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The UFO Movie YOU (Might Not) Want to See
Skeptics gonna Skept
Skeptichas been making the rounds to promote his new UFO film: The UFO Movie THEY Don’t Want You to See. After an initial viewing, we’re calling it The UFO Movie YOU Don’t Want to See. While we’re all for healthy and robust debate on the reality of aerial anomalies, Dunning’s film foray is far from a conclusive mic-drop. However, if you want to stare at the back of Mick West’s head for an uncomfortable amount of time while he points at grainy footage on a computer screen, then this is the UFO movie you’ve been waiting for.
We recently attended a live-stream of the flick via Zoom as part of SETI’s virtual “movie night.” As an added bonus, the audience was given the chance to participate in a Q&A with Dunning while the film was in progress. The only catch was that you had to endure Seth Shostak (joking, Seth’s cool).
Unfortunately, the event was plagued by a lagging video that made the entire thing hard to follow—something that should have been obvious if any pre-screening tests were done. We cut the crew some slack as we know it can be tough putting together an online event. Instead of worrying about the choppy visuals, we sat back and focused on the audio. Dunning is a veteran podcaster and knows how to spin a yarn with those golden pipes. Plus, the video footage wasn’t much to behold. It wasn’t exactly B-roll, but it’s not winning any Academy Awards for visual effects.
Dunning’s movie utilizes a conventional approach to dismiss the notion of extraterrestrial spacecraft visiting Earth. He concedes that intelligent life likely exists elsewhere in the universe, and they could well be advanced technologically. Heck, he even admits that they’d probably target our big blue marble as a great place to visit based on its unique characteristics. But Brian is absolutely positive that “they can’t get here,” and he blames it on some familiar bugaboos:
The distance is too far. The technology doesn’t exist. The physics doesn’t work.
The film’s biggest weakness is the fact that it doesn’t acknowledge the best theories that contradict its thesis—the same tactic he accuses “UFO people” of employing. The film consults the same 2-3 physicists (we couldn’t tell how many since the video kept cutting out and jumping) to reinforce the position that science doesn’t support the extraterrestrial visitation theory. They aren’t wrong, but they all fail to tell the whole story. Some astrophysicists have proposed ways that aliens could get to Earth by harnessing everything from wormholes to warp drives. While the science surrounding these proposed modes of travel is still extremely hypothetical, they haven’t been ruled out as possibilities.
Additionally, the movie completely fails to address the interdimensional hypothesis, which suggests that UFOs don’t originate from deep space, but from other dimensions or alternate realities.
Dunning thinks that most people who sight a UFO are actually seeing “planets and stars” (at least he didn’t say swamp gas). He wholly dismisses video and photo evidence, despite the fact that a court of law recognizes these materials as valid forms of evidence. Here are some of his explanations for a few famous UFO cases:
Think Rendlesham Forest was a UFO? Nope! That was just a lighthouse.
Put stock in that Zimbabwe School UFO? Sorry! That was just impressionable kids who had seen too much TV.
Believe that UFOs were tampering with weapons facilities? Wrong! The military witnesses on duty were just mistaken.
Dunning’s movie was longer than it needed to be, and like we mentioned earlier, a lot of it was spent staring over fellow skeptic Mick West’s shoulder while he broke down the Navy’s “GIMBAL” and “GOFAST” videos for the millionth time. Perhaps the best part of the evening was the live Q&A that took place during the film—especially when we heard from the small but vocal pro-UFO contingent hiding out in the audience.
User “kim” tested the waters with an early question about which ufologists Dunning consulted to be sure their viewpoints were accurately represented in the picture: “Hi, was Dr. Steven Greer asked to be a part of this documentary?”
Brian’s terse reply set the tone for how the remaining discussion about, you know, actual UFOs would go: “No, this is a science movie, not a UFO storytelling film. Two unrelated genres.” Brian, the words “UFO Movie” are literally in the flick’s title.
Next up was “Rahul” who got it poppin’ in the chats by showing indignation about the film’s treatment of abduction-friendly Harvard psychiatrist, John Mack. (We weren’t really paying attention by this point in the screening, so we don’t remember exactly what was said that set Rahul off.) “Claiming John Mack is an unreliable scientist is beyond disrespectful. He was investigated solely because his work wasn’t taken seriously.”
Dunning suggested that Rahul check other sources, without citing those sources or elaborating on what they reveal: “You should probably read the articles about it from the period.”
The lackluster response didn’t deter Rahul, and after taking 8-minutes to craft a reply, they gave the room their hot take: “The point through all this: Dunning’s assumption is that these craft aren’t real and that people think they’re definitely extraterrestrial. Aside from the fact that warp speed is proven to be possible supported by peer-reviewed research papers, it leaves out the possibility that there are non-human intelligence [sic] that may be from our own solar system with technology enabling them to freely travel to and hide within the earth. No mention of submerged UFOs either.” He’s right, ya know.
Unfortunately, Rahul’s diatribe wasn’t phrased in the form of a question, so they were roundly scolded by Franck, one of SETI’s moderators (Franck’s cool, though): “please use the Q&A to ask question [sic], not to make statements.” Respect, Franck.
Jumping in with an assist was “RCH,” who restated Rahul’s rant as an inquiry: “To follow up on Rahul with a related question - were any UFOlogists or apologists consulted to be sure their strongest arguments and evidence were represented in this film?”
Even though RCH clearly followed the rules of submission, filmmaker Brian Dunning pulled a total “Hollywood” move and skipped right over their question.
This marked the end of his engagement with any suspected “UFO people” in the crowd, but it didn’t stop “Patrick Kelly” from sharing his honest assessment: “This movie is too negative. It does not show what should be done. Doesn't this movie leave serious investigators like Avi Loeb categorized as suspect? Loeb is actively doing science on interstellar meteors, etc.”
This elicited no reply from Dunning.
Soon after his SETI segment, Dunning appeared on Fox News where he jammed on the same anti-UFO chord. While discussing why decorated veterans would risk their reputations to talk about the possibility of off-world vehicles visiting Earth, Brian threw out this false equivalency:
“It’s very easy to find UFO believers who are veterans. It’s not as easy if you were to go out to actual fighter pilots and say, ‘Who here believes in aliens?’ You’re not going to find any.” Yes, Brian, that’s because UFOs and aliens aren’t the same thing.
In the same bit, he describes the three ex-military and intelligence individuals who testified in front of congress on July 26, 2023 as “ufologists”—a stretch to be sure. The week prior during SETI’s movie night, Dunning called David Grusch a “lifelong ufologist” with roots in the UFO community. While Grusch has recent ties to the likes of Jeremy Corbell, George Knapp, et al., that doesn’t disqualify his testimony or make him a UFO-lifer.
We aren’t trying to throw shade at Mr. Dunning. He’s smart and successful, and we’ve cited his work in some of our articles because he usually does reliable, comprehensive research. Maybe we expected more out of the 90-minute production and want our Wednesday evening back. Or maybe we’re just salty about the way he ignored legitimate questions from the “UFO people”—the very crowd he’s hoping to sway with his film’s message.