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Hocus Pocus (1993)
Good moral lessons
This film is not only entertaining, but contains some really good moral stuff for those who look for it. First of all, Max being a virgin and having the ability to therefore bring back the witches is a very nice twist on the old tale of it always being a girl. His admitting to this, also says something to the youth of the country, that it's no "shame" to be a virgin while a teen.
Also, Max being willing to sacrifice himself for his sister says a lot for family values and sibling love and was quite nicely done. All in all, the character is written quite heroically and I found that refreshing.
Performances in the film were far above average and it's the perfect Halloweeen movie. Enjoy.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996)
Way, way ahead of its time
Being the intellectual TV snob that I am, I always maintained that any show with the name Buffy, the Vampire Slayer must be total crap, not worthy of anyone's time and certainly far below me. Then one New Year's Day it was starting over from the first episode on FX and I decided to tune in just to see what it was like. By the end of the first episode I was hopelessly hooked and have been a huge fan every since. I have long since repented my snobby mistake.
Buffy had some of the most original and witty plot lines ever seen on TV and a cast that never let you down. The writers were extremely educated people who made use of all sorts of different mythologies and literary references are rife throughout the series. I even made up a tape of literary allusions from my taped video copies to show to my students to demonstrate the concept. I also shows Innocence to my seniors studying Dracula to contrast and compare vampires in modern day literature.
It may not have had the highest ratings, it may be gone for the last seven years and maybe some people think Buffy had an annoying voice, but I always thought it was true to the idea of teenage angst and early adulthood and I adored Sarah Michelle in her role. Nothing on TV now even comes close to the intelligence of this show.
Mary Poppins (1964)
So says Sir Anthony Hopkins
Everyone on this board has already lauded the many splendors of this movie, so that would be a waste of time. But I wanted to add this one comment since so many people were dissing Dick Van Dyke's accent--admittedly not authentic. Once years ago, I was watching some program and Anthony Hopkins was on, talking about acting. He cited Van Dyke's performance in Mary Poppins as an example of someone who could do almost anything superbly. He said, who cares about the accent when you can sing, dance and act like that? If someone like Hopkins who is one of the greatest actors of our time can see past the one teensy flaw in this multi-talented man's performance--for which I've always held he should have been nominated for an Oscar--how about the rest of us stopping obsessing over it? Few performers have such magnificent body movement as Van Dyke who is constantly engaged. And let's not forget he played the elder Mr. Dawes and even the children in the film with him didn't know who he was. Bravo, Dick! You can murder an accent for me any day!
Angels & Demons (2009)
If you want the book. . . go read it
It was only after seeing the film that I realized exactly how much had been changed or left out of the film and the odd thing is, I didn't miss it at all. While the book is richer and has much more character detail, that's the way books are. As a film, a fast-paced entertaining colorful story, this does very well. Let's face it, some of what Dan Brown writes is really implausible. I mean, did anyone really believe that Langdon could jump out of a helicopter with only a small sheet as a parachute and actually survive? And I was rather glad that the silly, rather precious sub plot of the Camerlengo being the biological son of the late pope, conceived without a sex act was gone. That was kind of embarrassing in its unbelievability. Tom Hanks is rapidly growing into the role Gregory Peck once occupied--when we see him, we trust him because he's Tom Hanks. The cast was interesting in its international flavor and the CGI used to round out the places they weren't allowed to really shoot in was excellent. You have to take Dan Brown novels for what they are--wild rides to nowhere, but you love getting to the destination. Just don't think about it too much. As a film, this was pretty decent since the book they were adapting was a difficult plot line that contained many, many deviations from the main. I say, just sit back and enjoy. Don't forget the popcorn. This film was made for it.
My Sister's Keeper (2009)
Could have caught it on Lifetime
I read the book last summer and can only describe the end as a sucker punch to the gut. While it seemed contrived, the author was doing it to make a point. That point was totally lost in this really dumb adaptation of the novel into film.
Honestly, this could have been a Lifetime movie since we've seen movies about kids dying many times. So, what is new? Only the issue of having a designer child for spare parts, and this issue was not really addressed as much as was needed in order to save this effort. Instead we were treated to many more scenes with kate and her struggle with cancer, again, things we've seen before. The Point of View in the movie kept changing and while this will work in a book, it's difficult to make it work on film.
