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I also write for Influx Magazine--where many of my opinions and reviews are also posted.
Good but talky.
When the previous episode ended, Seven walks away from an incursion mission onto a Borg ship. In other words, she rejoins the Collective! Soon you see the Borg Queen do her mega-cool entrance and she talks to Seven--informing her that her time on Voyager was all part of the Borg's master plan (yeah, right--you just don't want to admit you screwed up, Queenie!).
Aboard Voyager, they make a discovery--that the Borg were beaming messages to Seven and perhaps she wasn't responsible for her recent actions. Naturally, the Captain wants to do on a rescue mission-- but they have to locate Seven first.
What is the Queen's/Borg's plan? There obviously is more to the plan that we've seen so far.
I generally enjoyed this episode. After all, it involves the Borg. However, I was surprised just how talky it all was when the Queen began talking and talking and talking to Seven--and it did seem to go on way too long and didn't make a lot of sense.
Captain Janeway...what ARE you thinking?!
For Captain Janeway, this is an odd two-parter because her character acts very odd compared to the usual Janeway. First, she announces she's tired of dealing with the Borg from a defensive posture after Voyager blows up a Borg ship. The plan? She wants to send a team aboard a damaged Borg ship and steal its warp core. But here is where Janeway gets REALLY weird--she insists that Seven get in touch with her childhood and practically forces her to read through her idiot* father's old logs. Not surprisingly, this really messes with Seven's brain. Later, when they do attack, Seven unexpectedly rejoins the Collective--perhaps due, in part, to her PTSD and reading Daddy's log. Sure, there's a bit more to it than that...but you do wonder how much Janeway's orders led to this.
This is an exciting episode. However apart from Janeway, you learn that Seven's father is extra-stupid and practically does everything he can to destroy his family! Still, the show is full of action and high on the cool factor.
Star Trek: Voyager: Bliss (1999)
Happy drifting towards oblivion.
A wormhole appears in space near Voyager. Everyone is happy and they soon start receiving lots of messages from their loved ones in the Alpha Quadrant. There are two serious problems--Seven's examination of the wormhole indicates it's NOT real and the messages through the wormhole are TOO positive--so positive that it's like a lure pulling them to their deaths. However, no matter how hard Seven tries to let everyone know, the more they ignore her and try to shut her up. Eventually, the ship gets very close and the crew falls asleep--all but Naomi who is some freaky little kid who appears in way too many episodes. She then wakes ups Seven, Seven activates the Doctor and they save another being being sucked into the fake wormhole. Can the four of them save Voyager?
Overall this is a pretty good episode. It's a lot like a Venus Flytrap in space and the show is good despite its appearance of Naomi--and I hate cute kids on sci-fi shows!
Star Trek: Voyager: Gravity (1999)
Good, but I don't think it really needed all the flashback scenes
The shuttle with Tuvok, Paris and the Doctor crashes due to some odd anomaly in space. They cannot get out and find that this barren planet is full of the crews from other ships that have also gotten stuck there. They make friends with a woman named Noss (Lori Petty) who helps them learn to adapt to life there. In the meantime, Voyager naturally searches for them but things are confounded since time is greatly accelerated within the anomaly. During the time on the planet, Noss inexplicably falls in love with Tuvok but Tuvok is Tuvok!
I thought that this was a decent episode but all the flashbacks about Tuvok as a teen on Vulcan seemed more of a distraction than to help understand the story. Tuvok EASILY could have just explained all the flashbacks in a paragraph to Paris. Average.
Stupid but kind of fun...
"Bride of Chaotica" is a dumb episode...but it works because it never tries to be anything but cheesy and dumb! It begins as several other episodes have begun--with Paris and Kim in the holodeck playing Captain Proton! However, after they leave to go back to work, something totally unforeseen happens--the holodeck remains on and subspace beings enter it. Unfortunately, these beings think that the evil Dr. Chaotica is real and begin an all-out war against this holo-menace! In the process, they disable Voyager and it's up to Paris, Kim and the Captain to enter the holo program and straighten all this out.
