Films: Crop Circle Realities
Crop Circle Realities
Director: Darcey Weir
Writers: Geoffrey D Calhoun, Darcey Weir
When was the last time we were treated to a genuinely wonderful crop circle documentary? Easy. 2005’s CircleSpeak followed on from 1999’s Croppies in analysing the circles phenomenon and the people that drive it. Both were engaging, thoughtful and possessed a humorous edge. They were balanced, fair and completely appropriate for a British audience familiar with a few cerealogical basics. Crop circles were, after all, a national obsession during the 1980s and into the following decade.
Unfortunately, the days of great crop circle documentaries seem to be behind us. Pretty much all of what we’ve had since CircleSpeak are a string of documentaries attempting to convince us that crop circles really are made by an unknown force. Serial para-doc writer and director Darcey Weir is the latest to follow this reasoning with his 2021 film Crop Circle Realities.
It’s not really any surprise that Crop Circle Realities has no UK release. It’s firmly pitched at a cross-Atlantic audience and is an extended piece in how there’s no way people with planks could make more than the clumsiest crop circles because, after all, it’s the orbs (balls of light) that do it.
The whole thing feels cheap. It seems like Weir was looking for another paranormal theme to exploit, chose a subject, winced when he counted the cents he had to work with and decided to stay local for his talking heads. Of these experts, Gary King — whom The Croppie usually has time for — is cringeworthy as he shamelessly claims 7/7/7 and the the Oliver’s Castle video to have been genuine paranormal events. Meanwhile, Mexican film maker Jaime Maussan is his enthusiastic self and tells circle makers he’ll stump up a lot of money if they can prove their abilities. It sounds good in front of the cameras but Maussan seems to forget we’ve been here before. The third mouth is disclosure fanatic Stephen Bassett who only makes a short appearance; it’s not really clear what he offers apart from some eerily intense facial expressions and an argument from incredulity built upon dodgy factoids.
Beyond the lengthy interview segments with Maussan and King, there is a notable lack of original footage. A lot of what’s on show has been culled from the same pair, including material from King’s admittedly entertaining and much missed Against The Grain YouTube show.
There are some dodgy script moments too, the best being when narrator Geoffrey Calhoun tells us of the late circle maker ‘Doug Bowler’. It’s amusing, but in keeping with the documentary’s low rent feel. The only saving graces for film are the pretty crop circles, always a good thing, but that’s nothing to do with the documentary makers.
All in, Crop Circle Realities fills an hour and seven minutes with some pretty crop circle footage and a load of guff. It’s the sort of overnight filler you’d perhaps watch at 3am on a forsaken channel like CBS Reality after a night on the beer. The Croppie can’t recommend it, but if you fancy some throwaway entertainment then you know what to
illegally download seek out.