REVIEW: SOUTHERN CROSS

CAST

Esai Morales (Caprica)
Michael Ironside (Scanners)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)
Valentina Vargas (Hellraiser 4)

2wr34tr34tA mining businessman gets involved in crimes and murderers as he flees from another businessman who plans to dump nuclear waste illegally in abandoned coal mines in southern Chile. y5u56yuSouthern Cross, written and directed by James Becket is a waste of good celluloid and actor’s efforts. A formula film is not necessarily bad if it pays off on it’s promise, which this film does not. It is a tiresome concoction of movie cliches that can be traced to a thousand different films from the past. It is full of random and empty plot twists that add nothing but aimless action, such as a trip by the protagonists to a ghost town where the villains (unexplainedly) follow them. This was obviously concocted as an excuse for a shoot out and escape scene bordering on the preposterous, with people popping in and out of doorways and running past windows while firing pistols at each other. Another very average action flick, worth watching if you like the actors, but if you don’t then don’t bother.

 

 

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REVIEW: I SPY (2002)

CAST

Eddie Murphy (Dr. Dolittle)
Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers)
Famke Janssen (X-Men)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween)
Gary Cole (Santa Fe)
Phillip David Lewis (Pretty Ugly People)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Aleks Paunovic (Kindergarten Cop 2)
Crystal Lowe (Insomnia)

At the Bureau of National Security headquarters, Special Agent Alex Scott is accosted by his rival, Carlos, before being briefed on his next mission. Scott is assigned to recover a stolen fighter, the “Switchblade,” plane sold to arms dealer Arnold Gundars. Gundars is sponsoring Middleweight world boxing champion Kelly Robinson’s next match and using the event to auction the plane. The agency has contacted Robinson and assigned him to be the civilian cover for Scott’s mission. Scott and Robinson travel to Budapest, where Scott plans to penetrate Gundars’ compound during a pre-fight party.

Arriving in Budapest, Robinson is kidnapped. During the interrogation Scott bursts in, frees Robinson, and fights the kidnappers before revealing this was a test which Kelly passed by not divulging Scott’s identity. At Gundars’s party, Robinson replaces Gundars’s pen with a duplicate fitted with a tracking device before confronting his European challenger in the party’s boxing ring. Scott, posing as a member of Robinson’s entourage, uses this as a diversion to enter Gundars’ private office and hack his computer. Robinson arrives unexpectedly and trips an alarm. The two are forced to escape and manage to evade their pursuers by hiding in a sewer.

After returning to base, Robinson coaches Scott into winning Agent Rachel Wright by feeding him lines from the song “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye. Scott succeeds, but is interrupted by movement on the pen tracking device. He tracks Gundars to a bathhouse, which Scott believes is a dead end. Robinson has a hunch that the plane is hidden in the building, leading the two into a fight with Gundars’s men. Gundars speeds off in his car, with Wright in pursuit. Wright’s car explodes and Scott blames Robinson for her death. The two engage in a public confrontation that leads to Robinson’s arrest. Scott convinces the BNS that the operation can continue and tracks Gundars down again.

Robinson reaches the arena just in time for his fight. Scott finds Gundars with terrorists busy fitting the plane with a nuclear missile. Scott takes the men by surprise and forces them to surrender, before being disarmed by Agent Wright, who reveals she is a double agent. Wright tortures Scott for the Switchblade’s activation codes. Scott activates the contact lens gadget, allowing Robinson to see the dilemma as he battles his opponent in the ring. Robinson gets knocked down for the first time in his career, but recovers, defeats his opponent, and departs for the bridge. Robinson sets off a firefight which kills many of the terrorists. After Carlos lands in a parachute, Robinson infers that Carlos is also corrupt. When Carlos provokes Kelly, he knocks him out, scattering the terrorists for them to take cover. Robinson takes out the remaining terrorists, while their leader, Zhu Tam, and Gundars are both killed by Wright. After the bomb on the plane is destroyed, Robinson tells Rachel to put the gun down. Wright makes up a lie that the BNS suspected that Carlos was corrupt and says that they pretended to team up with Carlos so they can catch him and uses this to convince the others that she is innocent. The confusion leads to a fight between Scott and Carlos, allowing Wright to escape with Gundars’ briefcase. Scott and Robinson attempt to fly the Switchblade away, but it crashes into the river. While in the water, Robinson discovers the nuclear weapon. Scott realizes the mission is a success after all, and Robinson remarks that he will be recognized as a hero.

