REVIEW: ANDROMEDA – SEASON 5

 

Starring

Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Lisa Ryder (Jason X)
Gordon Michael Woolvett (Bride of Chucky)
Laura Bertram (50/50)
Lexa Doig (Arrow)
Steve Bacic (Flash Gordon)
Brandy Ledford (Rat Race)

Kevin Sorbo in Andromeda (2000)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Alan Scarfe (Kingdom Hospital)
Kyle Cassie (Deadpool)
Alexander Kalugin (Final Destination 3)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Mark Acheson (elf)
Ken Tremblett (Caitlin’s Way)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Don S. Davis (Stargate SG.1)
Noah Danby (Bitten)
Natassia Malthe (Bloodrayne 2& 3)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
Alex Diakun (Agent COdy Banks)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)
Robin Mossley (Elf)
Monika Schnarre (Waxwork II)
Kevin Durand (Swamp Thing)
Hiro Kanagawa (Izombie)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Françoise Yip (The Predator)
Kevan Ohtsji (Elektra)
John DeSantis (Arrow)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Sarah Edmondson (Salvation)

Andromeda: The Weight: Part 2 (2004)Andromeda starred Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journey’s) in a science fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) with a variety of executive producers Robert Hewitt Wolfe (The 4400, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Majel Rodenberry (Earth: Final Conflict), Allan Eastman (Star Trek: Voyager), Robert Engels (seaQuest DSV), Jay Firestone (Mutant X, La Femme Nikita), and Adam Haight (Mutant X, Highlander: The Raven). With its diverse crew of producers with extensive experience in science fiction and drama productions, Andromeda put in five solid seasons from 2000 to 2005 and totaled one-hundred and ten episodes. The premise of Andromeda is about the adventures of the crew the Andromeda and their efforts to rebuild a massive civilization that spanned the universe.Kevin Sorbo in Andromeda (2000)In season five, the series takes a much different turn in events. At the end of the season four, there was some skepticism as to whether or not the show would continue into a fifth season. Well, the series was picked up for a fifth season, but with a smaller budget. And the budget (or rather lack of) shows in the episodes. The storylines lose the grandeur it once had with the epic space battles and massive story arcs. The series, stories, and character becomes more confined and lose a lot of the appeal found in previous seasons. In a nutshell, watching season five was more of a chore than fun. While there was some decent content, it does not compare to the quality of the past seasons.Andromeda (2000)In the close of season four, the Andromeda came to the space station Arkology to warn the inhabitants about their impending doom. The Magog Worldship was headed right for them and they need to get out of there. The inhabitants were a peaceful people and believed that they could make peace with the Magog. Dylan and the rest tried to tell them peace is not an option. Of course, they did not listen. When the Magog came, the Andromeda and its crew tried its best to stop the onslaught, but they failed miserably. In the close of the two-part season four finale, Dylan took the Route of Ages in a slipstream fighter and found himself transported into an alternative universe.Andromeda (2000)The two-part episode “The Weight” kicks off season five. In it, Dylan gets accustomed to his new life in the alternate universe on a planet called Seefra-1, which is one of nine barren wastelands. When Dylan tries to learn more about where he is, he finds little help. But when he meets a mysterious man named Flavin, he begins to get more clues about his situation. He is trapped in an isolated cluster of planets in another universe. Dylan explores Seefra-1 and later runs into a very disgruntled Rhade. Rhade and the others crew members (who Dylan runs into in later episodes) are unhappy with him for leaving them to die. It was through the efforts of Trance that the Andromeda (badly damaged) and her crew were brought into this alternate reality and not left to die at the hands of the Magog. They also blame him for being stuck on Seefra-1. Dylan returns to Flavin to get more information from him. Dylan learns his place is on Seefra-1; he must help the people in the coming days. Flavin also reveals the true nature of the Route of Ages.Alex Diakun in Andromeda (2000)After the not-so-exciting season premiere, “Phear Phactor Phenom” has the majority of the season four cast back together in some form or another, Dylan, Harper, Beka, Trance, and Rhade. We learn that Rommie was destroyed and Harper had been on Seefra-1 for over three years while the rest of the crew had only just recently arrived. During Harper’s time on the Seefra-1, he was able to rebuild a new android with portions of Rommie’s damaged core. The new character is Doyle, a blonde robot who was initially made to think she is human. The season five episodes proceed with the cast getting reacquainted with each other and Dylan trying to get the Andromeda up and running again. Some have changed with their new situation, most notably Trance who lost portions of her memory.Lochlyn Munro in Andromeda (2000)In the episode “Moonlight Becomes You”, Trance starts to remember who she is and the season starts to focus on the storyline hinted at in “The Weight”. The Seefra system is in jeopardy and the crew must work together to save the inhabitants of the nine wastelands over the next several episodes. But the story really ties into the power that is Trance. Trance is an avatar of the Vedran sun and the actual sun is approaching Seefra-1. When it arrives, the planets in the system (except for Seefra-1) will explode. The episodes “Past is Prolix”, “The Opposites of Attraction”, “Saving Light from a Black Sun”, “Quantum Tractate Delirium”, “One More Day’s Light”, and “Chaos and the Stillness of It” continue to focus on this storyline (uncovering more about Trance, the council of avatars she is a senior member of, and the crew trying to save the inhabitants), which is much more entertaining than the first portion of the season, but it still lacks the same punch the early seasons had.Andromeda (2000)In the two-part series finale “The Heart of the Journey”, the series come to a close by wrapping up the series story arc with the Abyss. While on Seefra-1, Harper receives a message transmission for Dylan. It is from Flavin, who had been killed by the Abyss, telling Dylan he is the last hope for the survival of the known worlds. The Council intends to destroy the galaxies of the known world in order to snuff out the Abyss. They, however, give Dylan and his crew the opportunity to return before their utter demise. Once back in their universe, they find only four days have passed since the Magog Worldship attacked. The Andromeda has to face the Nietzchseans and the Abyss. The situation that appeared dire ends with a happy ending and the destruction of the Abyss in a battle that is far from epic.Emmanuelle Vaugier in Andromeda (2000)Overall, I really did not care for this season. The level of grandeur in the storylines was significantly diminished. The big flashy effects were part of what made the sci-fi series so much fun were gone. The show tended to have very isolated stories with limited character development. In the end, I did not see much in this season that made it worthwhile. Sure, there are some decent episodes, but they fail to compare to the past seasons. Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I give it a rent it recommendation on the pure basis that it concludes the series and there are a few decent episodes to follow.

