The Department of Energy has a minor but interesting role in the history of Hollywood, providing shooting locations for Tron (1982) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. I am still awaiting documents on Star Trek but the DoE have provided me with another of their records on Tron – a kind of in house making of video.
Tron is a classic piece of transhumanist cinema and the first of a string of films where someone is sucked into a digital realm and has to battle it out with computer programs in order to save the day (the Matrix trilogy being the most popular examples). It was also a curious departure for Disney from working primarily on animations and other fantasy films explicitly aimed at children into more teen- or adult-oriented science fiction. Tron was also the first film to be allowed to film at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, so I asked the Department of Energy for any records on this.
Jay Dyer joins us for this episode where we analyse the 2009 comedy The Men Who Stare at Goats, loosely based on Jon Ronson’s book of the same name. It tells the story of a journalist who is inducted into the world of psychic soldiers during the Iraq war. The movie goes on to explain some of the history behind the First Earth Battalion, an experimental Pentagon unit devoted to developing a new generation of super soldier informed by the hippy and New Age movements. We examine what the film leaves out, especially in the form of MKULTRA and similar CIA projects and experiments with similar aims, and ask whether the purpose was not to emplore ‘How could love and peace help win wars?‘ but to weaponise New Age philosophy and the New Age movement.
Have you ever wondered about the relationship between UFOs or aliens in movies and the real-life experiences of people who report contact or abduction or witnessing these things? Have you ever wondered whether the government is using UFO movies to influence people’s perceptions of these fringe but popular and captivating phenomena? Robbie Graham’s Silver Screen Saucers seeks answers to these questions via an epic exploration into the trilateral relationship between UFOlogy, government agencies and the entertainment industry.