Hated the ending, which was the all time Hollywood cop out. By all means, let's go for cliché. People who said they cried must have wanted to cry very badly. Had they kept the end of the book, I predict they would have been sobbing out loud.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
A surprising class winner
I decided to show this film to my critical viewing class in the unit that deals with social changes and gender roles. I was a little apprehensive because it's a small film, with almost all dialogue and this goes against the grain of what these kids are used to. But since I'd always wanted to show a Meryl Streep film as well, it seemed like a good risk.
To my complete amazement, the class LOVED it! It was only later during discussion that I realized they could relate to it because of the divorce and how it effects kids. So many of them had similar situations, including the kid who shared that his mother hadn't wanted him either, and that's why he lived with his dad (gulp!). Nobody complained that there were no special effects or violence--they were totally into the story.
One unexpected side effect--they loathed Meryl Streep. Of course, it was the character they were reacting to, but it was very surprising that they were so emotionally invested they really had trouble separating the actress from her performance. I found out that most of them didn't really know her work--except for the Devil Wears Prada--and felt vaguely guilty that I'd turned off a generation to this magnificent actress. So I slipped in an extra film for fun and showed The River Wild. I wanted them to see her in a more heroic vein. Most of them liked the film very much and were able to comment on the broad contrast.
Sometimes teens really surprise you. I really thought they might hate it. Instead, it's a definite film for next year.
How about metaphor?
I agree that one should not trivialize the Holocaust as some are saying and even some rabbis who dissed the book. But cannot you realize that this film, while maybe fudging some accuracies, has delivered a powerful punch that illustrates the horror behind the whole master race thing?? I wasn't expecting the ending until the very last ten minutes and then I was appalled. I noticed the comment on here from someone who took issue with the fact that Bruno's mother was weeping for her lost child and asked what about the millions of Jewish parents who wept for their children? Hey, that was the whole point! Can't you see the parallel? It was also very unique to see this event through the eyes of a child and to see a typical German family and how they responded to the events. Not all in sympathy. I agree that we must never forget the "monsters" who perpetrated the Holocaust. But I've always been more intrigued by the "good" people who went along and wondered about what was going on in their heads at the time. Coming from a German/A,American background, it's a very personal question. How did they cope? I don't think this film could fail to awaken anyone to the misery and horror of the Holocaust. If people want complete accuracy, they can view the films taken of the camps after they were liberated.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
Meryl Streep simply cannot be mortal
How can anyone do Mama Mia! and Doubt in the same year and be so utterly convincing in each??? I am convinced that Streep is really some sort of goddess sent here to show us what acting is all about.
This movie is rather cheesy, but I find myself watching it again and again. I guess it's what everyone mostly feels, but it is such a fun romp. Watching Streep play this role is a dazzling journey and the rest of the cast is wonderful, too. The music is bouncy and fun and it's just a good time. Sometimes you need that, instead of something serious and cerebral.
And I will confess, the first time through I didn't know that was Julie Walters until the credits rolled and then I shouted, "Mrs. Weasely??!" I had to run the DVD back to see that last number. She was so into her different persona that she fooled me completely.
Meryl Streep . . . perhaps the greatest actress of the 20th century. And she's still going strong in the 21st.
Gran Torino (2008)
It's hard to believe that Eastwood is almost 80 and still going this strong. I really enjoyed the subtle nuances of this movie and while it was a little predictable--I knew half an hour in that Eastwood would die and leave the car to the kid--I didn't anticipate the way it would end or Walt's final act, which was really great. Much has been made of the racist comments of this character, but I would pose the attitude that it is less important how you talk, than it is how you act. Walt may talk racist, but he's inherently not when it comes to judging people by their essence, as is shown by his championing of the Hmung family that he comes to know. I would also like to take issue with someone on this board who said it was unrealistic for Walt to suddenly stop to fix a rocking washing machine for the family he hardly knew. Actually, this is exactly what my father would have done, a man very similar in style and attitudes to WAlt Kowalski. It was like a compulsion for men of this generation--if they came across something broken, they would fix it. That was what being a man was all about in this generation. It's incredible to think this film was so overlooked at the Oscars. But maybe that's because there was actually very little violence and too much thought provoking action. Bravo to Eastwood for giving us a film about ideas and not just automatic weapons.
