MYSTERIES OF THE GODS (1976)
aka Botschaft der Gotter
Article 5066 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Harald Reinl and Charles Romine
Featuring William Shatner, Robert Charroux, Jeane Dixon
Country: West Germany
What it is: Ancient astronauts documentary
William Shatner takes us on a tour of more of the evidence of extraterrestrial visitations in the past.
The first half covers more ancient paintings and works of architecture used to back up the theory that we were visited by ancient astronauts in the past. The second half is about UFO sightings and the possibility of the aliens returning and how we will greet them when we do. So what we have here is basically a retread of CHARIOTS OF THE GODS and IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT ASTRONAUTS; there’s a new narrator (William Shatner) and some new things to look at (like a crystal skull), but the mood and the style are largely the same. I sat for a bit after watching it trying to think of what I would say about it, and I finally found myself asking something I never asked before – Why couldn’t they have made a good documentary on the subject? I’m not really talking about the subject matter; I’m talking about finding a way to bring these subjects to vivid life in a documentary. There are many examples out there that do so; they can make a subject fascinating even if you’re not all that interested in it. This movie, and so many like it on similar subjects from the era are so stolid, static, talky and vague that they practically embalm the subject rather than bring it to life. A documentary like this, done well, could be interesting whether you were a believer, a skeptic, or on the fence, and it would have generated far more lively discussion that this one, which is, sadly, a dull bore.