Saturday, March 31, 2012

'Avengers' aliens show their faces in new TV spot

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

The aliens in the upcoming superhero movie The Avengers finally have shown their faces. A new TV spot for the movie grants the viewer a fleeting glimpse of the as yet unidentified extraterrestrial (or possibly extra-dimensional) race which is pitted against Marvel’s much-loved superhero troupe.

These animated gifs come via the SuperheroHype forums...

And here’s the new TV spot...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rihanna, the reluctant UFO spotter

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Rihanna, spotting and killing aliens in Battleship (2012)

Pop diva and star of the upcoming alien invasion movie Battleship has revealed that she used to be a UFO spotter, albeit a reluctant one. When asked by a journalist at a recent press conference if she believes in alien life, Rihanna responded:

"My dad used to make me sit outside on the steps all night long looking for UFOs flying by, and I had to do that for years."

Her comment was met with chuckles from the crowd and from her two co-stars, Taylor Kitsch and Brooklyn Decker. But her director, Peter Berg (who was sat directly to her left), asked her quickly and with a straight face: "did you see any?" He seemed slightly disappointed by her response:

"I didn't see any but I saw a falling star once and I was like, 'Yessss, Dad! Come and see, it just darted'."

Peter Berg (centre) in Fire in the Sky (1993)
Berg, of course, is fully aware of the reality of the UFO phenomenon, having co-starred in the 1993 movie, Fire in the Sky, which was based on the famous Travis Walton abduction experience of 1975. Berg and his co-stars spent time with Walton during the shoot and heard the disturbing details of his unearthly encounter straight from the horse's mouth.

In any case, judging from other alien-related comments Rihanna makes in the most recent Battleship promotional featurette, UFO occupants will surely be glad they've never stopped in to pay her a visit: "I'm all for killin' these creatures!" she declares with a smile.

Battleship hits cinemas 11 April (UK) and 18 May (US).

The Good Guys Dress in Black, Remember That: How Movies and Music Rewrote MIB Lore

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Exclusive artwork courtesy of David Sankey

The line between documented UFOlogical fact and speculative pop-cultural fiction has always been blurry, but it disappeared in spectacular fashion back in 1997 with the release of the hugely successful Men in Black. As any student of the UFO subject knows, civilian encounters with the enigmatic ‘MIBs’ have been documented for decades in relation to mysterious aerial objects, and those who have been unfortunate enough to attract the attention of these black-clad mystery-men typically describe them as creepy, imposing and outright threatening in their behaviour. But Steven Spielberg’s big-budget production (based on the comic book by Lowell Cunningham) re-spun MIB-lore in favour of the Men in Black themselves and of government secrecy surrounding the UFO phenomenon. It was a message encapsulated by Will Smith’s Grammy Award-winning title rap for the movie’s soundtrack:

The good guys dress in black, remember that
Just in case we ever face to face and make contact...
We’re your first, last and only line of defense
Against the worst scum of the universe
So don’t fear us, cheer us
If you ever get near us, don’t jeer us
We’re fearless...

Let me tell you this in closin'
I know we might seem imposin'
But trust me, if we ever show in your section
Believe me, it's for your own protection
Cuz we see things that you need not see
And we be places that you need not be
So go with your life, forget that Roswell crap
Show love to the black suit, cuz
That's the Men in
That's the Men in...

And, well, you know the rest.

In the minds of the many unfamiliar with UFOlogy, Men in Black would now and forever be associated exclusively with a movie and a song of the same name – with science fiction cinema (and Will Smith) rather than reported historical encounters. Moreover, MIBs went from being sinister witness-harassers to heroic “galaxy-defenders.” Such is the power of entertainment.

This power that entertainment – particularly cinema – wields over our perceptions of complex political issues was something legendary 20th Century Fox Production Chief Darryl Zanuck understood with crystal clarity. In 1943, while serving with the Army Signal Corps, Zanuck said: “If you have something worthwhile to say, dress it up in the glittering robes of entertainment and you will find a ready market... Without entertainment, no propaganda film is worth a dime.”

The Men in Black franchise may not be movie propaganda in the traditional sense (in that it was not pushed into production by the state for political ends), but it serves the UFO-related interests of the national security state nonetheless in its presentation of a just cover-up of extraterrestrial visitation orchestrated by a covert, yet entirely righteous organisation that, by necessity, operates without legal oversight for the good of all mankind.

