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Dark Resurrection (2007)
Superb, but ONLY from a Technical Point-of-View
While I admire all the effort that went into making this film, I'd be lying if I said I liked it.
Out of all the "Star Wars" fan films I've seen so far, this one is without a doubt the best made one on a technical level; the costumes, sets, effects, and acting are all very well done. Unfortunately, from a storytelling point-of-view, I find it very underwhelming.
First things first, I didn't like how the Jedi are portrayed in this. Not only do they come off as far too powerful -- throwing up Force fields, regenerating from wounds at an accelerated rate, etc. -- they come off as a cross between the PT Jedi and the Bene Gesserit from the Dune Universe, which -- IMO -- is NOT how the Jedi of Luke Skywalker's Order should be portrayed; the Jedi should be warmer, more human and relatable, not cold traditionalists with a pseudo-matriarchal council trying to create a genetic super-being.
Second, the main villain's regenerative capabilities -- far, far too over the top. Not only can he recover after being run through with a lightsaber, but he can also regenerate from complete incineration(!) Like I said with the Jedi above, he's just too damn powerful, only more so.
Now, as for the characters -- I just didn't care about any of them. The Jedi, like I said, are too frigid, while the Sith/Imperials just don't have defined character whatsoever beyond being typical black hat bad guys.
In regards to the plot, it was needlessly confusing in places. When the first flashbacks pop up, for example, they pop at random with no telltale transitions given to indicate that they even were flashbacks; it's only once you get through them that you realize they're supposed to take place in the past, not the present. More effort definitely should have been put into making the flashbacks look like actual flashbacks.
Also, what's with the Imperial fleet the Sith are allied with? Where did they come from? Does the Empire coexist with the New Republic in this timeframe? Is it some kind of Imperial remnant? Did the Empire somehow reconquer the galaxy? What's going on with those guys?
Now, as for the Sith themselves. I'm just going to be frank -- I don't like Sith anymore, not the modern PT-inspired incarnation of the Sith, anyway. Even if I didn't have a problem with Sith, though, I'd still have a problem with how they're shoehorned into the plot. Where did they come from? Did the main baddie recreate the Sith? Did he just join with a Sith organization that was already in existence? No info about them is revealed or alluded to at all at any point in the film. It's apparent that the Sith characters should have just been Dark Jedi.
Now, for my final issue with this film -- the lightsaber colours. I know it's the in-thing to go with the stupid RGB lightsaber colour scheme from the prequels these days, but I would have preferred more lightsaber colours between the Jedi and the Sith.
In the end, I give this film 6/10.
Keep Your Mouth Shut (1944)
"Keep Your Mouth Shut", made by the late great Norman McLaren, is a short portraying a talking human skull which warns World War II-era Canadian individuals to refrain from spreading about wartime-related gossip lest he should hear them and pass the info along to his superiors, in the process bringing about a series of calamities to allied forces.
The short is made worthwhile due to the talking skull, which is brought to eerie life with brilliant stop motion animation. That, unfortunately, is the only meat there is to be found in this propaganda piece. The plot is tedious, and the moral of the story is pretty nonsensical. The short could have been so much better if it had been restructured, made into a short criticizing gossip in general and with a more logical narrative.
"Keep Your Mouth Shut" gets 5/10, but only due to the aforementioned skull animation. The story alone deserves nothing more than 1/10.
Stargate SG-1 (1997)
Inferior to the Original Film, but Taken On Its Own It Is Pretty Good
What is it about "Stargate SG-1" that earned it a large fan base and ten seasons? Was it original? Did it break new ground? Did it have grand story arcs? Deep and layered characters? Incredible acting?
The plain truth is: none of the above. It reuses, reduces, and recycles the same tired old tropes and clichés that have been run into the ground a long time ago by other sci-fi franchises; it's basically a thinly-disguised "Star Trek" knockoff, with some "Babylon 5" thrown in for good measure. The story arcs meandered and were overlong; character development was slow and minimal; the acting ranged from average to incredibly poor (especially when taking guest stars into account).
The truth is that SG-1's fame and fortune are not due to originality, but in SPITE of it. "Stargate SG-1" is "safe" sci-fi - unoriginal fare that is incapable of "blowing the minds" of those who are only comfortable with the same-old same-old - who are slow to accept anything new. And since the majority of the population is like this ... well ... you have your answer as to why this series is so popular.
So why do I give this show 7/10 instead of - say - 1/10? Because "Stargate SG-1" is the perfect satire. The series charm lies in its caricature of those tropes and clichés. Technobabble? Check. English as the universal language? Check. Stormtrooper Syndrome? Check and MATE. As a parody its great!
Stop giving "Stargate SG-1" the praise it doesn't deserve. Regardless of what the fanboys say, "Stargate SG-1" is not superior to the film that spawned it. In fact "Stargate" (1994) is its superior in pretty much every way; The film's villains alone outdo any of the antagonists presented in the series. But taken by itself -- and not as a continuation of the original film -- its perfectly good. I'd almost say that its good because its so bad, but that would be too harsh and not quite an accurate description of my feelings toward this show.
Harper's Island (2009)
The Escalator to Nowhere
Remember that old episode of "The Simpsons", "Marge vs. the Monorail"? Remember how at the end there was a large escalator suspended in the middle of the air that would take people from the bottom, lift them up to the top, them send them to a horrible crash to the ground below? Well, "Harper's Island" was kind of like the Escalator to Nowhere; the first few episodes were kind of slow, but the pace soon began to pick up, only to have the series finally crash with the finale.
"Harper's Island" had it all : interesting premise, likable characters, decent acting, and creative murders. I have to say that the performances of Elaine Cassidy and Jim Beaver impressed me enough to interest me in seeing some of their other work. So where did this show go wrong? Let's sum it up to four reasons : inconsistencies, clichés, loose ends, and plot holes - most of which arise in the finale. These little tidbits help to tarnish - if not outright ruin - the series as a whole.
And let's not forget that a possible supernatural angle to the plot was introduced in the early episodes, but was abandoned abruptly about five episodes in. What was the point!?
"Harper's Island" is a mixed bag when you get right down to it; there's a lot to like about the first ten or eleven episodes, but after that prepare to be disappointed. I'd recommend watching the show only if you skip out on the last two episodes. On the other hand, if you choose to watch all the way through, don't say I didn't warn you.