Do you like Elvis? London lad, Ray Santilli (Decaln Donnelly), likes Elvis. And that is why he and his best-buddy, Gary Shoefield (Ant McPartlin), fly over to America, with the intent of buying some rare footage of 'The King' in action, just so he can sell it on his market-stall back home.
Well, that was his intent anyway.
The thing is, once Ray and Gary are in America, and are introduced to the owner of said footage, Harvey (Harry Dean Stanton), they comes to realize quite a few things about him during their meeting. For example: He looks scary. He was once a US Army cameraman back in the day. And he's a very cleaver businessman who want to sell Ray some more film -- one pertaining to a real life alien autopsy from 1947.
Yeah! That's right. 'Real Life' alien autopsy. Crazy, right? Just as crazy as Ray and Gary. Because they quickly fly back home, borrow some money from some crazy Hungarian gangster -- called Laszlo (Götz Otto) -- fly back to the states, buy this 'Alien' film from Harvey, before going back to old London town again, to put their plans into action.
Well, that was their intent anyway.
You see, regrettably, during the time it takes for this 'last leg' of their deal to be made, Ray suddenly discovers that his film has been degraded due to the bad state it has been kept in for all this time. Worst still, Laszlo will kill him if he finds out about this sad turn of events. Also, what about all the time and effort it has taken both he and Gary to pull this venture off? You could not make a film about it, could you? Or could you?
Bing! Alien Autopsy Redux.
Now in no time at all, Ray, Gary, and some of their friend, recreate this 'Alien Autopsy' on celluloid -- just so that they can peddle this 'slice of life' in the public domain. Moreover, once this 'alternate homage' inadvertently hits the media, it catapults them straight into the spotlight. Money. Cash. And fame.
However, this does come with a number of major drawbacks don't you know. Laszlo. Journalistic pests. And Mistrust. Though I suppose that is why what next transpires is a right otherworldly experience all in all. As tractors go bang - Harvey uses slang - Ray and Gary scream and shout - and what is any of this all about?
From my own point of view, 'Alien Autopsy' reminds me of one of those nineteen-sixites English made 'Rank' produced film. Maybe it’s something to do with it's 'all-English' cast? Or maybe it’s that way in which the story doesn't appear to take itself too seriously? Or better yet, maybe it’s the way that the acting doesn't seem to be overproduced or ‘Hollywood-ized’ in any way shape or form?
Yeah. Why not. All of these suggestions sound about right.
Granted, this is movie no ‘Goodfellas’ by any stretch of the imagination. However, whilst saying that, these two films do share three seminal factors in common. Firstly, they both use novelistic techniques to convey a very daring story-line. Secondly, they both have a well defined set of characters, who present themselves in a bold yet dramatic way. And thirdly, they are both true life tales.
Yes. That's right. This film is based on a true-story.
Here, check out these facts for a some history on the 'real-life' players: (1) Did you know that Gary Shoefield starred in numerous British children's shows, such as 'Pinky and Perky' and 'The Magic Roundabout'? (2) Ray Santilli helped promote many eighties musical acts, such as Boy George, Ian Dury, Dollar, Hot Chocolate, and the Tourists [later called Eurythmics]. (3) Gary had a electronic sampling business in the nineties, which was best know for the techno-anthem 'Thunderbirds are Go'. He also managed actor, Patrick McGoohan, for a short time as well. (4) In 1985 Ray founded 'Music Broadcast Services', which was an independent record label that had the right to many of Disney's audio catalogue. (6) Gary is currently a television producer who works in the publishing industry, and owns a share of an online casino. (7) Ray claims that the 'Alien Autopsy' footage has been restored in 2006 [the same year that the film was released]. (8) Both Ray and Gary now live and work in London, and are still friends.
Now while I'm in the mood for writing bullet-points, let me tell you in bullet-point form how much I enjoyed 'Alien Autopsy'. (1) Conceptually this film is told in mock-documentary fashion, with the present day interviewer [as played by Bill Pullman], being informed by Gary and Ray, about their past exploits. I found this filmic device very effective within the scene of things, allowing the commentators to comment on their previous actions in prose. (2) This comedy film is genuinely funny; and has a nice and pithy tone of conveying humor, without it seeming too overt in execution. (3) All of the actors in this piece are just great. Omid Djalili. Harry Dean Stanton. Götz Otto. Bill Pullman. Madeleine Moffat. Plus the rest of the supporting players. Really do support this film. Granted, Ant and Dec do come across in their normal television manner. Though that is not to say that this is a bad thing in retrospect -- they are very warming to the eye. (3) At the end of the flick you get to see the real Gary and Ray, which advertently grounds the nature of this project in a very real sense. Perfect. (4) My favorite scene in this picture is the one where the guys do their reenactment. Personally speaking, I thought this section was a blast to watch; as it captured the spirit of mirth and joviality that this movie conforms too. (5) One of the best things about this film, is that is makes you think of one simple question -- Is it real? Maybe? Maybe not? Or...
Overall 'Alien Autopsy' is a very good film. Heck, the only thing that I wasn't too keen on, was the way that the female journalist came across as a predictable 'end ree' dilemma'. Still, this didn't impede my enjoyment of this true-life comedy all that much.
Good film – good story – interesting concept.
Good film – good story – interesting concept.
THE RATING: B+