The Suns of Easter Island (1972)

Well that’s something else I can cross off my bucket list. After slogging through ninety minutes of what is mostly a painfully dull pseudo documentary/travelogue and only sporadically a science fiction movie, I really have no desire anymore to visit Easter Island.

Watching a group of seven people wander around the island aimlessly for a half hour really drove home the point that after you’ve stared at those giant stone heads for about five minutes, you’re kind of screwed for anything else to do. When does the next 4 and half hour flight back to Santiago, Chili leave?

Maurice believes he is descended from a long line of sorcerers. He practices geomancy and in case you were unaware of how much of a crackpot deal that is, he helpfully shows us the practice of it in mind-numbing detail. While a grown man writing random lines on a piece of paper, connecting them and then attaching some great significance to them is just embarrassing to watch, I had to admit that his geomancy journal was very pretty and if nothing else would make a nice post on Pintrest.

But Maurice has interests that go beyond scouring his local Hobby Lobby for fancy gel pens and highlighters which give those geomantic shields he draws that extra pop. He is also really into solar energy! None of this seems to be related to his trip to Easter Island (though since this is a French movie sometimes described as “metaphysical” I just probably didn’t get it), but does allow writer/director Pierre Kast to show us impressive and foreboding images of giant solar panel arrays.

Maurice also gets burned by one of them and ends up with a strange mark on his hand thus setting off a chain of events that could alter the course of human history! Or involve him having nonsensical faux-philosophical conversations with the other folks whose hands have a similar mark, stand around staring at mysterious lights and then wander back to Easter Island International Airport hoping there is at least a gift shop so the trip isn’t a total waste.

We are introduced to five other people from various walks of life that also get the silver mark on their hand. One lady is rich, rides horses and may also be a medium. There’s also an entomologist and an ethnologist whose been sailing the South Pacific. There’s even a high priest of Macumba! Despite the aliens summoning such a diverse group of people with all sorts of kick ass skills for a first contact situation, the movie does absolutely nothing with any of this.

All the marked people experience visions (a montage of pictures of various people, places and the Easter Island statues) compelling them to travel to the island. It takes the first hour to assemble them, but all the talking that goes on during this doesn’t impact the last act of the movie at all. We are instead subjected to obtuse conversations like the one the entomologist has with his wife about some bug laying eggs on a caterpillar, all the while we see this hairy worm writhing around and showing more activity than any humans in the film. What makes all this doubly deadly for the viewer is that it’s all related to us in drone-like fashion by Maurice, director Kast apparently confusing what might make one of the documentaries he made work with what is compelling in a movie.

Maurice tries to make sense of all this Chariots of the Gods drivel by suggesting that once every 500 years, the aliens try to contact us because cosmic conditions are right and the statutes may act as beacons. I will never understand why these so-called intelligent beings who have the tech to reach across the cosmos, put marks on people, cause visions and send messages need to do so in such an obscure way. Next time just text me!

Guess what though? The aliens are looking deep into the souls of us humans! The last vision we get is one where it’s a bunch of pictures of all the carnage, pain and suffering we’ve inflicted on our fellow man in the last century! Oh no! We aren’t ready for the aliens and all their “wisdom”, right? Sure, if you cherry pick the stuff that fits your narrative. Who invited you anyway? Get over yourselves!

For those who thought more mainstream fare like the much less obtuse alien contact movie 2001: A Space Odyssey was tedious self-important claptrap, The Suns of Easter Island brings a significant risk of self harm. A story that goes nowhere combined with (admittedly gorgeous) location shooting in various locales including Chili and Easter Island that eventually also loses its effectiveness because of how much Kast lingers on all manner of shots, it is all just as inscrutable and lifeless as the giant heads that dot the island.

© 2019 MonsterHunter

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