The Wild Blue Yonder (Herzog, 2005)

In anticipation of Rescue Dawn, I needed to check out some Herzog to get in the mood. The Wild Blue Yonder might be the strangest Herzog I’ve seen (although each film feels beautifully odd in it’s own way). It’s got Brad Dourif as the Alien rambling on in direct address about his journey to Earth, his people’s intentions, and a parallel space trek human’s are taking to his planet. As a narrator Dourif is haunting, especially when he speaks of how humans haven’t listened to his advice regarding space travel and his icy, frozen sky planet. You can tell Herzog relishes the experimental mode in which Dourif’s POV shifts to archival footage of the American space ship he’s speaking of, or the real life mathematicians who entice the images with profound views on the science of it all. The Wild Blue Yonder connects our own present day view of Manifest Destiny in the last frontier and Dourif’s own failures as a colonizer. Herzog’s camera follows him pacing through an abandoned town, which was supposed to be the Alien capital on Earth, there own D.C. You can see the pain on Dourif’s face, as if his disappointment and sadness should act as a direct warning for our own pioneering intentions. Herzog also unleashes a bountiful group of underwater images acting as visuals of Dourif’s frozen planet, the human astronauts swimming through with the practicality of colonization on the mind. These images remind of Herzog’s sublime and epic nature, motifs filmmakers and critics alike have connected with the director his entire career. So it’s no surprise Herzog holds on the hypnotic, blue/green mosaics for long periods of time. Always challenging and often mesmerizing, The Wild Blue Yonder examines the dangers of exploration, but also the inherit draw of discovering what lies just beyond the mountainside.

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