Aliens Uncovered: The Golden Record at first focuses on UFO incidents of the 1970s and then suddenly shifts to UFO sightings over Lake Michigan in 1994 and the famous Phoenix Lights incident of 1997. Yet, it’s difficult to discern what former President Jimmy Carter’s alleged UFO sighting in Georgia in 1969 has to do with the Phoenix Lights.
This is the main issue with writer/director Clive Christopher‘s third film in a series on UFOs. It feels disjointed, jumping wildly from one UFO story to the next, without really connecting them. As stated, the beginning focuses on the 1970s, specifically former President George H.W. Bush’s brief time in the CIA. Christopher claims Bush knew about UFOs and planned to pass on a recording to President-elect Carter before his inauguration in January 1977 that proved the existence of extraterrestrial life and visitations to Earth. This is a gnarly bit of intrigue that Christopher doesn’t explore enough. He even claims the recording contained evidence of a crash on Thomas Edison’s estate in 1877. This topic is introduced and then dropped.
The film then leaps to the case of UFOs over Lake Michigan in the mid-90s, though it doesn’t really offer any new evidence about the incident, nor does it connect it to the Carter Administration, including two Voyager expeditions that are also a focus of the film, specifically recordings and images of life on Earth that Carter wanted included on one of the Voyagers, should it make contact with ETs. The Voyager bit is rather interesting, especially the fact a U.S. president took the possibility of other life in the universe seriously enough to include a welcome package of sorts depicting life on Earth.
But what this has to do with UFOs over Lake Michigan is rather befuddling, and there’s not really a smooth transition between the first quarter of this film and what follows. However, the film does hit a high point when it shifts to the Phoenix Lights, which really spans the second half of the runtime. Christopher managed to track down new eyewitness testimony, including that of two police officers who were on the force during the incident in March 1997. Both of their testimonies sound quite credible, especially the one from a former police sergeant. A third new testimony comes from a civilian who had several pilots in his family.
These testimonies lend some credibility to one of the most famous UFO cases of the last 30 years. Unfortunately, before Christopher digs much deeper into the Phoenix Lights, the film suddenly ends, with a note promoting his next film in the series, 3.13.97. In fact, the second half of Aliens Uncovered: The Golden Record really feels like a way to reel in viewers for the director’s next project. Hopefully, that one will focus solely on the Phoenix Lights, so the film feels less scattershot than this latest offering.
UFOs are a hot topic right now, after the recent whistleblower report by a former U.S. intelligence officer. The report followed Navy videos released by the Pentagon over the last few years showing odd objects in the skies. People are talking about UFOs, so it’s likely we’ll continue to see new films exploring the subject. Aliens Uncovered: The Golden Record has some interesting tidbits, specifically new eyewitness testimony about the Phoenix Lights. Unfortunately, the rest of the lean runtime feels disconnected, and at worst, a run-up to Christopher’s next great UFO adventure.
Aliens Uncovered: The Golden Record is available on digital platforms.