Despite its stunning cinematography and sweeping score and grand ambitions, Legends from the Sky is a film that still needed a bigger budget. But as the former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld once said: “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want.”

The war in Travis Holt Hamilton’s Legends is over a narrative territory that’s claimed mostly by Hollywood—the sci-fi story. The film wants to imagine this narrative form in terms that are consistent with the historical and mythical systems of the Navajo.

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A UFO crashes on the land of an elderly man whose grandson is an Iraq War veteran; a secret government agency does everything to cover it up, and, as the story develops, the interests of the government agency clashes with those of a secret society with supernatural powers.

The film has great cultural details and lots of dialogue in Navajo, but a larger infusion of capital would have made its special effects more convincing and its writing sharper. recommended