 

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 8

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Justin Hartley (This Is Us)
Erica Durance (Supergirl)
Aaron Ashmore (Veronica Mars)
Cassidy Freeman (The Vampire Diaries)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)

Alaina Huffman, Justin Hartley, and Alan Ritchson in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Phil Morris (Doom Patrol)
Alaina Huffman (Stargate Universe)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Flash)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Charlotte Sullivan (Mary Kills People)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
David Lewis (Childs Play)
Kyle Schmid (Six)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
James Marsters (Runaways)
Ryan Kennedy (Caprica)
Alexz Johnson (Final Destination 3)
Calum Worthy (Ameircan Vandel)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Alessandro Juliani (Man of Steel)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Stephen Lobo (Continuum)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Serinda Swan (Inhumans)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Brendan Fletcher (Arrow)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Monique Ganderton (American Ultra)

Tom Welling and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Technically this season shouldn’t have worked; the show’s main villain and arguably most popular character, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) has now departed; secondly they were introducing a villain which was virtually impossible to bring to the big screen never mind a television series in Doomsday. However whilst a massive void had been created by Rosenbaum’s departure, it was filled suprisingly very well by the main cast of heroes who finally come into their own this season with performances and stories which intelligently test those who have big destinies to embrace in the Superman era to come. Tom Welling finally begins to take his final steps to becoming Superman and is starting to demonstrate how capapble as lead he is while bringing a new found presence to Clark Kent. There is also an increased number of on-screen scenes between Welling and Erica Durance’s Lois Lane and the result is a relationship which is as funny as it is touching and believable.Justin Hartley and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Likewise other support characters like Chloe and Jimmy are tested by the new villain in town, Sam Witwer’s Davis Bloome who is a great unique character to the series who undergoes a menacing and horrific transformation as the season unfolds. There is also a welcome return from Justin Hartley’s Oliver Queen who now becomes a series regular after a successful stint in the sixth season and a brief cameo in the seventh. Queen’s character is also successful to the season’s story as his questionable methods bring him into conflict with Clark who is now trying to figure out what sort of hero he wants to become. The Doomsday story is a well written one in itself and Doomsday is interpreted in a way which is both unique in style yet never undermines the characters standing in the mythology. Sam Witwer is more than capable playing the villain, he lacks perhaps the charisma and flair of Rosenbaum, but the horror given off by his transformations is more than projected out of the screen. The same cannot be said for Cassidy Freeman whose Tess Mercer is terribly aimless and lacking in focus, in terms of a series villain, Rosenbaums absence is felt though not quite fatal.Charlotte Sullivan and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)The season is very well executed in tone, humour and story. There are many episodes which take the series much further and there are some more characters from the D.C Universe in episodes such as ‘Instinct’, ‘Legion’ and ‘Hex’. ‘Bride’, ‘Eternal’ and ‘Beast’ are also exceptional drama episodes featuring Doomsday which keeps building up the season to a final climatic battle.Tom Welling and Erica Durance in Smallville (2001)It is unfortunate therefore that what prevents the season from achieving pure greatness is a series of misjudged stories which threaten to undermine every bit of progress Smallville made this season. The brief reintroduction of an old character in ‘Power’ and ‘Requiem’ was a terrible mistake and unpopular with viewers, as was the apparent demise of another important character. Also while the season does a sensational job in building up the tension towards the final episode, the final episode of the season itself is very weak and sadly anti-climactic. This is a shame since many may feel cheated by a poor resolution but on the plus side, the drama remains top notch throughout and the themes explored this season are never forgotten and never betrayed, even in the finale. Smallville has enjoyed a fantastic return to form overall this season and many fans will be left feeling hopefull of the action and drama to come in the ninth season. Well worth buying though this eighth season.

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 6

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Impastor)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Erica Durance (Supergirl)
Annette O’Toole (The Punisher)
John Glover (Shazam)

Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Aaron Ashmore (Veronica Mars)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
Justin Hartley (A Bad Moms Christmas)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)
Brendan Penny (The Wedding Chapel)
Amber McDonald (Without a Paddle 2)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
Lucas Grabeel (Family Guy)
Bryce Hodgson (Izombie)
Sebastian Gacki (The Thaw)
Bow Wow (Like Mike)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Dave Bautista (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Carmen Moore (Flash Gordon)
Tyler Posey (Truth Or Dare)
John Novak (Dr. Dolittle 3)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Tori Spelling (Scary Movie 2)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Lee Thompson Young (Flashforward)
Phil Morris (Doom Patrol)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Jordan Belfi (Entourage)
Peter Flemming (Stargate SG.1)
Greyston Holt (Bitten)
Adrian Hough (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (V)
Benjamin Ayres (The Vampire Diaries)
Michael Eklund (Bates Motel)
Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman)
Barclay Hope (Stargate SG.1)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
A.C. Peterson (Mutant X)
Peter Kelamis (Stargate Universe)