Later in Monte Carlo, Scott and Robinson track down Agent Wright and place her under arrest. Scott turns up a copy of USA Today and sees a picture of Carlos in a parade with President Bush. Robinson takes this news hard, and refuses to accompany Scott to BNS headquarters for a mission debrief. Scott tells Robinson the agency has perfected a jelly-like substance that will allow its wearer to float through the air. Robinson happily agrees to go, and Scott tells another agent to retrieve some jars of jelly and two parachutes.Overall this was kinda overlooked at the UK box office and I think it was because it was very slight and flimsy. However for gentle laughs based on good banter rather than set up jokes, this is a surprisingly fun comedy despite not sticking in your mind for longer than 15 minutes after you watch it.

REVIEW: EASY A


CAST

Emma Stone (Birdman)
Penn Badgley (John Tucker Must Die)
Amanda Bynes (What a Girl Wants)
Dan Byrd ((Heroes)
Aly Michalka (Izombie)
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways)
Lisa Kudrow (Bad Neighbours)
Juliette Goglia (Mike & MOlly)
Braeden Lemasters (The Stepfather)
Patricia Clarkson (Lars and The Real Girl)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Cam Gigandet (Twilight)
Malcolm McDowell (Tank Girl)
Stacey Travis (Ghost world)
Fred Armisen (Achorman)
Johanna Braddy (Paranormal Acitivity 3)
Yoshi Sudarso (Power Rangers Dino Charge)

Olive Penderghast, a 17-year-old girl living in Ojai, California, lies to her best friend Rhiannon Abernathy about going on a date in order to get out of camping with Rhiannon’s hippie parents. Instead, she hangs around the house all weekend listening to Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine”, which is played by a greeting card she was sent. The following Monday, pressed by Rhiannon, Olive lies about losing her virginity to a college guy. Marianne Bryant, a prissy and strictly religious Christian at their school, overhears her telling the lie and soon it spreads like wildfire. The school’s conservative church group run by Marianne decides Olive will be their next project. Olive confides the truth to her friend Brandon, and he explains how others bully him because of his homosexuality. He later asks Olive to pretend to sleep with him so that he will be accepted by everyone as a “straight stud”.Brandon convinces Olive to help him and they pretend to have sex at a party. After having a fight with Rhiannon over Olive’s new identity as a “dirty skank”, Olive decides to counteract the harassment by embracing her new image as the school tramp. She begins to wear more provocative clothing and stitches a red “A” to everything she wears. Boys who usually have had no luck with girls in the past beg Olive to say they have had sex with her in order to increase their own popularity, in exchange for gift cards to various stores, in turn increasing her reputation. Things get worse when Micah, Marianne’s 20-year-old boyfriend, contracts chlamydia from sleeping with Mrs. Griffith, the school guidance counsellor, and blames it all on Olive. Olive agrees to lie to cover up the affair so that the marriage of her favorite teacher, Mr. Griffith, would be spared.
Marianne’s religious clique, which now includes Rhiannon, begins harassing Olive in order to get her to leave school. After an ill-fated date with Anson, a boy who wants to pay her to actually sleep with him and not just pretend she did, Olive reconnects with Todd, her old love interest, who is also the school’s mascot. Todd then tells her that he does not believe the rumors because he remembers when she lied for him when he was not ready for his first kiss years ago. Olive then begins to ask everyone she lied for to help her out by telling the truth, but Brandon and Micah have abruptly left town and everyone else is enjoying their newfound popularity and do not want the truth to get out. Mrs. Griffith also refuses to tell the truth and when Olive threatens to expose her, Mrs. Griffith rebuffs her, saying no one would believe her.
Out of spite, Olive then immediately tells Mr. Griffith, who believes her and separates from Mrs. Griffith. After a friendly talk with her open-minded mother Rosemary, Olive comes up with a plan to get everything finally out in the open. She then does a song and dance number at a school pep rally to get people’s attention to watch her via web cam, where she confesses what she has done (the web cam is the framing device of the film). The various boys whose reputations Olive helped improve are also shown watching. Later, Olive texts Rhiannon, apologizing for lying to her. When she is finishing up her web cast, Todd comes by riding a lawnmower and tells her to come outside. She signs off by saying she may lose her virginity to Todd, and proudly declares “it’s nobody’s goddamn business”. She goes outside to meet him, they kiss and the two are shown riding off on the lawnmower.Overall, Easy A doesn’t provide anything groundbreaking or revolutionary to the comedy genre, but it is certainly a breath of fresh air and just a good fun film.

