The Wild Blue Yonder

Subversive Films

David Thomson once wrote that “no one else alive is as capable of a dud, or a masterpiece” as the great Robert Altman. Now that Altman has passed away at the age of 81, may I nominate German expatriate filmmaker Werner Herzog as the new titleholder? The impenetrable “science-fiction fantasy” The Wild Blue Yonder is a genuine, Ed Wood-style howler from the director of Grizzly Man and Aguirre: Wrath of God. Herzog pulls together recent footage from the Galileo space probe, archival NASA films and underwater photography from Antarctica, then attempts to piece it together into a sci-fi narrative by having Brad Dourif—a poor stand-in for Bela Lugosi—speak straight-to-camera as the member of a visiting alien race that “sucks.” All that’s missing is the shot of the stampeding buffalo.