If the time ever comes when Disclosure is forced upon the US government and the President is called upon by his citizens to justify the UFO secrecy that has metastasised for over sixty years behind the most impenetrable layers of America’s national security state, he need not prepare an elaborate speech, but say, quite simply: “Go watch Men in Black.”

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

'Prometheus' to be tamed by PG-13 rating?

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Prometheus director Ridley Scott spoke to Empire magazine recently about what age rating his movie might receive and the big questions that drove him to revisit the Alienuniverse he helped create in 1979.

Scott said of Alien's ‘Space Jockey’ subplot:

"I always wondered when they did [Aliens] 2, 3 and 4 why they hadn't touched upon that, instead of evolving into some other fantastic story. They missed the biggest question of them all: who's the big guy [the Space Jockey]? And where were they going? And with what? Why that cargo? There's all kinds of questions."

Regarding the possible age rating for Prometheus, Scott hinted to Empire that the violence may have been toned-down enough to facilitate a PG-13 rating (booo!), but insisted that the movie will be every bit as powerful as the R-rated Alien and Aliens.

"The question is, do you go for the PG-13, [which] financially makes quite a difference, or do you go for what it should be, which is R? Essentially, it's kinda R... It's not just about the blood, it's about ideas that are very stressful. I'm not an idiot, but I'll do everything I can to get the most aggressive film I can."

I, for one, am disappointed (though not particularly surprised). “Kinda R” is not “R”. PG-13 may work for Harry Potter, but the horrors the Alien universe were never meant to be tamed. Still, even if it does wind-up a PG-13, if Scott’s final product can match the chilling intensity of its trailer, fans may yet find it in their hearts to forgive the old master.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Silver Screen Saucers Project

By Bryce Zabel
Silver Screen Saucers Consulting Editor

Extraterrestrials can be extremely big box office when done right. They provide drama, conflict and, most often, a really, really good bad guy.
The question for ufologists is whether Hollywood makes these projects just because of the tickets they can sell or whether there is ever an ulterior, hidden motivation. This, of course, is what makes Silver Screen Saucers such compelling reading.
Robbie Graham and I met last summer at the Leeds Exopolitics Conference where we both got to share our mutual passions for UFOs in television and film. We come at this topic from two different angles — Robbie has done brilliant work in the academic field delving into the history and behind-the-scenes machinations of countless such projects and I’ve had the good fortune to experience a handful of them from the inside.

And, now, we’re working together to bring Silver Screen Saucers to a larger audience. Robbie is blistering his fingers on his keyboard to produce what will likely be the most definitive book on the subject ever written. I’m working in concert with Robbie to find a way to bring his book to life in television as a special or series and, as a consequence, I’m consulting with Robbie on the content of this website so that it all fits together to create the best experience possible for you and other readers and viewers to come.
It’s all part of a mix where I’ve “doubled-down” on ufological topics. Many of you know me because of the NBC TV series I created and produced, Dark Skies, and the development I contributed to on the SyFy Channel’s Taken. But I also have a new edition of the book I co-authored with Richard Dolan, A.D. After Disclosure, being published by Career Press in May 2012. I’m also finishing the screenplay for Majic Men, the story of the Roswell investigation, which is inspired by the work of Stanton Friedman and Donald Schmitt.
For those of you who live in the Northern California area, I’ll be delivering my speech “Life After Contact” at the Sonoma International Film Festival in mid-April, based on an invitation they extended after seeing it at the IUFOC in Phoenix just a month ago.
So there is lots to talk about in the future but, for now, let me just say that while we’re all keeping our eyes on the skies, let’s not forget to check out Silver Screen Saucers from time-to-time as well.

Monday, March 26, 2012

'MIB 3' theme song released

Silver Screen Saucers

Sony Pictures has just released the theme song for the upcoming Men in Black 3

Performed and co-written by Armando C. Perez (a.k.a Pitbull), the song features a sample of the 1950s hit "Love is Strange." Which really is strange considering the movie is set in 1969.

The title of the song: "Back in Time" (I know... Huey Lewis! Back to the Future! Right!?). Here it is...

More supplies

The Kahana came back this week.  This time they are also making stops at Tern, Laysan, and Kure to switch out crews.  We've still got the Kure crew here helping us out so we've been able to plant a lot more bunchgrass than usual.  We've got another good visitor group here this week, and the weather is finally getting less windy.  They'll finally be able to hold their cameras steady for pictures.

We also got out snorkeling this week for the first time in a long time.  It was great, as always.  I didn't take a lot of pictures this week, on land at least, so I've got mostly underwater ones this time.