REVIEW: HIDALGO


CAST

Viggo Mortensen (Lord of The Rings)
Omar Sharif (Doctor Zhivago)
Zuleikha Robinson (Lost)
Louise Lombard (Stargate Universe)
Said Taghmaoui (COnan The Barbarian)
J.K. Simmons (The Accountant)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
C. Thomas Howell (E.T.)
Marshall Manesh (How I Met Your Mother)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)

In 1890, American Frank Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) and his mustang, Hidalgo, are part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, where they are advertised as “the world’s greatest distance horse and rider”. Hopkins had been a famous distance rider, a cowboy, and a dispatch rider for the United States government; in the latter capacity he carried a message to the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment authorizing the Wounded Knee Massacre of Lakota Sioux.
Wealthy Sheikh Riyadh (Omar Sharif) has sent his attaché Aziz (Adam Alexi-Malle) to ask the show to either stop using the phrase “the world’s greatest distance horse and rider” or allow Hopkins and Hidalgo to prove themselves by entering the Middle Eastern “Ocean of Fire” race: an annual 3,000-mile survival race across the Najd desert region. The Sheikh is custodian of the al-Khamsa line, considered to be the greatest distance horses in the world, and traditionally the race has been restricted to pure-bred Arabian horses and Bedouin or Arab riders. In addition to the grueling conditions, prevailing animosity and contempt for a Christian “infidel” and “impure” horse, horse and rider face stiff competition, including the wealthy and unscrupulous British horse breeder Lady Anne Davenport (Louise Lombard).To complicate matters, Sheikh Riyadh has promised his daughter Jazira Jazeera (Zuleikha Robinson), his only surviving child, in marriage to the rider of his horse, should he win. She hopes to prevent this by giving Hopkins advice and information to help him win, thereby resulting in greater danger for them both. Sheikh Riyadh’s outcast brigand nephew, who will stop at nothing to gain control of the al-Khamsa line, raids the race camp, kidnaps Jazira, and threatens to kill her unless he gets his uncle’s prize stallion racer as her ransom. Hopkins manages to rescue Jazira. However, Davenport and the Sheikh’s nephew try to sabotage the race by eliminating the rival riders, but are thwarted when Hopkins kills the nephew.
For Hopkins the Ocean of Fire becomes not only a matter of pride, honor and survival, but of identity as well: it emerges that his father was European American while his mother was Lakota Sioux. The Lakota call him “Blue Child” or “Far Rider.” As a half-breed he feels sympathy and pity for his mother’s people, but does not generally reveal his heritage, especially after the Wounded Knee massacre, for which he feels partly responsible. Jazira compares his relation to his heritage to her desire to avoid wearing the veil, saying that he mustn’t “go through life hiding what God made you….like me.”
Nearing the end of the race, Hidalgo is severely injured and Hopkins is dying of thirst. He considers shooting Hidalgo to end his suffering, but is unable to bring himself to do it. Kneeling, he chants a prayer to Wakan Tanka as a possible death song, and images of Lakota elders and his mother appear before him before Hidalgo suddenly struggles up, and Hopkins rides bareback to come from behind win the race. Hopkins wins the respect and admiration of the Arabs, and becomes friends with the Sheikh, giving him his revolver as a gift. As he bids farewell to an unveiled Jazira, she asks him if he is fulfilling the traditional Western tales’ ending where the cowboy rides away into the setting sun and calls him Blue Child as she smiles kindly at him and turns to go. Returning to the United States, Hopkins uses his winnings to buy a herd of mustangs about to be killed by government order, in what was an attempt by the US government to eliminate mustangs and force Native Americans to convert to farming. Hopkins has the horses released and frees Hidalgo to join them in the wild. The epilogue states that Hopkins went on to reportedly win 400 long-distance races and was an outspoken supporter for wild mustangs until his death in 1951, while Hidalgo’s descendants live free in the wild in and around Oklahoma.The film has powerful overtones along with a basic plot. Overall, it made for a great adventure film. Its ending was certainly bittersweet

