This film is unlike your typical alien encounter as it is set more like a scientific documentary, a what would happen if… type of film, providing a hypothetical situation and exploring how Government Agencies across the globe would deal with it. It is explained that what we’re about to see is an incident that hasn’t happened…yet.
Cameras are given the role of the “visitor” with their intentions unknown and given access to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, leading space scientists, The Ministry of Defense as well as various other agencies. These officials explore this hypothetical situation and question absolutely everything. Why have the aliens arrived? Did they crash land? Are they on an exploratory mission or are they hostile? Do we tell the public or do we not? If we do, how would humans cope with their first encounter with alien life? Who would be the first to greet the aliens?
When it comes to the presence of alien life in this film, it reverts away from all alien movies that Hollywood has ever given us. There are no giant CGI explosions or mass attacks on human life, no little green men or creatures with tentacles. In fact, there is no actual alien life form at all; in other words, no excitement or action. This film merely discusses the prospect of what would happen if aliens ever came calling. There are lots of slow imagery, sluggish cameras moving towards an object or around a room and cuts to random stills every few seconds.
There are numerous introductions to individuals with various titles from long company names. However, these so called specialists appear dull and unaffected by the “unknown presence” that has arrived on Earth. Whether they are real scientists or actors are unknown but irrelevant, they are simply uninteresting. Even though this is a hypothetical situation, there is no emotion from any individual, no nervousness or anxiety. For much of the time it is as if two strangers are sitting on opposite sides of the table having a conversation about something dull rather than the presence of a new lifeform sitting across from you.
Madsen takes a valid idea, what would the world’s Governments Agencies do in a real life alien encounter; but unfortunately this film lacks any real enjoyment or insight. This topic could have been much more thought-provoking. Many individuals want to believe in another species or lifeform out there in space. However, if the aliens came across this feature and were put in the position that we were put in as the “alien”, it is likely they would turn their space ships around and head off in another direction, and I wouldn’t blame them.
Review by Michelle Moore
The Visit: An Alien Encounter is out on DVD on 29 February.