Justin Hartley in Smallville (2001)They say timing is everything, and for me the timing of watching season 6 of Smallville for the first time was perfect. Why is that? Because this was the season that introduced their take on Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, and I got hooked on the new show about him this last season on TV.Tom Welling and Justin Hartley in Smallville (2001)Of course, before we can get to new characters, we have a few cliffhangers to resolve. While all kinds of chaos is reigning down on the citizens of Earth thanks to the evil force that has taken over Lex Luther’s body (Michael Rosenbaum), Clark Kent (Tom Welling) can’t do much about it since he’s trapped in the Phantom Zone. While he does escape and manage to save the day, he unwittingly releases the evil prisoners from the Phantom Zone and must spend some time tracking them down this season. As things return to normal, characters explore new options. Lois Lane (Erica Durance) and Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) become roommates and Lois starts a new career as a reporter for a tabloid. They also both get new boyfriends in the two new characters that are introduced.Lee Thompson Young, Kyle Gallner, Justin Hartley, and Alan Ritchson in Smallville (2001)Lois starts dating the previously mentioned Olive Queen (Justin Hartley) while Chloe falls for Jimmy Olsen (Aaron Ashmore), a young photographer at The Daily Planet. Lana Lang (Kistin Kreuk), meanwhile, has moved in with Lex and their relationship becomes more serious when she finds out she is pregnant. Chloe learns a very surprising secret and is reunited with her mom as played by TV’s Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter.Tori Spelling in Smallville (2001)Other storylines of the season involve Clark and Oliver’s clashes over how to use their powers for good. Lex is collecting and hiding people with abilities. Those storylines clash when we see the first glimpse of the Justice League Smallville style. This season is really about the young adults. No one is in college any more (did they all drop out after one season or did they all graduate at lightning speed?) While Lionel Luther (John Glover) is still around being unclear in his intensions, Martha Kent (Annette O’Toole) is given very little to do. And before the season is over, one character makes an exit from the show.

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 1

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Impastor)
Eric Johnson (Flash Gordon)
Sam Jones III (Glory Road)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Annette O’Toole (The Punisher)
John Schneider (The Haves and the Have Nots)

Sam Jones III, Allison Mack, and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

John Glover (Shazam)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Disturbing Behaviour)
Adrian Glynn McMorran (Arrow)
Alvin Sanders (Riverdale)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Justin Chatwin (War of The Worlds)
Chad Donella (Final Destination)
Gabrielle Rose (If I Stay)
Jason Connery (Wishmaster 3)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heores Reborn)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Tom O’Brien (The Accused)
Beverley Breuer (Rverdale)
Eric Christian Olsen (Tru Calling)
Jackie Burroughs (The Dead Zone)
George Murdock (Star Trek V)
Mitchell Kosterman (Stargate SG.1)
Amy Adams (Justice League)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Joe Morton (God Friended Me)
Robert Wisden (Watchmen)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Michael Eklund (Bates Motel)
Kelly Brook (Three)
Cameron Dye (Valley Girl)
Jesse Hutch (True Justice)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Kett Turton (Saved)
Rick Peters (Dexter)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)
Kevin McNulty (Snakes on a Plane)
P. Lynn Johnson (The Invisible)
Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
Kavan Smith (When Calls The Heart)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man)
Eric Breker (Godzilla)
Jud Tylor (That 70s Show)
Corin Nemec (Stargate SG.1)
Mark Gibbon (Man of Steel)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Ryan Kelley (Teen Wolf)
Jim Shield (Cold Pursuit)
Brandy Ledford (Andromeda)
Rekha Sharma (Star Trek: Discovery)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (Chloe)
Shonda Farr (Crossroads)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer)
Adam Brody (Jennifer’s Body)
Kevan Ohtsji (Elektra)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Frank C. Turner (Alone In The Dark)