REVIEW: TEEN TITANS – SEASON 1-5

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Scott Menville (Full House)
Hynden Walch (Justice League War)
Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Greg Cipes (Anger Management)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Tom Kenny (Superhero Squad)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Tracey Walter (Conan The Destroyer)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Dave Coulier (Full House)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Malcolm McDowell (Heroes)
James Arnold Taylor (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass 2)
Ashley Johnson (Dollhouse)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons)
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Henry Rollins (Wrong Turn 2)
James Hong (BLade Runner)
T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (Cosby)
Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
Jason Marsden (Return to The Batcave)
Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice)
Judge Reinhold (Ruthless People)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander II)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)

Teen Titans centers around the five main members of the superhero team: Robin (Scott Menville), the intelligent, capable leader of the Teen Titans; Starfire (Hynden Walch), a quirky, curious alien princess from the planet Tamaran; Cyborg (Khary Payton), a half-human/half-robot who is known for his strength and technological prowess; Raven (Tara Strong), a stoic girl from the parallel world Azarath, who draws upon dark energy and psionic abilities; and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes), a ditzy, good-natured joker who can transform into various animals. They are situated in Titans Tower, a large T-shaped structure featuring living quarters as well as a command center and variety of training facilities, on an island just offshore from the fictional West Coast city of Jump City.

The team deals with all manner of criminal activity and threats to the city, while dealing with their own struggles with adolescence, their mutual friendships, and their limitations. Slade, their main enemy, is a newly designed version of the DC villain Deathstroke. The team encounters several allies throughout the series; including Aqualad in the first season; Terra in the second season (who is integral to that season’s story arc), as well as Speedy, Hotspot, and Wildebeest; Bumblebee and Más y Menos in the third season (who join Aqualad, Speedy and bumblebee to form ‘Titans East’), and numerous other heroes adapted from the DC universe in the fifth season to aid in the battle against the Brotherhood of Evil.

I admit I wasn’t sure what to expect from Teen Titans. The show is nothing like the Teen Titans comic books, which it is based on. It ended up being more of a kids show. The characters are quite different than their comic book counterparts.


The animation is definitely inspired by Anime. It is borrowing elements from several children’s anime. There is a emphasis on exaggerated character facial expressions, that definitely add to the charm of the show. The show isn’t shy to admit its cultural inspirations by enlisting the Japanese pop band Puffy AmiYumi to perform the catchy theme song.
Teen Titans isn’t for everyone. Overall, I quite enjoy the show. It is worth giving it a try.