Is the writer on drugs?
This novel of Christie's is one of my favorites for its charm, it's wonderful characters of Frankie and Bobby and it's immensely witty plot. It was wonderfully adapted already into a magnificently faithful version which had superb costumes, but the way. This mishmosh bore no resemblance to the novel and was poorly acted as well. Why would any writer think they could take an Agatha Christie title and then just change it around into something better? When Perfection has been reached, there is no where else to go. If the writer is such a great writer, let him write his own mystery story.
Please, please stop making these awful, embarrassing adaptations and leave Agatha intact before someone who doesn't read her books tunes in and thinks this is really her work. They will wonder why her reputation has lasted nearly 100 years.
Travesty, Perversion and plain waste of time
There are two things writers for TV should never rewrite--Shakespeare and Agatha Christie. Both are too classic and are sure to annoy purist fans. Secondly, Agatha needs no rewriting, because she can still cut it on her own. Her books don't need updating to entertain even young viewers.
As a project for my honors senior British Lit this year each of them had to pick a different Christie novel to read and analyze. After doing research on Agatha's life, they had questions to answer about the time period, the slang, the customs of the society, etc. Since even her most recent novels predate these kids by forty years, they all seem old to them and they just accepted that as a given. To my delight, not one kid reported being bored with the novel they picked. Some were frankly incredulous as the way the novel had drawn them in and at the ingenious plotting techniques the author used. They also gained tremendously from having to "decipher" some of the British references and putting them into context. One of the things they had to identify were historical references to events, things or persons. To my astonishment--I'd never picked up on this--one of my students realized that the plot point upon which Mrs. McGinty's Dead turns is archaic--no one writes letters using fountain pens anymore, therefore Mrs. McGinty buying a bottle of ink was something this student definitely found an interesting piece of history. This was only one incident in a unit that brought many interesting pieces of information to their attention and the parallels they found between Agatha's life and the books was masterly.
These kids were raised on computers and action films. If they can find a read through a richly plotted Agatha Christie novel fun and challenging, then surely Masterpiece Theatre can show the Queen of Crime some respect and stop eviscerating her work. I will not watch these horrible adaptations. They make me too angry.
If I want to see Miss Marple, I'll rent something with Joan Hickson which adheres to the original.
Picket Fences (1992)
David Kelley's Masterpiece
I was an addicted Picket Fences fan while it was playing on TV. The first three seasons were so atypical of television that it redeemed the rest of the garbage shown. Season Four suffered terribly at Kelley's absence, but it still had some good episodes. I recently purchased Season 1 on DVD and realized it had been two years since it had been released? Where's the rest of them? Why is every schlock TV series on DVD and not this? I've read it has to do with music rights and disputes over that. Actually, if you really want to, you can purchase all four seasons from various sites. The DVD discs are video transfer and the quality looks like video transfer, but if you really crave the series it will assuage your yearning until something better comes out. There are two episodes missing from season 3 and the first disc of Season 4 had a lot of break up interference, but the rest of season 4 was almost DVD quality and was captioned to boot. Superlative acting, exceptional writing, thought provoking and a haunting theme music. Picket Fences fans, unite!
Who Needs CGI?
Certainly not Mr. Disney. I loved this film as a child and today saw it for the first time in maybe 25 years. I was astonished at how good the special effects were. The Little People were totally believable! The DVD had a wonderful making of which explained the forced perspective technique and showed exactly how it was done. It also finally cleared up any confusion on how matte painting is used and from a technical viewpoint, this film is remarkable. Disney always went the extra mile. That's why he was such a master of film making. I was also delighted with the accents and the use of real Gaelic terms and Irish expressions and could only wonder if they had confused me as a child until I read that this movie had had two soundtracks and one had been dubbed on after the accents were deemed too difficult for American audiences. Fortunately, the original is on the DVD. With captioning, it's not hard to follow at all. And how Disney, to have a rider where he "thanks" the leprechauns for helping him make this picture! Of course, the looked so real, you could actually believe it.