The Kahana brought more food supplies and fuel.  They'll be going up to Kure Atoll in a couple of days before they head back to Honolulu via Laysan Island and Tern Island.

 Here's a hybrid albatross that I haven't seen before.

 Here's a Hawaiian turkeyfish that was upside down on the roof of a little cave.  This is the first time I've ever seen one of these. 

This is a belted wrasse and a saddle wrasse.

 A female surge wrasse swims above the coral.

 The coral in the area that we went to on Sunday is the nicest that I know of in the atoll.

The shortnosed wrasses are colorful little fish.

Here's a Hawaiian spiny lobster next to a slate pencil urchin.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

'Men in Black 3' retro aliens revealed

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Legendary monster make-up artist Rick Baker spoke enthusiastically at last summer’s San Diego Comic-Con about his alien creature designs for the upcoming Men in Black 3. As sizable chunks of the time-travel-themed movie are set in 1969, Baker said he had been allowed to indulge his passion for retro alien beasties, telling his Comic-Con audience:
“Right from the first movie, I was always saying to Barry [Sonnenfeld], ‘Let’s do aliens that look like aliens we’ve already seen... Let’s say that Paul Blaisdell, who did the effects for Invasion of the Saucer Men, actually had a real encounter with an alien and tried to recreate it on film, so there are saucer men in the Men in Black headquarters. And let’s have E.T. in there, operating the phone.' Barry didn’t like any of those ideas, he thought they were stupid. But when Men in Black 3 came along and I heard about the time-travel element, I said, ‘Okay, it’s set in 2012, so we’ll have aliens that look like 2012 aliens in that part of the film. But when we go back to 1969, wouldn’t it be cool to have retro aliens? Big brains, bug eyes, stuff like that?’ I thought they should have a totally different, retro feel. And they agreed to it, thank God. So I got to make a whole bunch of cool stuff.”

Well, here we are in March, 2012, with just two months to go before the movie’s release, and finally we’re afforded a glimpse at the fruits of Baker’s labour. These photos come to you via Russia’s Stark Industries...

It seems Baker has been true to his word about drawing inspiration from Invasion of the Saucer Men, which helped popularise the term “little green men” in 1957. 1953’s Robot Monster also gets a nod!
Men in Black 3 hits cinemas May 25.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ director defends alien twist

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Last week, while speaking at Nickelodeon’s annual Upfront presentation, Michael Bay announced that his upcoming live-action production of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would present the beloved characters as extraterrestrials, effectively re-writing their sacred origin story.

Predictably, Bay's comments resulted in a stinging backlash from Turtles fans, who quickly took to online message boards and accused the filmmaker of violating their childhood memories (don’t take it personally, guys, that's just Bay's 'thing').

Anyway, took the opportunity yesterday to talk to the movie’s director, Jonathan Liebesman, and ask him what he made of ‘Turtle-gate’.

Liebesman had this to say:

"I heard about it, and I'm glad there's such a passionate fanbase – I think that was good news for everyone – but literally, I've just been locked in a room with Kevin Eastman [original co-creator of the Turtles]. I think what we're developing, the fans will love. I'm a fan, and I love what we're doing. It's a lot of stuff Kevin's been thinking about for a long time and just hasn't done. Anything we expand will tie right into the mythology, so I think fans will go apesh*t when they see it...”

Jonathan Liebesman
I think we can all agree with Jonathan that Turtles fans most assuredly will go “apesh*t” when they see his movie. The director then added, apparently with a straight face:

“We worked so hard on this. You just don't want to f*ck it up and you don't want to disappoint people who pay money... out of respect for the people who are paying money to see the movie – you feel those people are the reason why we have these jobs."

This from the man who gave us Battle: Los Angeles (2011). How Liebesman still has a job after that plotless, excruciatingly bland military recruitment campaign is a bigger mystery than the real life Battle of Los Angeles. And Liebesman made that one without Michael bay... the thought of these two men working together is the stuff of cinematic nightmares. Turtles fans, abandon all hope, ye who enter the multiplex December 2013.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Obama, Roswell, and 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Ask President Obama the quickest way to fictionalize a real event and he'll tell you: brush it gleefully with Hollywood dust.

Earlier this week, while in Maljamar, New Mexico, President Obama dropped the R-bomb on reporters in a cheap effort to elicit some laughs. It worked better than ever, because in his next breath he paraphrased the 1951 UFO movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still, in which the enlightened alien, Klaatu, tells the people of Earth: “We have come to visit you in peace and with good will.”

