Author Topic: Bob Lazar documentary  (Read 28 times)

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Bob Lazar documentary
« on: August 26, 2019, 10:00:26 pm »
As with the Skinwalker Ranch documentary this is a George Knapp production and focuses strongly on Knapp's amazing archival footage and in doing so unwittingly gives an insider's view up front as to how TV stations in the 1980s tried to mask a whistleblower's identity. The answer is - not too well.

By sitting Bob Lazar in the front seat a TV mobile van for his filming, then directing a very bright key backlight from ten or 15 feet away, the producers tried to have Lazar's  features obscured, yet his signature glasses and unique facial structure, and to unmasked voice, must have been a dead giveaway to anyone who knew him. It remains then no surprise that he became a made man in his first appearance.

What is surprising in this narrative is how well Corbell and team fleshed out the personality and unique childhood Bob had - his mother recalling in detail how he mounted a jet engine to a Stingray bike in the 6th grade, a project reprised later in the program, coupled with Bob's recollection of building his own particle collider as a teen. While there remains yet a "missing chapter" concerning Bob's reported but unproven matriculation at Cal Poly, his one playful dalliance with prostitution pimping in LV, the lasting insight we get is of a man equal parts serious scientist and trickster Tom Swift - building rocket cars in his Las Vegas suburban neighborhood, blowing things up in the desert, but in a totally guileless matter of fact way.

Corbell drums home how Lazar is affronted by his veracity being doubted, citing the numerous polygraph tests he's passed and allowing him and his wife, through rare home footage, to let us peer into the daily routines of a man still richly rewarded by science, even after the raids on his business (United Nuclear) both in New Mexico (his prior domicile) and now in Michigan by literally every federal and state agency one might be able to muster on a given day - and they did!

Suffice to say no trace of the infamous "element 115" were ever recovered, nor was Lazar ultimately silenced or perhaps even deeply intimidated. He makes clear however that if given a different life path to take that at this age (50s?) he'd have to consider the positives and negatives. That said he doesn't back away from what he did or what his stated motivations were. Bob doesn't like that our government is concealing advanced energy technologies from us.

The revelation of photos confirming the "hand scanner" device Lazar used to sign in to work at the S-4 compound south of Area 51 caused a bit of a mind bubble to this viewer who recalls his own bank was using a very similar unit (Diebold?) until recently which recorded hand size as well as fingerprints. Note to self - be sure and ask someone what happened to all the data that device recorded in its years as a gateway to the safety deposit box room? Securely deleted and shredded...of course... ::) ::) ::)

Unlike the more languid pacing of his Skinwalker film Corbell pulls out a few more stops for this one.

Yes the background music is still just a basic syncopated electronic distraction, but this time the filming steps up a bit with more quick cuts, public domain scifi clips, and of course the oft times mumbled narration of one Mickey Rourke, sounding a lot less like the urbane Boogie Sheftell in "Diner" than the bruising Marv in "Sin City ". Rourke's raspy and stumbling narration can be distracting, it can also simply be lost. Corbell might want to search out Peter Coyote the next time he needs a listenable and accessible speaker.
Similarly odd was the initial establishing shot of Knapp taken in the indoor pool enclosure of some Vegas hotel. His voice echoes needlessly causing me to ponder the choice of location - was there not an empty banquet room to be had?

Knapp for his part is a joy to watch in his younger years, a man the camera loved then and still does. Corbell chooses to use his smart phone on speaker to conduct some of his logistics with Knapp and as a dramatic tool I found that lacking. Knapp through a phone is OK. Knapp daring the camera face-on is what we recall from a real journalist. You simply don't see the personal commitment to research, the sober analysis of facts, the unwillingness to jump the shark and lead with a conclusion before the story tells itself in today's limpid tide of scriveners and didactic "newsy" video preachers. Watch this closely and revel in how disciplined Knapp was and still is.

You come away from this documentary with positive impressions of the journalist and his subject - but not because Corbell ginned you into such with platitudes or biased editorial guidance, rather he and Knapp let Bob be Bob and it works to perfection. Watching Lazar sketch out the gravity drive mechanism for a saucer on a large art pad on his kitchen island one feels to be auditing an advanced grad school seminar that Bob somehow renders gleefully in "Mythbusters" blueprint art simplicity, undeterred by the increasing complexity of the technology he is illustrating. That scene alone, and there are so many more, became for me the keystone of this entire construct.

Corbell's production ran a tight 1:37 minutes and at no point did it feel rushed or incomplete.

Unlike Skinwalker this profile in whistle-blowing humanizes the oft times enigmatic, but always privacy-seeking Lazar to the point that we accept his claim that he simply doesn't make things up. And why would he? This is a man in acceptance of what he has done, in protest of what was done to him, and in no mood to legitimize the government's tight-fisted imprisonment of alternative energies.

That the film begins and ends with a live real time FBI raid on Lazar's new digs miraculously didn't even begin to make this insightful journey through a life feel stagey.

Unlike Skinwalker you won't leave feeling sated by not knowing what the answer is.

At even the skeptical boundary of credence it seems unlikely that anyone who immerses themselves in this pool of government spooks, nerdy scientists, and black ops players will come away doubting Bob's veracity. As such it cracks the door for the audience as to just what is in our skies, who might be operating it, and why.

That's a fantastic bus stop on the journey of the unknown to jump off at.

Grade = 4 stars (A-) and well worth the time and money spent!