John Schneider and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Coming only a few years after the somewhat successful, but often corny, Lois & Clark, there were a lot of expectations and fears going into Smallville. Would the series appeal to die-hard Superman fans, or would it just be another WB drama geared toward teenagers?Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Fortunately, Smallville turns out to be super – easily the best on-screen depiction of the Superman character since the original Superman: The Movie. But it does take most of the season to get things rolling. Too many of the shows in Season One are simply “Villain of the Week” kind of deals, with Clark Kent going up against a villain who has one superpower or another (the explanation for why all these genetically altered people are showing up in Smallville is attributed to the meteor shower that hit the town – and brought Clark to Earth).Kristin Kreuk in Smallville (2001)It is obvious, however, in the early going that the relationships between the main characters would develop into something special. Clark is just beginning to discover his super powers (he does not yet have the ability to fly – following the concept that he will not gain all of his super powers until he reaches maturity), and Lex Luthor actually starts out as a good guy, who is slowly turning towards his evil ways. Also noteworthy is the developing relationship between Clark and Lana Lang, a girl whom he is infatuated with, but can’t get close to…not only because he is unsure of himself, but because Lana (whose parents were killed in the meteor shower) sports a necklace with a piece of the meteor as a way of remembering her mother and father. The meteor is, of course, Kryptonite, so Clark both literally and figuratively gets weak in the knees every time he gets close to the woman he loves!Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)But the relationship that is really worth tuning into Smallville for is the one between Clark and his adoptive parents (played by Dukes of Hazzard’s John Schneider and Superman III’s Annette O’Toole). I really like the father figure presented here for a young Clark – a man who both loves his son, yet is afraid about how his special abilities may affect his future. It’s really a relationship that has never been deeply developed in any previous incarnations of the Superman legend, so it’s nice to see a show that focuses on it so strongly.Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)By the time Season One wraps up, all the pieces are in place for Season Two – which really did a great job of exploring Clark’s Kryptonian heritage and had him start asking some real questions about his purpose in life. But until Season Two arrives on DVD (or you catch the reruns on the WB), Season One has enough to keep fans entertained. So keep in mind when viewing these shows that they do indeed get deeper and more meaningful as they go along.Annette O'Toole, John Schneider, and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)The overall episodes are fairly strong, and for the most part, presented well on DVD format by Warners. It’s getting a “Highly Recommended” not so much for the overall package, but for the overall strength of the episodes. Sure to bring new fans to the series and appease those who are already big followers of the show, this box set may not leap tall buildings in a single bound, but it has got enough spring in it to make it a worthwhile purchase.

REVIEW: THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (2008)

CAST

Keanu Reeves (Speed)
Jennifer Connelly (Hulk)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Jaden Smith (The Karate Kid)
John Cleese (Rat Race)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Robert Knepper (Heroes)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Sunita Prasad (Hardwired)
J.C. MacKenzie (Dark Angel)
Lorena Gale (Smallville)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Roger Cross (First Wave)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Kyle Chandler (Argo)
Rukiya Bernard (Van Helsing)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
David Lewis (Man of Steel)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
Brandon T. Jackson (Tropic Thunder)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)

