Battlestar Galactica, Season 1 Review



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Review:

I heard rave reviews of the 2004 Battlestar Galactica reboot for a couple years before I actually sat down to watch it. This was partially because I was confused about where to start, so just in case somebody else has the same question: you start with the miniseries. The miniseries is included with the season one box set, so you don’t need to buy/rent it separately (although that is an option).

Once I finally sat down to get started, I was quickly captivated. In fact, I think the miniseries and first couple seasons of Battlestar Galactica are some of the best science fiction ever committed to screen. The storyline focuses on the captain (Edward James Olmos) of an outdated starship that is about to be decommissioned and turned into a museum. Shortly before the ceremony is scheduled to take place, the ship’s crew receives word that human civilization is under attack by their former robot slaves, the Cylons, who have attained sentience and turned on their former masters. The massive attack is carried out so swiftly and comprehensively that within hours, the human race is reduced to just 50,000 survivors.

Battlestar Galactica never struggled to find its footing, as some shows do early on. The writing in the miniseries and first season is solid throughout, the special effects are excellent, and the large ensemble cast, led by Olmos and Mary McDonnell, is outstanding. Like many great sci-fi series, the show grappled thoughtfully with serious real world religious, philosophical, and ethical quandaries, even as its characters wandered alien star systems in search of a legendary planet called Earth where they hope to find safety. At the same time, it held the interest of less philosophically inclined viewers with gripping storylines and plenty of space battles.

For me, one of the main strengths of Battlestar Galactica is its characterization. I thought the writers did a great job juggling the many different arcs and storylines and making each one both individually and collectively interesting and appealing. I quickly grew to care about nearly all the characters and even though I became increasingly unhappy with the direction some of the character’s arcs took in later seasons, I never lost my fundamental investment in the characters and their fates. This turned out to be both good and bad in the end, as I’ll discuss in my reviews of the later seasons, but it was unequivocally a good thing in the miniseries and season one.

Not going to lie: eye candy is an additional bonus of the show. I started watching the miniseries one evening without my husband. He passed by the tv at one point and practically got whiplash from Number Six, who is played by Tricia Helfer, a rare model-turned-actress who can actually act. (Grace Park, who played Number Eight, also got her start as a model.) For the ladies, you have Jamie Bamber (though the infamous towel slip is in season two), Tahmoh Penikett, and others.

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My rating: (4 / 5)

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Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Movie Review



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Review:

My dad isn’t a Trekkie, but he is a Star Trek fan, and he tried to introduce my siblings and me to the series with slightly mixed success when we were kids. For example, we got sort of traumatized by the Ceti eel things in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (I didn’t attempt to watch that film again until I was an adult), but we absolutely loved Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In fact, it became one of our favorite movies and we watched it many, many times as kids. It remains one of my favorite films to this day, and is definitely my favorite Star Trek movie. The Voyage Home is hilarious, highly quotable, and ultimately touching, as the crew of the Enterprise travels back in time to 1980’s San Francisco to bring back a pair of humpback whales in an attempt to repopulate the species (which has become extinct in the 23rd century). Also, I still kind of want to be Gillian Taylor.

My rating: (4 / 5)

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Star Trek (2009) Movie Review

Review:



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I wouldn’t describe myself as a Trekkie, but I do enjoy Star Trek, and like many fans more dedicated than myself, I have somewhat mixed feelings about this film.

On the one hand, it’s a lot of fun and I thought they did an excellent job with casting. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, and the rest all did a great job bringing a fresh energy to their characters without sacrificing familiarity.

On the other hand, it’s very flashy and pretty to look at without having much underneath. Large chunks of the plot and worldbuilding for the reboot are blatantly, almost insultingly, ridiculous.

In short, it’s a fun movie to curl up with on a rainy afternoon, but I hope in future that the reboot films will be taken over by someone with more respect for the soul of the original Trek. Meanwhile, the best thing about the reboot universe is the top-notch fanfiction it’s inspired.

A couple personal favorites:

Yeah, I like Uhura.

My rating: (3.5 / 5)

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Lost in Space



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Review:

Okay, I’ve never seen the original tv show, so it’s possible I was missing something as a result, but this was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Despite the (mostly) good cast, the acting was inconsistent at best, the plot made no sense, and the script took itself far too seriously. A total muddled mess.

My rating:  (1 / 5)

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Lilo & Stitch Movie Review



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Review:

One of the most under-rated Disney movies, in my opinion. The wacky hijinks of little Lilo and her alien “dog” are enjoyable and often laugh-out-loud funny (“Oh good, my dog found the chainsaw”) but the action and humor disguise a poignant message about the importance of family – both blood, and chosen. “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.”

My rating:  (4 / 5)

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