The President then proceeded to... threaten to kill young children who ask him about Roswell??

You heard the man, "We're gonna keep our secrets here," whatever that means. Don't worry, Mr. President. Your comments may have turned a little sinister towards the end, but all the headlines will recall is your whimsical sci-fi movie soundbite... see!


Did President Obama Fumble the UFO Cover-up?

"Klaatu Barada Nikto" (Guest Blogger: Grant Cameron)

UFOs and Hollywood: Blurring the Line Between Fact and Fantasy

Thursday, March 22, 2012

'The Host': teaser trailer for new body-snatching alien movie

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Here is the first teaser trailer for the big screen adaptation of The Host – Stephanie Meyer’s 2008 science-fiction romance novel about alien entities (called “Souls”) who silently take over Earth by invading the minds of its inhabitants...

While the teaser trailer is suitably enigmatic, the official plot for the movie is rather more revealing:

“Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Wanderer probes Melanie's thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer's mind with visions of the man Melanie loves – Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love."

The Host is directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War). It is scheduled for release March 29, 2013.

‘Battleship’ movie: Goldilocks planets and the perils of ET contact

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Battleship hits cinemas 11 April (UK) and 18 May (US)

Back in 2010, the alien invasion film Skyline incorporated real news stories into its marketing campaign. The trailer for the film begins with bold text against a cosmic backdrop reading:

“On August 28, 2009, NASA sent a message into space farther than we ever thought possible in an effort to reach extraterrestrial life.”

This is true. On the date specified, the Australian government, through its “Hello from Earth” science initiative, and with the help of NASA, sent some 26,000 (carefully vetted) messages from the public to the extra-solar Earth-like planet Gliese 581d in a single transmission. This proactive approach to alien contact known as METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) differs from the traditional passive approach favoured by SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), which devotes its efforts simply to listening for any potential incoming alien signals.

The METI approach is controversial as some scientists consider it unwise to knowingly alert our presence in the galaxy to any potentially technologically superior civilizations. In April 2010, Professor Stephen Hawking made international headlines by stating his firm belief that humanity should seek to avoid extraterrestrial contact: "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational," Hawking said, but added, ominously, "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the American Indians.” Hawking suggested that aliens "might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet” and would perhaps be “looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”

Skyline was a box-office bomb, panned by critics. Despite this, director Peter Berg has chosen to incorporate the “dangers of METI” idea into his upcoming mega-movie, Battleship (which was produced with the full cooperation of the US Navy).

Take a look at this new promotional featurette for Battleship, in which scientists take a proactive approach to extraterrestrial contact, sending a signal directly to a 'Goldilocks' planet...

Silly, arrogant scientists. What, with their selfish desire to expand human knowledge, and all. And, man, is that lead scientist fugly – and British to boot!! The stunningly attractive US military has better things to do with its time than sweep up the sciency mess of bumbling British boffins. But, then, who’s gonna kick those aliens’ asses if not... Rihanna? Wait...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

'John Carter' will lose Disney $200 million

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

On location: John Carter director, Andrew Stanton, and star, Taylor Kitsch

Disney has admitted that its epic Mars-based sci-fi adventure John Carter is set to lose the studio more than $200 million at the box-office. The movie, which cost at least $250 million to make (some say $300 million), opened two weekends ago to a disappointing $30 million and has yet to recoup its budget.

In a statement earlier this week, Disney acknowledged that it expects John Carter “to generate an operating loss of approximately $200m” by the end of March.

Pondering the box-office failure of John Carter, Ben Child of The Guardian writes:

“Critics have suggested that John Carter’s failure to connect with audiences may have been due to confusing marketing as well as lukewarm reviews. Disney chose not to run with the “of Mars” suffix in the wake of traditionally poor box-office results for films that focus on the planet, and trailers also largely ignored the movie's central romance, something Hollywood tends to see as a surefire method of attracting female filmgoers.”

Followers of Silver Screen Saucers, however – and, indeed, anyone familiar with sci-fi movie history – will know that John Carter’s box-office belly-flop was not the result of poor marketing or lukewarm reviews (in fact, Disney marketed the hell out of it, and a number of high-profile critics loved the movie), but something entirely beyond the control of all Hollywood creatives, something ominous and unforgiving: The Martian Curse!

I, for one, am puzzled by the public’s historical aversion to Hollywood’s Mars movies. What is it about The Red Planet that turns us off at the box-office? Your thoughts are welcome...