MV5BMTY0MTc0NTQ5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDkyODE0MTI@._V1_

The movie’s first act shows the most potential. Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) is swept away from her with a police escort, by flustered agents who inform her that even they don’t know why she’s being picked up. She’s rushed into a room crowded with other scientists and engineers and told that not only is something from outer space going to impact Earth in the middle of Manhattan, but it’s going to happen in less than 80 minutes. I always question the way government officials act in movies, but there’s a palpable sense of tension and paranoia, and even a few good character touches (. A better movie would have played out closer to real time; the concept that Earth might be destroyed with such little forewarning is a really great idea (although there’s a shade too much 9/11 imagery here). Sadly, it barely makes up the first twenty minutes. At the end of it, a giant swirling orb touches down in the middle of Central Park, and an alien creature steps out, only to be shot by an overzealous soldier.The creature is taken to a hospital, where its’ strange, placenta-like shell melts away to reveal what appears to be a human being. Instead it turns out to be Keanu Reeves, playing an alien creature named Klaatu who somberly informs the President’s first-hand aide (Kathy Bates) that he’d like to address the United Nations. Bates’ character is problematic. She plays it as reasonably as she can, but as written, she’s yet another trigger-happy, kill-all-the-aliens caricature straight out of endless alien invasion movies that prevents logical characters from doing logical things. She refuses his request, and they tell Helen to drug him so they can interrogate him. She fakes it instead, injecting him with saline instead of sedative, and Klaatu makes his escape.During the escape sequence, Scott Derrickson’s direction goes into hyperdrive, using flashy editing and CGI to amp up the excitement, but it feels forced and unnatural. It happens several times, all in isolated bursts (Robert Knepper’s thankless and stereotypical military commander is the worst offender, popping up occasionally to yell in a Texas accent). Only part of the spectacle, like the swarms of tiny bugs that eat up everything in their path (as seen in the misleading trailer), feel integrated with the story. The effects themselves are hit-and-miss. The giant orbs, shown on the movie poster, are stunning to look at, and those swarms of bugs are eye-poppingly cool, but most of the effects that integrate real actors look weak.I’ve always thought of Keanu Reeves as a more physical actor than an emotional one , and it’s almost endearing the way he doesn’t seem to “get” the joke in regards to his flat acting style, which the producers of Day 2008 have ably exploited in having him play an emotionless alien. I liked him in the movie, but those who already dislike him as an actor aren’t going to have their minds changed. Jennifer Connelly does a fairly good job during the first half of the film, but as the bits of characterization from the first act peter out, it’s like she’s acting into a vaccuum; she puts plenty of emotion out but none of it registers. Will Smith’s son Jaden plays her step-son, and his primary mode is “whiny”.The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)Klaatu’s goal in Day 2009 is to save the Earth, which is bad news for its inhabitants. “If the Earth dies, you die. If you die, the Earth survives,” he tells Helen. Yet the film doesn’t want to be a “message” movie, so no obvious examples are shown lest the audience get upset. I felt The Day the Earth Stood Still was better than expected but the commercial aspect of its existence overpowers its low-key successes. Derrickson’s version misses ample opportunities to explore the nature of meeting a creature from another planet, and the times it does breach the topic it doesn’t have anything to say.Keanu Reeves in The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)The 1951 original is a social landmark, and even won a Golden Globe for promoting International Understanding. The new version is entertaining, but the fact that it can’t emotionally connect to its audience, much less connect other people, is going to leave many fans rightfully disappointed.

