Flicks & Folios – Film Review: Area 51

This made for TV film has been in high demand on channels like the Discovery and the Learning Channels. The summer months often produce high demand programs in specialty weeks like Shark Week and UFO week., and this film is a result of the latter.

British TV producer Martin Belverson was smart enough to film Area 51 as a four-part TV series to allow it to be shown on the network channels. The second episode is very interesting and features a seemingly thorough investigation of the site. The film crew visited the area and spoke to many local participants in the whole UFO mystery. When the crew decided to fly over the area in a small plane, which I’ve never seen done before, they were apparently buzzed by military planes and forced into leaving the area. This area is known as Groom Lake.

The entire Groom Lake area has been carefully cordoned off by the American government in a final attempt to keep nosy people away. The last remaining safe place to observe the Area 51 section from is Tikaboo Peak, which is watched by military folk. That doesn’t stop teams of “sight-seers” from visiting into the wee hours of the morning, however. Planes fly over during the day and activities are monitored by the patrols at night. Some people say they have been arrested and detained at the site and reportedly grilled.

Veteran TV news reporter, George Knapp, whom I have had the delight of “speaking” to in many emails, makes it infinitely clear in Area 51 that he has investigated the site many times. This in itself has impressed me enormously as he shares my disgust at the closed-mindedness of some members of the journalistic community. Despite his solid career credentials investigating many corporate crimes and other hard-boiled stories he is still known throughout the journalism community as “the UFO guy”. Yet Knapp insists that he has never seen anything remotely unexplainable at the Area 51 site, and he continues to go back to see what he can. I respect that attitude enormously.

In Area 51, the film crew identifies the security patrols as private contractors flown in from a private area of an airport. The patrols at the base tour around in O.J.-style white trucks and are more than willing to do the “bad cop bad cop” routine on anyone found illegally in the area.

The famous black mailbox, which isn’t even black, is a marker to watch out for as is the “Warning” sign at the entrance to the road (which is unmarked along “Extraterrestrial Highway”.) The sign explains that trespassers may be subject to deadly force, a U.S. Federal prison life sentence, and revocation of American citizenship. These are pretty serious charges for a place that supposedly “doesn’t exist” according to lawyers representing the U.S. government in a Nevada court when several government workers began a long lawsuit on the basis of being denied medical coverage, treatment or care after being contaminated during work. The film claims that a group of workers watched as a co-worker died a hideous death from exposure to a toxic chemical and then were told not to speak or seek care. Many of them supposedly began to experience severe symptoms themselves. Eventually President Bill Clinton signed a bill denying information about the site being used in court and essentially let the workers hang. Another claim is that their lawyer’s office is cordoned off from the public and he is being forced slowly to lose business by the U.S. government.

The film also talks about ways in which buildings within Area 51 have been disguised to look like everything from mountain terrain (painted on the exterior of aircraft hangers) and the existence of secret underground facilities. Again, that sounds like an awful lot of trouble to go to for a reported “bombing range”. Former workers have also reported projects attempting to duplicate an unknown craft’s propulsion system. Indeed some of the craft said to be launched from the site have are very similar to a classic description of a UFO.

This program is one of the more interesting in the UFO TV investigation game. Go to this site for a few more comments on the show: http://www.ufomind.com/area51/list/1997/jan/a07-009.shtml

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