Preview critical response to the Indy film varied directly with the preconception of the reviewer. The sometimes cryptic independent production was thoughtlessly demeaned by the Arizona Republic and unflinchingly praised by the UFO Digest. In ultimate fairness, it deserved neither—although the positive remarks by the Digest come much closer to an accurate assessment of the film.
The Republic refused to review the work until pressed by Harkins management and then turned in a desultory hatchet job aimed more at dismissing the concept of unidentified lights in the sky as alien-life-that-can-not-be-visiting-us than at the film itself. The review unwittingly exemplifies the point it does not get: reflexive fear or denial of the unknown is what man must overcome if meaningful open contact with advance beings is to occur. Reviewer Kerry Lengel said in part: “Attention aliens, angels and any other supernatural visitors: Just park your spaceship or your inter-dimensional chariot on the White House lawn, call up CNN and say hi….rescue us from the sort of mushy-headed New Age musings that masquerade as a story in “The Appearance of a Man.”
The latest example is even worse than it sounds because, although it’s very, very bad, it’s not bad in a fun-to-make-fun-of way that would let you improvise your own version of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” Instead, it’s a ufologists’ variant of “The Da Vinci Code,” except without all the action and faux scholarship. That leaves little more than flat dialogue and overdone atmospherics – ominous drumbeats, ostentatious camera angles and a long sequence of surreal special effects that rip off “2001: A Space Odyssey.” — The Arizona Republic
Lengel’s specious call for the mythical White House landing as recompense for his inability to consider, much less accept, the premise of the film explains why said landing has yet to occur—western consensus media is ill-prepared for such an event and whatever is behind the UFO phenomenon knows it. The body politic and the consensus media in this country have yet to come to grips with an event of the magnitude of the Phoenix Lights, so they are in no position to be asking for a formal landing on the south lawn. Implicit in Lengel’s request is a comforting self-assurance that it is impossible. He might be surprised.