“In the absence of evidence, modern day belief in UFOs and aliens has become its own form of secular religion, and just like religion, people love to cherry-pick the facts that support their own version of the truth and ignore any evidence to the contrary.” So says anti-conspiracy theorist Internet video star Pippa Bernwood of The Alarm Clock, on her latest mission to uncover the truth beneath common misconception.
Call them Majestic 12 or MJ-12, to those on the inside it was simply called “Majic,” the covert US Government organisation dedicated to investigating the UFO phenomenon following the so-called “Roswell Incident” of July 1947; so says paranoid recluse Richard Anderson who claims he was a part of Majic and has contacted Pippa to reveal what he knows.
His memories scattered, Anderson asks Pippa if she was followed, even what year it is, but is impressed by her demonstrated knowledge of popular conspiracy theories, immediately debunking his comment on “space pens,” but he offers little to back up his own wild claims: “They’re not green, they’re not from Mars, they’re grey from Zeta Reticuli – but our concern was the Reptilians from Antares.”
Chalking him off as another crazy screaming in the wind, Pippa is sufficiently interested to carry out some research into Anderson, a man who has little digital or real-world fingerprint having effectively vanished in 1960, but invited to a second clandestine meeting at set of coordinates she is forbidden from checking beforehand, Pippa finds the rabbit hole of uncertainty and inexplicable happenings opening before her.
Directed by Erin Berry from a script co-written with David Pluscauskas and with its UK premiere at the Sci-Fi London film festival, Majic is smart and sharp with fast-flowing intelligent dialogue presented in as straightforward a manner as can expected be considering the shifting ground upon which it builds its foundations as Pippa begins to question whether it is her memories that are wrong or if the world history has indeed been altered when her attention was elsewhere.
A distillation of they key themes of the early seasons of The X-Files so pure and streamlined it could almost be presented as a stage play, all the characters are interesting and smart with defined personalities and justifiable points of view, but while sceptical atheist Pippa (Paula Brancati) is accustomed to questioning the validity of others she struggles when it herself she can no longer trust.
Her chess partner Fishburne (Anand Rajaram) her source for UFOlogical insight, her friend Truckspoor (Debra McGrath) is the voice of reason and reasoning while her oily agent Eastman (Eastman) is only interested in cashing cheques and taking his percentage, but with Men in Black paying nocturnal visits, who is the real Richard Anderson (Richard Fitzpatrick) and, more importantly, who is president: George W Bush or Dick Cheney?
Pippa’s experiences matching the profile of an alien abduction, a phenomenon in which she doesn’t believe, can it be as simple as Truckspoor suggests, that memory is flawed and misremembering is easy? With ripples reflecting The Man in the High Castle and Alastair Reynolds’ Permafrost, while one early narrative sleight-of-hand is obvious this Majic is still vastly more entertaining than that other recent visit to the files of Project Blue Book.