By Andrew Buckner
Rating: ***1/2 out of *****.
Extraordinary: The Stan Romanek Story (2013) is a riveting companion piece to Romanek’s three prior books. They are the groundbreaking Messages: The World’s Most Documented Extraterrestrial Contact Story (2009), The Orion Regressions (2011) and Answers (2012). These popular tomes, all of which I highly recommend reading, detailed Romanek’s personal encounters with unearthly life forms. Needless to say, the one-hundred and five-minute documentary which reiterates the content of these penned articles is nowhere near as in-depth as Romanek’s literary compositions on the subject. Additionally, the style is difficult to get used to at first. There is also an overreliance on quotes from many differing sources to fill gaps in the runtime. Still, the film is nonetheless fascinating. This term is especially accurate when considering the reams of video, audio and photographic evidence which is presented in Romanek’s defense. Moreover, the three main sections the piece is assembled into (“The Evidence”, “Stan and Lisa” and “Validation” respectively) create a perfectly well-rounded beginning, middle and open-ended conclusion to Romanek’s on-going communion with these highly-intelligent beings. This is even if the final sequence sours the proceedings considerably. It is, quite simply, the wrong note with which to send audiences out into the world.
Regardless, Romanek makes for a largely engaging focal point. Likewise, the mid-section arrangements which concern the relationship between Stan and his wife, Lisa, are gripping. They are as potent as the myriad interviews from experts glimpsed in the last act. This is despite the fact that the latter often feels as if there is often too much emphasis on swaying viewers towards Romanek’s credibility. A similarly manipulative sensation is found in the brief “Prologue”. Such is situated at the commencement of the account.
Yet, the formerly addressed climactic conversations emit a refreshingly cerebral and alternately cryptic tone. Such makes these suspicious impressions easy to overlook. These profound inquiries complement the labor immeasurably. This is as these discussions turn to questions of the past, present and future of mankind itself.
From a technical standpoint, Jon Sumple provides all-around skillful work. This encapsulates the various roles he engages in on this project. This is director, co-writer (with Jack Roth), co-producer (with Roth and Jamie Sernoff), cinematographer and editor. Correspondingly, Anton Patzer’s intense, hypnotic original music and Patrick Lomantini’s superb visual effects enhance the quality of the effort immensely. In turn, the lingering impact of this illuminating, if curious, presentation is both haunting and harrowing. Such results in a flawed, but worthwhile, production. It is one which fellow fans of supposedly true alien abduction tales will assuredly want to seek out for themselves. You can do so now on DVD, Blu-ray and video on demand.
(UNRATED). Contains adult themes and situations.
Production Company: J3Films.