To call this episode anything other than silly old fashioned fun would be difficult. Obviously the show was based on the old Flash Gordon serials and it's clearly a homage to these old serials. Well worth seeing.
Enjoyable...especially if you like doggies.
While I had a hard time deciphering the exact overriding theme of this show, I did have a good time watching. It seemed as if it mostly consisted of a wider variety of tops dog-related that might be interesting for dog lovers. Martin Clunes travels about the world exploring such things as: sheepdogs working with their owner, how we over-pamper dogs, the evolution of the bulldog from a useful animal to an unhealthy freak due to fads which ended up harming this and other breeds as well as a visit to Tanzania to see some African Wild Dogs up close. All in all, very interesting even if a tad disjoint. It's also made better by Clunes' pleasant personality and easy-going manner.
F. Murray Abrahams narrates this episode of "Nature". It's all about dogs and their malleability--both in size and shape as well as jobs. As far as size and type go, the show explores positive and negative consequences of selective breeding. Because of so much in- breeding, wonderful and beneficial changes have result. But, dog showing for looks versus health and type have also created many genetic problems. Specifically, the show looks at how incredibly different bulldogs look today versus 150 years ago--when it was practically a different breed entirely. Additionally, the show looks at ways dogs can help us, such as in detecting cancer, predicting seizures as well as earthquakes.
Overall, this is a very fascinating show. But, on top of that, it also was very well written and informative. Well worth seeing.
Tumbleweed Tango (2013)
Story? See this one for the amazing graphics!
Sam Stephens & Christopher Mauch directed this amazing little film. Stephens has very few credits on IMDb, but Mauch has worked on several top films. However, this is one of the few times either has been able to direct. With a film like this one, I can't wait to see what they'll do next and it's bound to turn a few heads.
The story itself is simple and very odd. A balloon doggy finds itself in the middle of the desert surrounded by cacti. What would a balloon doggy be doing in the midst of all these sharp and spiny things?! DON'T ASK!!! Just go with it. Soon it meets another balloon doggy and they begin tangoing. What's next? See the film.
The plot I described above probably didn't grab you. But what WILL grab you are the graphics. It's simply stunning and a beautifully rendered film--with expert shadowing, backgrounds and balloon doggies! See this one!
Mind-bending and strange...but I like it!
"Zerogon" is one of the stranger animated short films I have ever seen. In many ways, it seems like the closest you can come to experiencing drugs without actually using any! It's strange, trippy and altogether confusing. But it's also truly amazing to watch...even though I am not 100% sure what I actually saw!
John Mattiuzzi and Joshua Planz don't have a lot of credits to them so far. John has worked on a few films doing visual effects but the pair have rather limited experience directing their own films. So, it's obviously intended as a film which will allow them to hone their craft as well as show folks what they can do. So, if their intention is to get people's attention, that's exactly what will happen when you see "Zerogon".
It's hard to describe the film. The best way to describe its look is kinda like Uncle Fester combined with a spider living in a mash- up world in outer space that looks a bit like "Tron"! Strange but compelling and the lovely graphics and sound really grab your attention and won't let up. A truly strange but wonderful experience.
Le gouffre (2014)
In some ways, an exceptional little film
"Le Gouffre" is a short animated French film that is amazing in some ways and could use some more work in others. However, most importantly, if left me wanting to see more from the team responsible for making it!
It's important to point out that the story is told without words--so don't worry about having to read subtitles. It begins with two men coming to a huge gorge with no bridge to cross it. Through the course of the film, the pair begin constructing a bridge and with some help from the locals it looks like they might just be able to cross after all.
The story is extremely simple. But the film really impressed me with its cinematic qualities. The music is by far the best thing about the film. It fits perfectly and really gets your blood pounding. The background CGI is also very nice and the film looks amazing. However, my reason for scoring it with only a 6 is that the rendering of the figures isn't great and looks dated and a bit creepy even though the film is new. Animating realistic humans using computers is NOT easy. This, however, can be overcome with experience and better software. Combine improving this with the great style and I really think these folks are headed on the right path.