- May 8, 2000
Fire in the Sky
Length: 109 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1, anamorphically enhanced
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English and French Dolby Surround
Subtitled and Closed Captioned in English
Special Features: None
Release Date: October 19, 2004
Fire in the Sky is “based on a true story.” It’s only as true as your belief in alien abduction.
This is about the abduction of Travis Walton, a logger who was taken by aliens while on a job logging in a remote location with several other workers. The group of them saw a strange object hovering over the trees while driving back to town. They stopped, Travis got out, and was bathed in some kind of light. He then convulsed and collapsed, while his coworkers fled in the truck.
A short time later, the driver, also Travis’ friend, turned around to go back for Travis, but he couldn’t find him.
The remaining loggers fall under suspicion by local law enforcement, the FBI, and the local townsfolk, who all suspect foul play in the disappearance of Travis Walton. While they do their best to prove their innocence, nobody believes them, except for some UFO fanatics.
Days later, Walton shows up, beaten and confused, and with no memory of his experience. Only over time, and with help, does he begin to recall the horrors of his captivity.
This film is genuinely interesting and harrowing in the final act, but the story as presented can’t really support a feature length film. It would have played out very well as a one hour episode of X-Files. Still, the film’s final act, and the admirable performances, make this an interesting enough diversion for fans of the genre.
The film stars D.B. Sweeney as Travis Walton, Robert Patrick as his friend, and James Garner as an investigator who gives the film a bit of authority.
Fire in the Sky is offered up in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is anamorphically enhanced. The image has a good level of detail, overall - though there are occasional shots that appear a bit soft. There is no evident edge enhancement in this transfer, which has good sharpness overall.
Contrast is good - especially so on outdoor scenes. Whites are bright without blooming, and blacks are usually solid with acceptable detail. There is mild to moderate grain in lower lit scenes, with no apparent grain in bright, outdoor scenes. Some darker scenes exhibit a mild flicker.
Color is generally warm, by design, Saturation is solid, with a touch of muddiness in some darker scenes.
The only digital artifacting visible is occasional banding, especially during the scene where Walton is bathed in light before his abduction. The banding is mild, and only briefly visible.
The print is mostly free of dust and scratches, with only occasional specks visible. These are not distracting.
It’s been a long time since I have seen this film, but I believe the transfer is an accurate representation of the print, as far as certain qualities such as grain, warmth, saturation and occasional muddiness. Overall, this is a decent transfer.
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track offers up some good spatial detail, with excellent response across the front soundstage. The rear channels are used for mild ambience throughout, and occasional surround effects. The surrounds really shine in the last act, when Walton recalls his captivity.
Frequency response is solid and natural sounding, with good bass response in music and sound effects, and accurate sibilance in dialog. I’ve never been a big fan of this Mark Isham score, but it comes through cleanly in this mix.
Dialog is generally pinned front and center, and is always clear, clean, and easy to understand.
Low Frequency Effects are present, on occasion, but are not frequent or overly powerful - they are adequate, tight, and don’t distract your attention from where it should be focused.
There are no special features.
Fans of this movie will find a very good, if not great transfer of this catalog title, with a good 5.1 sound mix - and the price is right.