Film / Fire in the Sky

Fire in the Sky is a 1993 science fiction/mystery film directed by Robert Lieberman, centered around a UFO abduction.

The film is based on the alleged 1975 abduction of Travis Walton (played by D. B. Sweeney), a logger from Snowflake, Arizona who went missing for five days after his co-workers claimed he was zapped by a flying saucer. The plot of the film centers mainly around the ensuing investigation and manhunt that took place, headed on-screen by the fictional Detective Frank Watters (James Garner), as well as the drama in which Walton's co-workers, including his best friend Mike Rogers (Robert Patrick), are accused of murder by their families and neighbors. Only the climax of the film (which was dramatically changed from the real Walton's story) focuses on Walton's experiences onboard the UFO.

Fire in the Sky contains examples of:

  • Alien Abduction: Naturally since the plot is about Travis Walton's abduction.
  • Best Friends In Law: Played With because Travis and Dana get married while he and Mike are estranged, but they reconcile by the end.
  • Flashback: Most of the first act consists of Travis' friends recounting what happened; and then, near the end, Travis' flashback of what actually happened on the alien ship.
  • Genre Shift: The first and third acts are sci-fi, but the middle is mostly a cross between Police Procedural and small-town drama.
  • Incriminating Indifference: The biggest reason Allan Dallas was suspected for murder was because of his indifferent attitude toward Travis.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The only supernatural elements we see are in the Flashbacks; technically, the audience can imagine that these events didn't really happen, though the film is certainly implying that they did.
  • Police Procedural: The real focus of the film is not the abduction but the police investigation.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The last few scenes are set 2-3 years after the abduction. The movie also ends with the note of what happened to the Real Life versions of Travis and Mike, and notes that they and Dallis later took another lie detector test and all passed.