REVIEW: FIRESTARTER 2: REKINDLED

CAST

Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween)
Dennis Hopper (Speed)
Danny Nucci (Eraser)
Skye McCole Bartusiak (Boogeyman)
John Dennis Johnston (48 hrs)
Darnell Williams (All My Children)
Ron Perkins (House)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Free Enterprise)
Dan Byrd (Heroes)

Vincent Sforza (Danny Nucci) works for a large, influential research firm, and he has been put in charge of locating several people who were part of an old experiment from the 1970s—an experiment in which a group of college students were given a dose of a chemical called LOT-6. Apparently, the victims of the experiment have won a class action lawsuit and need to be found so that a check can be issued. Included on the list is Charlene “Charlie” McGee (Marguerite Moreau), the offspring of two of the participants in the experiment.

When Charlie was a kid, Charlie’s mother Vicky (Karrie Combs) was murdered by men who worked for the now-defunct Shop, the government department that wanted to harness her pyrokinesis as a military weapon. Charlie’s father Andy (Aaron Radl) was killed by John Rainbird, a professional killer who had been hired by the shop. Ever since then, Charlie has been in hiding to protect herself. Under an assumed name, she now has a job at a university library, where she secretly does research to find a way to suppress her pyrokinetic abilities.

When Vincent finally locates Charlie, he unintentionally sets into motion a series of events with deadly consequences. It turns out that there really isn’t a class action lawsuit settlement. John Rainbird (Malcolm McDowell), who was thought to have been burned to death by Charlie, is still alive, scarred from the burns—and he’s looking for Charlie, because he’s still obsessed with her. Rainbird has been using the lie about a class action lawsuit to lure the original LOT-6 experiment’s victims out of hiding so these victims can be killed one by one in order to keep things quiet.

Charlie gets help from James Richardson (Dennis Hopper), one of the victims of the LOT-6 experiment. The experiment has given James the ability to tell the future. When Vincent discovers that he’s been duped into luring Charlie back to Rainbird, Vincent also decides to help Charlie. John’s been working on perfecting the LOT experiments, and has created 6 young boys with rather unusual abilities. One has the power of suggestion, another can sense truth and deception, two can move things with their mind, one has the destructive voice from hell, and the most dangerous one of them all is an energy sink, someone who can suck the life and energy out of anyone or anything.
Rainbird is using these children to rob a bank as a test of warfare in the new decade. With Vince and James on her side, Charlie must decide whether to keep running, or fight Rainbird to the end. Charlie chooses to fight to the end, and after Rainbird kills Vincent, Charlie kills Rainbird—right in front of his experimental boys—by taking him into a fiery embrace, and literally turning him into a pile of ashes. Then Charlie ends up in a one-on-one battle against the energy sink. Charlie uses her powers to destroy the energy sink, and the other experimental boys realize that Charlie was telling them the truth when she said that they become a little less human every time they use their abilities. Charlie, finally having no need to be in hiding, later boards a bus to Canada.This 2 part TV mini series was released on DVD as a 2 and a half hour movie and it certainly does drag in places. Story is fairly good but truth be told its only made good because of the 4 main actors. The special effects I felt could’ve been better, but its expected for a TV movie budget.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: STAR TREK: GENERATIONS

CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
William Shatner (TJ Hooker)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The GIft)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Crowned and Dangerous)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween)
Jacqueline Kim (Xena)
Barbara March (L.A. Law)
Gwynyth Walsh (Taken)
Patti Yasutake (Gung Ho)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
James Doohan (Some Things Never Die)
Walter Koenig (Babylon 5)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)

In the year 2293, retired Captain James T. Kirk, Montgomery Scott, and Pavel Chekov attend the maiden voyage of the Federation starship USS Enterprise-B, under the command of the unseasoned Capt. John Harriman. During the voyage, Enterprise is pressed into a rescue mission to save two El-Aurian ships from a strange energy ribbon. Enterprise is able to save some of the refugees before their ships are destroyed, but the starship becomes trapped in the ribbon. Kirk goes to deflector control to alter the deflector dish, allowing Enterprise to escape, but the trailing end of the ribbon rakes across Enterprise’s hull, exposing the section Kirk is in to space; he is presumed dead.

