Of what, pray tell, am I speaking? Well, it’s an awful lot of things … but the matters of High Strangeness have always fascinated me. Things like UFOs, alien abductions, and parallel realities have always interested me. While ghosts, spirits, and demons might be little more than ‘wives’ tales’ to some, I tend to believe that there’s likely a little more to experiences involving them than we’re able to comprehend at first blush. There’s even a soft spot in my heart and soul for conspiracies others are quick to dismiss if only because I’d like to believe truth is elusive, and only those pure in heart who search with unbridled diligence will ever be rewarded with a kind of cosmic understanding of those things ultimately bigger than us.
So … Bigfoot?
Well … I’m inclined to believe that there’s more to it than what meets the eye. Science is still actively discovering species in the depths of the oceans – as well as encountering some that they wrote off as extinct years before – so why couldn’t there be a kind of primate/human creature that’s managed to avoid contact with a CNN camera crew and live TV anchor out there in the wild? Think what you may, but I believe it’s entirely plausible … and it’s even exponentially more likely that the vast, unexplored expanse that is so much of Alaska could house something that yet escapes the more civilized portions of the United States.
That’s what Seth Breedlove and a small cadre of photographers and videographers set out to prove – not the existence, per se, but certainly the viability – in On The Trail Of Bigfoot: Last Frontier.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last few paragraphs for the final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
From the film’s IMDB.com page citation:
“Hundreds of witnesses from across the largest state in the US are encountering something truly bizarre in the frozen wastelands of the north. Now, documentary filmmaker, Seth Breedlove, sets out in search of Sasquatch in the last great wilderness. In Alaska we learn of terrifying encounters that shake the foundations about what we know of the food chain. Witnesses unburdened themselves of encounters with Bigfoot that call into question everything we know about the natural world.”
There’s a wealth more to the synopsis, but I’m leaving it at that. Essentially, the extra stuff on IMDB.com starts to get into some of the specifics, and I’d rather leave that info for viewers to discover all on their own.
As is often the case in documentaries and/or television series that try to dig deeper into various cryptids, the lion’s share of the investigation relies on witness accounts; and Last Frontier definitely has some very good ones. Regular folks – average souls just like you and me who have absolutely nothing to gain by making false claims – share the experiences in the wild or even from the edge of the homes, and their authenticity is never in question. Clearly, these folks saw something – minimally, they’re convinced that they did – and they stop short of claiming it was Bigfoot. Honestly, it’s clear that they’ve no explanation for what they saw, and the shock of that encounter has shaken them to the core. While they don’t quite know what to believe, they all insist whatever these things are they are real … and all insist further study is warranted.
If anything, the sheer hopelessness of these circumstances pervades Last Frontier: very few people are willing to put in the time, money, and effort to conduct ongoing studies into these events, and that’s the real shame here. Breedlove, in particular, deserves to be commended for a willingness to capture these stories, commit them to history (on film), and simply ask questions. He’s giving witnesses an opportunity to be heard. The fact that with all our federal government spends on programs occasionally debunked as frivolous has always infuriated me: why can’t we earmark a fund for a small staff within the greater bureaucracy to legitimately track and explore such mysteries? We’ll waste a billion dollars on hammers; meanwhile, UFOs continue to invade our airspace, and Uncle Sam does (apparently) nothing. A Bigfoot Studies group could be part of the Department Of The Interior … but it is what it is, I’m told … which is nothing.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that – if nothing else – Last Frontier has an incredible amount of footage exploring the astonishing beauty of this wild vastness. It’s honestly one of the prettiest travelogues – with a fringe central subject – I’ve ever had the good fortune to watch, so much so that perhaps the Alaskan authorities might want to pull some and use it to encourage an increase of tourism … though perhaps promoting the less dangerous native activity of hunting for Sasquatches. While I’d happily sign up for that tour of the region, I suspect others might prefer more scenic pursuits.
In fairness, I don’t think that there’s necessarily anything revelatory that comes out of On The Trail Of Bigfoot: Last Frontier, but what there is works just fine. Breedlove’s attempt to provide a cursory examination of Alaska, its history and cultural background, and a handful of important sightings really just scratches the surface of an ever-expanding mystery … one which will likely never be solved to even the most ardent skeptic’s satisfaction. Still, it’s an effective presentation into the realm of what’s truly ‘Out There,’ and it’s definitely an entertaining 80 minutes, even if a bit slow-paced in a few spots.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Small Town Monsters provided me with complimentary streaming access to On The Trail Of Bigfoot: Last Frontier by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.