Review: ‘What on Earth?’

"What on Earth?" gives a look into Suzanne Taylor's personal obsession with crop circles, as she catalogues their patterns and sits down with fellow croppies.

Suzanne Taylor’s personal obsession is crop circles, and in “What on Earth?” she catalogues a great number of the spirally patterns on film, tape and still photos, captured aerially by helicopters, gliders and crop-dusters. Taylor herself provides the film’s voiceover, and conducts informal, loosely shot interviews with fellow croppies who ascribe gnostic spiritual significance and sometimes supernatural properties to the markings. his inoffensive but mostly undistinguished “Ancient Aliens”-type concoction, opening April 22 at Gotham’s Quad, could land alongside similar otherworldly speculative docus airing on basic cable.

Against quaint Southern English backgrounds, Taylor converses with farmers, architects, geometricians, webmasters, psychics and a baroness who all express like-minded wonderment at the circles’ metaphysical power, debunking debunkers who claim these works of beautiful symmetry are man-made. A montage verifies circle-sighting as a centuries-old, worldwide phenomenon, a preponderance of specimens lately springing up in close proximity to Stonehenge. Pic maintains that watches stop and radios and cell phones malfunction when pilgrims meditate inside the circles’ walls, some glimpsing latenight “balls of light” prior to mysterious morning appearances of new formations in fields of barley, corn or wheat.

What on Earth?

Production

A Mighty Companions production. Produced by Suzanne Taylor. Co-producer, Mary Duprey. Directed by Suzanne Taylor.

Crew

Camera (color, DV, HD), Gail Bates, Allen Branson, Keith Clarke, C.J. Davies, Mary Duprey, Matt Krinsky, Sherrill Schlesinger, Taylor; editor, Duprey; music, Bruce Hanifan. Reviewed on DVD, New York, April 18, 2011. Running time: 81 MIN.

With

Suzanne Taylor, Kerry McKenna, Michael Glickman, Isabelle Kingston, John Mack, Karen Alexander, Paul Vigay, Edmee di Pauli, Polly Carson, Tim Carson. Narrator: Suzanne Taylor.
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