In 2371, the crew of the USS Enterprise-D celebrate the promotion of Worf to Lieutenant Commander. Captain Jean-Luc Picard receives a message that his brother and nephew were killed in a fire, meaning the storied Picard family line will end with him. Enterprise receives a distress call from an observatory in orbit of the star Amargosa, where they rescue the El-Aurian Dr. Tolian Soran. The android Data and engineer Geordi La Forge discover a compound called trilithium in a hidden room of the observatory. Soran appears, knocks La Forge unconscious, and launches a trilithium solar probe at Amargosa. The probe causes the star to implode, sending a shock wave toward the observatory. Soran and La Forge are transported away by a Klingon Bird of Prey belonging to the treacherous Duras sisters, who had stolen the trilithium for Soran in exchange for the designs for a trilithium weapon. Data is rescued just before the station is destroyed by the shock wave.

Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), Enterprise’s bartender, tells Captain Jean-Luc Picard more about Soran; they were among the El-Aurians rescued by the Enterprise-B in 2293. Guinan explains that Soran is obsessed with reentering the “Nexus”, an extra-dimensional realm where time has no meaning and anyone can experience whatever they desire. Picard and Data determine that Soran, unable to fly a ship into the ribbon due to the uncertainty that the ship will survive long enough to ensure his success, is instead altering the path of the ribbon by destroying stars, and that he will attempt to re-enter the Nexus on Veridian III by destroying its sun—and, by extension, a heavily populated planet in the system.

Upon entering the Veridian system, Enterprise makes contact with the Duras Bird of Prey. Picard offers himself to the sisters in exchange for La Forge, but insists that he be transported to Soran’s location first. La Forge is returned to Enterprise, but he inadvertently reveals Enterprise’s shield frequency, allowing the Duras sisters to inflict crippling damage on Enterprise. Enterprise destroys the Bird of Prey, but has sustained irreversible damage to its warp core. Commander William Riker orders an evacuation to the forward saucer section of the ship which separates from the star drive. The shock wave from the star drive’s destruction sends the saucer crashing to the surface of Veridian III.

Picard fails to talk Soran out of his plan and is too late to stop him from launching his missile. The collapse of the Veridian star alters the course of the Nexus ribbon as predicted, and it sweeps Picard and Soran away while the shock wave from the star obliterates everything in the system. In the Nexus, Picard finds himself surrounded by the family he never had, including a wife and children, but realizes it is an illusion. He is confronted by an “echo” of Guinan. After being told that he may leave whenever he chooses and go wherever and whenever he wishes, Guinan sends him to meet Kirk, also safe in the Nexus. Though Kirk is at first reluctant to leave, Picard convinces Kirk to return to Picard’s present and stop Soran by assuring him that it will fulfill his desire to make a difference.

Leaving the Nexus, the two arrive on Veridian III minutes before Soran launches the missile. Kirk distracts Soran long enough for Picard to lock the missile in place, causing it to explode on the launchpad and kill Soran. Kirk is fatally injured by a fall during the encounter; as he dies, Picard assures him that he made a difference. Picard buries Kirk before a shuttle arrives to transport him to the wreckage of the Enterprise saucer. Three Federation starships enter orbit to retrieve Enterprise’s survivors.Well in my opinion this is one of the best one of all the next gen films, it offers alot for everyone, not just trek fans, as it has the old and the new in it, and everyone loved Kirk for one reason or another. Patrick Stewart has about the biggest emotional range he has ever had in this film. A great beginning for the Next Generation on the big screen.