Olatunde Osunsanmi’s “The Fourth Kind” is a supposed documentary about alien encounters in Alaska, and other weird phenomena. Is it good?
The Fourth Kind Ain’t Real
Okay, let me say this: My spoiler alert is mostly sarcastic, because people with brains will be able to figure this out right away: The Fourth Kind is actually a pseudo-documentary. It ain’t real, folks!
Still, it’s understandable how some could be fooled at first. When The Fourth Kind starts, Milla Jovovich tells us that, although she’ll be playing a character, the character’s based on a real person named Abigail Tyler. She also promises, quite earnestly, that the film will show actual footage that inspired the scenes she’s re-enacting.
In fact, some of the real footage is even shown side-by-side with the “re-enactment” scenes. What Milla doesn’t tell us, though, is that the supposed “real” Abigail Tyler is played by Charlotte Milchard, and that the story’s a bunch of Grade A baloney. Still, when I say “Grade A,” I mean it’s a far-fetched story done pretty well.
Was there some alien phenomena at Nome, Alaska, in October 2000? Probably not. Still, that doesn’t make this a bad movie.
In fact, it’s not the first alien-related project involving Nome, Alaska. There’s a 1993 episode The X-Files, titled “Iced,” which has agents Mulder and Scully investigating mysterious, alien phenomena in the region. Still, The X-Files normally don’t depict events as being based on a true story (though nerds would probably know of exceptions offhand).
Anyway, this bend of the truth is a big part of what critics didn’t like. I even understand that, to a degree. However, most UFO believers themselves will probably recognize this as made up ( and yes, I’m extending them that kind of credit).
Why Some Might Like It
I think The Fourth Kind has decent performances throughout. Some might like Milla Jovovich’s performance, while others won’t. I thought it was pretty good. Really, some of the best moments, most convincing parts are the supposed “original footage” scenes.
Oddly enough, one of the best actors (in my opinion) is Raphael Coleman, who plays Abigail Tyler’s son, Ronnie. There’s a definite realism to his portrayal,. He seems authentic playing a kid who’s jaded with his family life (hopefully that isn’t a reflection of his real home life).
Also, I will say that, for a film about such strange and creepy events, there isn’t much overacting going on in general. Everyone is competent, and they (generally) play for the scene rather than the glory of a standout performance.
Also, for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans out there, this film prominently features Casey Jones…Oops! I mean Elias Koteas, who played Casey Jones in the first and 3rd TMNT movies. He also manages an authentic, sort of restrained performance.
Perhaps this is something the critics didn’t like, as well as the fiction-as-fact dynamic. However, I must admit, seeing Elias Koteas made me want to dust off the ol’ Turtle Van and take it for a spin (though I never had one, and I’m probably getting sidetracked here).Owl. (The Fourth Kind)
Another interesting aspect of The Fourth Kind? It’s not really an action movie. Although the film contains some action, it’s more about drama, emotion, confusion and otherworldly events.
There aren’t really any “bad-ass” moments where a hero takes charge and teaches those dang aliens a lesson. In fact, everyone caves in to the cryptic nature of the events, and they do what they can with what little understanding they have.
It’s largely a movie about people losing sanity, and some scenes are memorable. For example, there’s this weird image of a white owl staring at people through their windows, which numerous people mention to the psychologist Abigail Tyler. That’s a little creepy by itself, even without alien home invaders.
The effects are also pretty decent, including some of the audio effects in some key scenes. In any case, it’s better than the Rotten Tomatoes score of 19% might have you believe (and, seriously, can’t they just round it up to 20%, out of mercy?).
What are your thoughts on The Fourth Kind? Ever see a white owl outside your window? Let us know in the comments!