REVIEW: TRAFFIC – THE MINISERIES

 

CAST

Elias Koteas (Crash)
Cliff Curtis (Blow)
Balthazar Getty (Alias)
Martin Donovan (Legends of Tomorrow)
Mary McCormack (Deep Impact)
Ritchie Coster (The Tuxedo)
Nelson Lee (Blade: The Series)
Justin Chatwin (War of The Worlds)
Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Moneca Delain (Agent Cody Banks)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Bill Mondy (Postal)
Ty Olsson (X-Men 2)
Kevan Ohtsji (Godzilla)
A.C. Peterson (Narc)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Christopher Shyer (The Core)
Apollonia Vanova (Man of Steel)
Tygh Runyan (Versailles)

MV5BNDEyODBmNGYtZTliNi00Y2E4LTgyNzItNzcyOWJlMjk2YTJlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzU1NzE3NTg@._V1_CR0,29,303,170_AL_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_

It’s easy to get confused about what, exactly, is Traffic: The Miniseries, considering that there’s a feature film of the same name, and a British miniseries called Traffik that’s regarded as having inspired both the film and the U.S. miniseries. But the only thing that Traffic: The Miniseries has in common with these productions is its use of drug trafficking as the central plot point, and its use of an ensemble cast and multiple, interwoven story threads. Other than that loose connection, Traffic: The Miniseries stands on its own… and it stands very solidly indeed.

Four main stories are at the core of Traffic: Mike McKay (Elias Koteas) a DEA agent working to track down heroin delivery routes in Afghanistan; his wife Carole (Mary McCormack) and teenaged son Tyler (Justin Chatwin) who have just moved to Seattle; an ambitious businessman (Balthazar Getty) who discovers the shady but profitable world of smuggling; and a Russian taxi driver (Cliff Curtis) who is waiting for the arrival of his wife and daughter through the network of smuggled “illegals.” In one way or another, all four stories connect to the mysterious sinking of a ship off the coast of Seattle, to the drug trade, and potentially also to a global terrorist network.

Traffic runs a total of four hours and 23 minutes, but its pace is so gripping that you could almost watch it in one sitting; certainly after you watch the first half you’ll be dying to see the second half. The stories are deftly laid out and intriguingly developed: in each case, we see the characters getting more and more entangled in the larger web of the story. Each story thread has its own impetus, so even before we sense any connections between them, we’re completely hooked to find out what’s going to happen in each case.