'Iron Sky' reviews

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

A handful of early reviews for the Nazi UFO invasion comedy, Iron Sky, have started to surface online. The movie is not released theatrically until next month, so it’s too early yet to judge whether or not the following reviews are representative of the hundreds still to pour in, or, indeed, if the reviewers’ cutting comments will have any bearing on the movie’s box-office returns. At this point, though, things aren’t looking too promising.

Here are some review snapshots (for the full reviews, click the website titles in bold red)... 

Perhaps the harshest review comes from The Guardian’s Andrew Pulver, who gives the film just two stars out of five and writes:

“Proper comedy is a rare gift, and all the fancy, fanboy-titillating CGI effects in the world can't make up for it... No one on show has what you would call natural comic timing – a difficulty reinforced by the fact that half the cast aren't speaking their native language... [Directors] Vuorensola and Torssonen can console themselves with the likelihood that the remake rights will be worth a bomb; I've no doubt a queue is already forming. Theirs is an idea that Hollywood could do much better with.”

London’s Time Out Online also could muster only two stars for the movie, saying “The lingering sense is one of missed opportunities: any movie featuring Nazis from the moon should be an easy win. Iron Sky just proves that even the dumbest idea needs a smart mind behind it.”

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter compares the movie to both Starship Troopers and Galaxy Quest, but notes that, “while the plotting is mostly sound enough, the dialogue would have required several more polishes to put Iron Sky in the league of either of those movies,” adding, “the real problem is that the jokes are just not there.” 

Screen Daily’s Mark Adams, meanwhile, is more positive in his review of Iron Sky, saying “fans of the genre will lap up the film,” which has “some delicious moments” and “some truly impressive special effects.”

Robert Beams of What Culture! was also somewhat complimentary:

“There are visual puns, gloriously over-designed Nazi spaceships and even autobahns on the surface of the moon. Every frame is full of jokes – some of them highly inspired and many of them less so (in fact some don’t work at all). But the gag-rate is so high that you’re bound to chuckle at least once every few minutes even if you don’t surrender yourself to it entirely.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Aliens??? Michael Bay tells fans to "chill"

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Transformers director Michael Bay has suggested that his production company’s upcoming live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie reboot will be entirely rewriting the Turtles’ origins story and presenting the ‘heroes in a half-shell’ not as mutants, but as extraterrestrials. Seriously. Last week, while at Nickelodeon’s annual Upfront presentation, Bay told crowds:

“When you see this movie, kids are going to believe, one day, that these turtles actually do exist when we are done with this movie. These turtles are from an alien race and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable.”

Bay's comments did not go down well with Turtles fans, however, who quickly called for the director's massive head on a platter. In response, Bay has now posted the following on his official message board:

"Fans need to take a breath, and chill. They have not read the script. Our team is working closely with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles to help expand and give a more complex back story. Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world."

To see video of Bay’s Turtles revelation, head over to

Bay’s Turtles reboot is scheduled for release Christmas 2013.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Extra Help

We've got a lot going on as usual around here.  We've had a couple of sick Laysan ducks, so we're keeping busy looking for any other sick or dead ones to keep the botulism from spreading.  We've got extra help this week with the crew that's going to Kure Atoll for the summer.  Next week, they'll be swapping out with the crew that's been there over the winter.  The Kahana will take them over after they drop some fuel and supplies off here.  The visitor group that is here right now is having a good time, even with cloudy and windy weather.  One of the visitors was stationed here in the early 70's and we're hearing a lot of good stories from him.  Another couple of ladies have been here 10 times over the years so we're hearing a lot of interesting things from them, too.  It's nice that we get visitors here for a full week so we can actually get a chance to get to know them.

The ballfield seep was getting really overgrown with algae, so our volunteers, RJ, Jennifer, Peter, and Laura Marie hopped in and are about half done cleaning in the picture.

Our greenhouse is looking good.  We've got quite a few species of native plants being propagated for outplanting.

This plant is a native Ilima (Sida Fallax) that we've got growing in the greenhouse.  It's from a cutting of our 1 native plant that is left on the island.  We're trying to get a few more plants growing before the original one dies.

 We do our duck surveys at sunrise every week.  It's getting earlier all the time, and is extra nice when the weather is good.

 You can see how the native naupaka catches the sand and forms dunes.  When the tsunami came last year, the areas with the most naupaka were affected the least.

The Kure crew is helping me check for dead ducks on Eastern Island today.  Thanks Liat, Matt, Eryn, and Julia.