Marley & Me (2008)
Rushed home to my own doggies
This isn't just a film about a wild and untrained dog who does silly gags that we've seen before. This is a movie about the cycle of life and how life if often not what we expect. Through the introduction of the dog, Marley, we see how the characters grow and adapt and finally we see exactly how unimportant all those things we thought were so crucial really are.
I admit at the end I was stuffing my mouth with tissues to muffle the outright sobs for fear I would disturb the other patrons. It was a beautiful and realistic portrayal of what owning a pet means and how even at the end of a beloved pet's life, life can still triumph. I'm so glad they didn't fudge that scene. I don't have children, but it occurred to me it would be a wonderful film to teach children about death by allowing them to see the natural progression as Marley slowly closes his eyes while his master tells him 'You're a great dog." Then I came home and played a game of ball with my Irish Setter and gave extra cookies to my half lab who looked so much like Marley. He is very old now and will soon come to that point where he won't want to continue on. This film is a great comfort to people who must make that decision which is what every responsible pet owner must eventually do.
This was really a very fine film that wasn't just a fluff dog movie.
Brilliant use of CGI
This is a perfect example of how CGI, a technique that today is often overused just to impress, can actually enhance a story. I really enjoyed the film, but what made it for me was the visual effects. I had to keep reminding myself that Pip was a CGI creation and not a real chipmunk--he looked so real. And it was only after the movie was over that I realized ditto for the dragon at the end. By that time I had completely suspended my disbelief and simply thought, hey, a dragon. It was also nostalgic to see the older Disney animation at the beginning, which at first was a shock, being used to the more sophisticated methods of today. While the story is predictable, that does not detract from the humor or the enjoyment of this piece. And did I mention that the CGI was great?
and then there was nothing!
I have been reading Christie since I smuggled a copy of After the Funeral into my 8th grade class because I couldn't wait to see how it ended and read it behind my science book. It ruined me for Nancy Drew. Ever since, I've adored her books, have read them over and over and am a fanatical devotee to her characters and style. I happen to really like Murder at Sittaford and was delighted to find that it was now a film.
Except it isn't. This piece of tripe bears no resemblance to the original novel at all! Not only are characters juxtaposed and deleted, the whole plot is different. I can't believe that English people would actually change the plots of their greatest mystery writer Agatha Christie and not blush with shame. I was actually incredulous and kept waiting for them to get back on track, never believing that anyone would have the temerity to rewrite Agatha. I mean, really, who has that kind of gall? I guess a lot of people. Apparently from reading these comments this has been done to other versions, which I hopefully will never see.
And sorry, but there is only one Jane Marple for me, Joan Hickson. Not only were those well done and faithful to the incomparable plots, but Miss Hickson was perfection. Skip this travesty of a film and read the book.
Ace of Hearts (2008)
Corny, but I cried
I have to admit that any film that features a dog runs the risk of turning me into a water works, because nothing gets me like dogs. I ordered this movie from On Demand because of the dog plot line and while it is a little corny and lacking in logical elements, I have to admit I enjoyed it. And anyway, it was all worth it for the great moment when Ace comes running across the yard, breaks through the glass door and takes down the bad guy. I was cheering, which woke up my two pooches who then barked till the end of movie.
It did seem like they went to put the dog down rather fast. I think that you would be required to have a hearing or something first. At least, I hope so for the sake of all those canine doggies who risk their lives to help people. And while German Shepherds aren't my favorite breed, Ace was adorable.
Watch it for the fun.
Double Indemnity (1944)
Honeysuckle and murder
I teach critical viewing of film in high school and since this is the best film noir ever made, I showed it in the fall of 2005 to my classes, only to be met with universal hatred and scorn. Nothing about the film pleased and I was rather disheartened. Later in the year, however, several kids said that they think they probably couldn't appreciate it that early in the course and suggested that I save it for later in the year.
So, I showed it in spring of 2007 and got a completely different reaction! The kids loved it and several were rather bowled over by the use of light and shadow and how it contributed to the over-all tone of the film. I also had by this time a really good documentary to show with it that gave good insights into the making of the film which I think helped as well.
Anyway, my hope in the ultimate taste of the adolescent restored, this film will remain a late entry in my syllabus.
The Catered Affair (1956)
Could be my relatives!
