Hanger 18 1980

Director: James L. Conway

Darren McGavin, Robert Vaughn, Gary Collins, James Hampton

Three astronauts launch a satellite from a space shuttle only to have it crash into a nearby flying saucer. The resulting explosion kills one astronaut and damages the saucer sending it to a crash landing on Earth. The saucer is retrieved and transported to a military air base where it is stashed away in Hanger 18.

An assortment of scientists are called in to try and extract the craft's secrets. When they finally enter the ship two human looking dead aliens are discovered within. Although they can't figure out how the ship works, they are able to decypher the strange symbols found there. And what they tell us ain't too good.

Meanwhile, there is about to be a presidential ellection in two weeks in the good old US of A. When news of the above reaches the President's main man he chooses to cover everything up so as not to damage the President's chance of re-ellection. He decides to blame the two remaining astronauts for the death of the third and the destruction of the satellite. Naturally, the two astronauts don't dig this idea too much so they go out in search of evidence to clear themselves with the CIA or some such agency hot on their tails. What we get from here on is the usual chase and escape routine.

Listen, I love all this Area 51 conspiracy stuff which this film admits to getting it's main theme from. But, and it's a big but, the rest of the story sucks. With the election just two weeks away, the big shots in Washington decide to put two astronauts through hell instead of just swearing them to secrecy. I would imagine that they had already sworn such an oath or they wouldn't have reached such a high level in the military. If this had been done, the government would only have to make up some simple explanation for an accidental death of the astronaut. But then I guess they wouldn't have much to make a movie from.

As far as the saucer goes, it had already been removed from the crash scene and the area cleared of any evidence, well, almost.

Overall, the movie is kind of long on talk and short on action. The beginning of the film is quite interesting as we see the satellite launched from the space shuttle. Sure, it's done with minitures, but it's all very convincing. The ending is just about as dumb as it gets. But if you're at all interested in the Roswell Incident, you might not wamt to miss it.