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Review from a true LOTR fan.
11 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, let me just say, when I first heard that Guillermo Del Toro had left The Hobbit and that Peter Jackson was going to direct it himself, I couldn't hold my excitement. As of 2011, I started watching every video blog from the set, countless times, and reading every article containing every bit of information about the films. Lord of the Rings was a milestone in my adolescence and remains a vital part of my being to this day. ( as will continue to be for as long as I live)So, naturally, I was expecting The Hobbit films to be on par with Rings, I was expecting them to be cinematic masterpieces, however when I first saw An Unexpected Journey, I realized that was not the case, but still, as a true fan I absolutely loved it, I have a strong emotional connection with that first film in the trilogy, there are moments in it that makes me tear up ( like the second prologue with Ian Holm's Bilbo and Frodo, a scene between Galadriel and Gandalf when we hear a small segment of The Breaking of the Fellowship playing and a moment between Thorin and Bilbo at the end).

That being said, I was fairly disappointed with the second installment, The Desolation of Smaug, although very entertaining and with great spectacle ( and good pacing), I felt it lacked the heart and character driven moments from the first film. ( not to mention the bad CGI and the absurd over the top finale at Erebor)So, after that film, I was worried that the third film would also be something of a let down, well, after having seen it last night I can happily say this is far from the truth. The heart and emotion from the first film are heightened in The Battle of the Five Armies, while watching the film I felt that Jackson was channeling, well, himself, in the LOTR days, creating a huge battle with the focus on the characters personal dramas, in a way, I think he was aiming for this film to be this trilogy's Return of the King, with is both a bad and a good thing, it's bad because this trilogy doesn't have the same caliber as LOTR, and will always exist on its shadow, but at the same time is good, because it brought up the best that Jackson has to offer as director this time around, which makes this the best film of this trilogy.

The passing of some of the main characters is done beautifully, in an extremely emotional way, each character has it's moment in the film, but it's Bilbo and Thorin's relationship that is the emotional core of the film, but there are also some very emotionally charged character arcs, like Tauriel and Kili's, let me just say that their "romance" is treated in a much more profound way this time around, there are also some touching moments with Bard and his children. I also thought that the visual effects in this film were the best of trilogy, I always disliked Jackson's decision to not use those beautiful miniature models like in LOTR, and instead creating some of the locations digitally, strangely I felt that the locations, especially Erebor and Dale, didn't look as artificial as in the first films, from some angles, Dale in this film reminded me a little of Minas Tirith. There is also a scene when Legolas and Tauriel arrive at Gundabad, an evil fortress, just in time to see a large army of orcs march from inside the fortress towards Erebor, accompanied by a huge flock of giant monstrous bats, that scene reminded me of when Frodo, Sam and Gollum arrive at Minas Morgul in ROTK, and witness the Witch king of Angmar leading an army towards Gondor. Speaking of the Witch King, die hard fans such as myself will have a major geek moment in the first hour of the film, when Galadriel, Elrond and Saruman face off against the Nine, the Ringwraiths, and Galadriel single handedly faces off against Sauron himself, I had goosebumps.

There is much to love in this film, especially if you are a fan, the final framing device with old Bilbo in the Shire felt wonderfully nostalgic, it makes one want to watch Fellowship of the Ring right afterwards. I believe Jackson has achieved what he was aiming at, creating a trilogy that is a worthy prelude to LOTR and at the same time a compelling story on its own.
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Millennium: Midnight of the Century (I) (1997)
Season 2, Episode 10
A very touching and unique episode of Millennium.
14 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
During Christmas time, Frank (Lance Henriksen) remembers the events surrounding his mother's death in his childhood. Meanwhile, Jordan (Brittany Tiplady) is visited by the spirit of her dead grandmother, Frank's mother. Frank becomes worried about Jordan's gift, and what it will do to her in the future. In a scene, Catherine ( Megan Gallagher) tells Frank that his gift caused him a mental breakdown and separated him from his family. She tells Frank she doesn't want the same thing to happen to Jordan, she doesn't want her to not have anywhere to turn to other than within herself. By the end of the episode, in a very touching moment, Frank reconciles with his father, with whom he wasn't speaking for years, and in the last scene Frank and Jordan share a vision of the souls of the people who are about to die, among the souls, is Frank's father.

I am very fond of this episode, different from the majority of Millennium episodes, this is a very light one, and there is no crime scene, serial killer or any manifestation of evil. It's a Christmas episode, we can take a look at Frank's personal life, his struggle to maintain his sanity, to save his marriage and above all to have a normal relationship with his daughter. There is also a very good moment between Frank and Lara Means ( Kristen Cloke). Every time I finish watching this episode, I am left with a great feeling inside, it's truly a great episode, one of the best of the series, certainly the best written by Erin Maher e Kay Reindl.
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Avatar (2009)
A movie with a soul.
22 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
When I first heard about Avatar, earlier this year and I saw the trailers, I didn't had high expectations. I thought it was a movie filled with special effects, but with no original or interesting story, a movie where I could not care about the characters, like "King Kong" for example; I was mistaken. Visually, the movie is unlike anything I've ever seen in a cinema. And it's not only that, the movie has a soul.

The story focuses on Jake Sully, a paraplegic U.S. marine, who in he future, travels trough space to the planet Pandora, a planet inhabited by the Na'vi, an indigenous alien race( although they have blue skin, they are very similar to humans). There he becomes involved with the Avatar project, and he submits himself to a process in which his consciousness is transferred to a Na'vi body. The military on Pandora are interested in a very rare and precious material, a sort of mineral, called Unobtanium. There are large quantities of this material in the place where the Na'vis live. Jake, in Avatar form, infiltrates the Na'vi, in order to gather Intel for the military, and if possible, convince the Na'vis to relocate. While living with them, Jake learns about their culture, their way of life and he starts to see the world trough their eyes. He practically becomes one of them, and he also falls in love with a Na'vi woman,Neytiri. The military are about to launch an attack against the Na'vi, and Jake is going trough an identity crisis, he has to find out who he is, and he has to choose a side in the imminent battle.

