Documentary Review: 'I Want to Believe'
All the major elements of Ufology are discussed in this ambitious yet unbiased documentary.
Having previously watched Darcy Weir's Beyond The Spectrum, I had already been introduced to some aspects of the Ufology community that were previously unknown to me. Thus, many of the topics covered in J. Horton's documentary I Want to Believe were familiar. With Beyond The Spectrum having already piqued my curiosity in regards to Ufology and the possibility that we aren't alone in this universe, I Want to Believe elaborates on many of the topics discussed within Weir's docuseries. And while it has its share of points where audience interest might begin to fade, I Want to Believe manages to avoid hitting as many slow spells as Beyond The Spectrum.
Similar to Weir's documentaries, I Want to Believe explores many topics regarding UFOs and aliens, from the controversy surrounding the study of UFOs to cases of alleged alien abductions/encounters to the experiences many experts in the Ufology community have had. Refreshingly, I Want to Believe not only doesn't contain bias against skeptics and non-believers, but also points out the flaws found in the Ufology community. Unlike some of the entries in the Beyond The Spectrum saga, this documentary admits to the fact that many of the cases experts receive regarding alleged alien encounters are either explained through conventional means or completely fabricated. The documentary doesn't present Ufology as a perfect science, and is unafraid to confront the faults found within it and the community.
In addition to not take on any bias or zealously proselytizing to its audience, I Want to Believe proves to be an incredibly informative documentary. As stated before, it explores numerous aspects of Ufology, with several accounts and experts to bring their knowledge and experiences to the table. The documentary covers such a wide range of information that there's definitely going to be something to capture your interest--regardless of how you view the idea of aliens. It helps that (like Jaime Maussan from Weir's series) all the interviewees of I Want to Believe have affable screen presence, making it easy to listen to them share their expertise.
The documentary also shares in common Beyond The Spectrum's biggest downside: there are moments when the fascinating discussions and stories drag out into tedium, which might leave some viewers (particularly those who aren't so gung-ho about Ufology) spacing out. This can mostly be found within the final act of the documentary, with the wrap-up feeling like a long stall as the experts finish up their talking points. But thanks to the vast array of information covered within I Want to Believe, the documentary mostly keeps from slipping into such sluggishness.
Over the course of watching Beyond The Spectrum and I Want to Believe, I've begun to rethink my ambivalent stance on alien existence, even if some cases and theories that have emerged strike me as hard to swallow. One such case was even explored in this documentary, with a man who appears to claim an alien encounter resulted in him gaining the ability to predict the future. But despite the traces of skepticism that still exist in me, I can certainly see I Want to Believe having an impact on those who have a hard time wrapping their heads around alien existence. It may share some of the pacing issues as the previously released Beyond The Spectrum series, but on the whole, I Want to Believe's vast array of topics and self-awareness of the inherent imperfections of Ufology research and the community surrounding it make it a documentary I'd recommend. I would especially say give this documentary a chance if you find yourself firmly against the idea of alien existence, like I was to a degree before watching this and Beyond The Spectrum.
Score: 8 out of 10 Men in Black.