In a world where weddings have gotten out of control, this film shines like a diamond. The people here are so real to me, they are so typical of the working class Irish of the time that I felt immediately close to them. Some has been made of the lack of communication between them, but these sort of people never talked about their feelings. Which is why the acting is outstanding, because they had to convey with a look or glance a whole range of emotions.
Bette Davis is brilliant and Ernest Borgnine is outstanding. Watching his horror as the cost of the wedding mounts up, I wanted to clutch my own checkbook. While the prices seem small to us today, back then, it was a lot of money for that class of people. Debby Reynolds is wonderful and I only regret she didn't go on to do more drama. She was completely at home in it.
I never fail to cry at the end. As two people who have lived together for years come to value each other and begin again. It's a wonderful message--hey, it's not the sort of wedding you have; it's what you bring to the marriage after the guests leave. In our age, we seem to have forgotten this.
Casino Royale (2006)
Sean and Timothy--you still rock!
I love James Bond. I have read all of Fleming's novels. The best thing about this Casino Royale was the fact that they released all the old films on DVD in collector's format. And just for the record, it really isn't based on the book, Casino Royale.
Sure, there are plot points. The torture scene, the romance with Vesper, the infamous line 'the bitch is dead', which is a wonderful end to the book, so why not end the movie there as well? But Vesper's character has been truncated. In the book she is also an agent and has been passing information for years to save her lover's life. She has far more depth and far more culpability in the book.
Baccarat is the game played in the book, not poker, which just doesn't have the same glamor factor. And what if none of us know how to play baccarat? They could have found a way to make it comprehensible. The whole casino scene just lost it for me there. It seemed more like Atlantic City, rather than Monte Carlo.
And okay, get rid of the cheesy gadgets, but install a heart defibrillator in the car instead on the off chance that someone might poison him with a heart drug!!?? Oh, yeah, this works for me. Is this any less believable than the oil slicks or ejector seats or--it's been knocked so much on this website--Peirce's invisible car? And by the way, that little incident isn't in the book.
And what can I say about Daniel? He has no physical attraction, no charisma and quite frankly, being a tortured soul doesn't mean you have to act like a block of wood. If you want to look for a Bond who is better and true to Fleming's character, go to DAlton. He was great and very much like the Bond of the books.
I missed the humor, although I will say, it had a rather good script.
I found that guy's eye problem annoying, not very necessary to the plot and it made his villain seem weak. What was the point, anyway? It was better than the worst of the Bond pictures--Moonraker, for example--, but it certainly wasn't the best ever.
Thank you, Chris Columbus
I never saw Rent onstage, but as a teacher of high school students was well aware of the complete fanatical devotion to this piece of theatre that was almost universal. My critical viewing classes expressed interest in seeing it when we did movie musicals, so I decided to screen it as a possible candidate.
My background is musical theatre and I am well aware of the difficulty in transferring a stage show like this to film, with all the inherent unbelievability that might occur. But I have to say that his film moved me, excited me, inspired me and certainly made me realize why it is so appealing to the younger audiences.
I think that Columbus is so underrated as a director. The choices he made in bringing this to the screen--no the least of which is casting the original actors when possible--show a real feel for the material and a respect for the intent. Who cares that they are not the right age? You simply don't care because you become involved with their stories. He also makes the whole situation, bursting into song seem completely normal and if you can't accept it, maybe musicals just aren't your thing. I thought it was visually exciting as well, but he also knows how to just let the camera roll so we get continuous takes which let the action unfold.
Why are so many people dissing this film and his direction? What does Chris Columbus have to do to prove he's a good director? His Harry Potter movies were blockbusters, but he's criticized for sticking too close to the books. Home Alone was a blockbuster, but it's not taken seriously because it's just a fun film. The truth is this director knows how to involve his audience in stories, which is a wonderful gift. I also think whatever he toned down to get his PG-13 rating was probably the right decision. This is a film that young people should see. It still has plenty of grit and seaminess and whoever calls it dated--excuse me, are people not dying of AIDS anymore? Is drug use over? Do people of different sexual orientations now have complete acceptance? No? Well, then, I guess it's not that dated after all.
In conclusion, I must say that even though I loved the film, the music, the story and everything about it, there is a generational gap, because I couldn't help thinking, "why don't you guys get a job, a mortgage, etc?" That's why this film is so much a symbol of the youth, of any era. It articulates their voice.,
If only we thought of Bahgdad like this now!
