that would have been used on Earth at the time?  If it had been some unusual material, that would have been odd..  Heck.  They supposedly showed us how to make lenses for telescope.  Why not put in a few windows?

One thing that stuck out in my mind was this hole in the ground that was supposed to be a perfect cylinder except that it wasn’t.  It had a lot of water in it and was apparently used for sacrifices.  The movie posits that it was created when a rocket took off, which blasted this perfect cylinder-shaped hole in the ground.  I was wondering how that was possible.  I don’t think a rocket would cause ground to sublimate like that.  (It wouldn't have been a very efficient rocket if it had.)  Even if it did, how would it cause that much ground to just go away?

I wouldn’t recommend buying the movie.  Instead, get it streaming from Netflix if you can.  If I do watch this again, I’d love to watch it with someone that knows about archaeology.  It would be interesting to have them point out all the inaccuracies.  (I did find out that they were wrong about the population of Easter Island.)  Maybe we could even have a Mystery Science Theater 3000 for movies passing themselves off as documentaries.   How cool would it be to add a commentary track from actual experts?

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