James Cameron outdid himself with this movie,the motion capture technology used to create the Na'vi is just as good as the one used to create Gollum, in "The Lord of the Rings". It's hard to believe that there were no shootings done in a real forest, it all looks incredibly real. The movie is visually extraordinary, and as I said before, it has a soul. While watching the movie, you come to care about the characters, the Na'vis specially. This movie got to me in a way that only " The Lord of the Rings- The Return of the King"( my favorite movie of all time) had got before. In the scene where the military launch their first attack against the Na'vi, destroying a part of their forest and killing some of them, I had to make an effort not to cry, my eyes were full of tears, and that is something that rarely happens to me, REALLY, rarely. The movie has a strong message of love and peace, it is an anti-war and anti-military movie, and also has a strong spiritual side. The way the Na'vis respect the nature, the animals and above all, life itself, is a lesson to all human beings. James Cameron had done great movies in the past, but never something as bold as this. To my eyes now, he is just as brilliant as a filmmaker as Peter Jackson is, and that's saying a lot. This movie is certainly going to be remembered as a milestone in movie making.
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Millennium: Antipas (I) (1999)
Season 3, Episode 13
The best supernatural episode of Millennium.
27 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Of all the episodes of Millennium that deal with the supernatural, this one is undoubtedly the best. In this episode, Lucy Butler, who had appeared on the series before, is back, this time, she wants to destroy a politicians family and as most absurd as this may seem she wants to have a child with Frank Black. In Millennium there are no monsters, creatures or aliens like on The X-files. In this series, the monster is the monster within each man, the inner evil. That's not the case in this episode, as in any other Lucy Butler episode. Lucy Butler is evil, literally, she is a demon with shape shifting abilities who wants to corrupt Frank at all cost.

In an unforgettable scene of this episode, Frank is sleeping in a hotel room, suddenly he awakes and finds himself having sexual intercourse with Lucy Butler, when he realizes what's happening, he tries to stop it, that's when Lucy's face becomes a face of a demon. He wakes up as if everything had been a dream, later on, he discovers that Lucy is carrying his child. Near the end of the episode, Frank runs down with his car what appeared to be a man, but was actually, Lucy Butler, when he and agent Hollis get out of the car, Agent Hollis asks him if Lucy is dead, he replies saying: " she is not, she never will be", consequently, she loses the "child". In the end of the episode Lucy threatens Frank's daughter, Jordan, but as Frank had said before, she can corrupt men, but not innocents.

This is a wonderful episode of Millennium written by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz,there are very good moments on this episode, like the appearance of a devilish attorney, representing Lucy Butler" the devil's advocate" Mark Snow's score seem even better than usual, Thomas J. Wright does an excellent job directing, just like Rob Bowman and Kim Manners on The X-files, and Sarah Jane-Redmond's portrayal of Lucy Butler is just awesome. This is one of the best episodes of the series, it may not be the best, but it's definitely the coolest.
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Millennium: Borrowed Time (I) (1999)
Season 3, Episode 10
One of the most emotional episodes of Millennium.
24 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In this episode, Frank( Lance Henriksen) establishes a connection between his seven year old daughter Jordan( Brittany Tiplady)becoming seriously ill and a series of unexplained deaths, people who drowned with no water nearby. Frank discovers that his daughter had been living on borrowed time, and that now, was her time to die, so that others could live. A mysterious man who was near all the other victims during the time of their deaths, dies in Jordan's place. It turns out that this man had the supernatural power to claim lives, and at the end he spared Jordan's, who has a full recovery.

This is, in my opinion, one of the most emotional episodes of Millennium, we see Frank's desperation while his daughter's life hangs in the balance, in one scene, while Jordan is having a sort of seizure, Frank talks to God, and begs Him to spare his daughter's life. That, in my opinion, is one of the most moving moments of the entire series. Other than that, there's the supernatural element that appears in some episodes of the series, just like on The X-files, only in a less explicit way. Henriksen develops a great performance, the direction and the music are also great, and especially, the writing. This is, in my opinion, one of the best episodes of Millennium written by Chip Johannessen. If you enjoy this show, you should watch this episode, if you haven't already. This is definitively one of my favorites.
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Millennium (I) (1996–1999)
Chris Carter does it again.
23 November 2009
When Millennium first aired on television, I was 12 years old and a huge fan of The X-files. I didn't pay much attention to the series, I guess, because in a way, the series was different from The X-files. Recently I re-watched most of the episodes on cable TV for the first time in 10 years, and it caught my attention in a way that it hadn't before.

I can say that I re-discovered Millennium. It is undoubtedly a wonderful show, comparable to The X-files. The writing is superb, especially on season 2,my favorite season, the acting is great, the characters are totally likable, Mark Snow's score is wonderful as always. I think James Wong and Glen Morgan did a terrific job on season 2, with memorable episodes, such as: "The beginning and the end", "Monster", "The curse of Frank Black", "Midnight of the century", "The time is now", among others. And season 3 also has it's memorable episodes, such as: "Borrowed time" and "Antipas".

I think it's sad the show only lasted 3 seasons, in my opinion The X-files should have ended earlier, maybe on season 7, but Millennium had the potential to go on, I believe the series ended prematurely. Chris Carter created a masterpiece with The X-files, and he did it again with Millennium, creating another unique series on the history of TV, and a classic, no question about that.
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