James Evan Pilato is our latest guest as we dissect the 2009 Disney UFO adventure Race to Witch Mountain. We start off looking at Disney as a corporation – its long standing interest in UFOs and extraterrestrials, the connections to government agencies and their recent takeover of the fantasy genre. We then get into Race to Witch Mountain itself – a strange blend of a kids’ movie, a love letter to the UFO culture and an homage to spy thrillers especially Enemy of the State. Next, we examine the deliberately hyperreal nature of the film and dwell on the effects of a fantasy movie set in the real world with real people. A children’s movie about ‘illegal aliens’ being pursued under the Patriot Act is not Hollywood’s typical output.
Then the conversation moves on to the mysterious CIA involvement in Race to Witch Mountain, which the CIA themselves deny but the director Andy Fickman insists took place. After discussing the CIA Inspector General’s Report on their Engagement with the Entertainment Industry we move on to the question of infiltration of the UFO culture, and the use of UFOlogy to infiltrate alternative cultures more broadly. We round off looking at the effect of films like this on people’s perceptions and expectations of government secrecy, and we each try to answer the question ‘are you a believer?’.