I first saw this movie as a child when it ran every night for a week (and extras on the weekend) on something called Million Dollar MOvie that used to show the same film all week. I watched it over and over until I had the script practically memorized. I was fascinated by the location, the exotic story, the love interest and the gorgeous costumes, even though I originally only saw it in black and white.
Years later, I saw it in color, as a full grown adult and realized that this movie is one that can take me instantly back to my childhood, into a wonderful world of a fantastic story that still holds my interest today. With the eyes of the adult, I can see that it's sort of a "B" picture, but it does have really nice production values. Maria Montez is breathtakingly lovely and I adore the fact that she's so tall and statuesque. No skinny little model type, but a real womanly presence. Jon Hall is the perfect leading man. Actually the dialog is rather good, a sort of stylized script that lends itself very well to the story. There is a glaring anachronism in it, which just shows that Hollywood wasn't too concerned with accuracy back then. All the talk of Allah, and they bury Old Babba under a cross! In our world today, when there is so much hatred between the western word and the Muslim countries, it's rather wistful to realize that these characters were all Muslims, even if that word wasn't mentioned. They do refer to Ramadan and Allah and to realize that the country involved is Iraq does give one pause. Isn't it a shame that this lovely ancient world has such an unfortunate connotation today? This movie, for all its flaws, shows the Muslim world in a very good light.
I so wish it was available on DVD. I would buy it, if for no other reason than it's one of my childhood films. And besides, I still can practically recite the script!
Superman Returns (2006)
Can't hold a candle . . . . . .
The remake of the Omen and Superman Returns both came out in the same month. They were both remakes of Richard Donner hits. I felt sorry for him at the time, wondering if he was questioning his purpose in life. But having seen both of these recents, I can relax. If anything Donner should be laughing his butt off at the inane film makers who produced these two clinkers.
Superman Returns has a terribly weak script which never allows for character development. Brenden Routh simply isn't Chris Reeve--he has no personality and unfortunately, not half the witty lines from the original to work with. Kate Bosworth is blah, blah, blah. I remember so clearly wondering why Margot Kidder was the Lois back in the original since I didn't think she was pretty enough to be Lois Lane. I should bite my tongue. Kidder was lively, feisty, and played a wonderful part. I suppose I've matured in my thinking since then. Unfortunately, Hollywood hasn't. They still think two young, fairly attractive people adds up to box office. Hey, guys, they should be able to act, too.
The pacing is deadly and it simply plods along from one mish mosh to another. I also figured out the first time I saw him who the kid really was. This was a really lame plot point. There were better ways to make it work. No wonder Lois was so bitter--poor thing, she was acting just like any other woman who was jilted. How boring.
Please, please no more remakes. If directors and producers can't achieve the brilliance of the original, leave it alone. These sad remakes expose your lack of creativity all too cruelly.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
Sink the remake!
I showed this film to my critical viewing class to introduce a unit on special effects. I wanted to show them how it used to be done--with sweat, guts and imagination. The extras on the DVD provide a wonderful teaching experience and explain many of the stunts. The kids really liked the film. They laughed at Stella Stevens outrageous lines, thought Shelley Winters was annoying until she died saving the whole group and then they got very quiet, and thought that the characters in general were memorable. My lone freshman in the class said it was better than the remake because he felt he got to know the the people more. One thing was mentioned--why were there no fish swimming around in all that ocean water? I guess this comes from showing older films to kids today who look for extreme realism! But all in all, it was a very successful film with today's teens and its a tribute to the film makers of old.
where are the mini series of yesteryear?
I can remember watching this the first time it ran on TV. After Close Encounters and ET, it was almost refreshing to see aliens who were evil and bent on taking over the planet. I was impressed with the of the piece, the allusions to Nazi Germany and the idea of how everyone would react to such a takover.
Now, over 23 years later, I watch this series and want to weep for the lack of good, original programming that we have now. For all it's faults, it's slightly melodramatic tone, etc, this mini series was such a superior piece of television that that alone overshadows any flaws one might want to nitpick. The characters--and there are many--are all given good backstories and we care about them. The scope of what this series did was phenomenal, with both production design and story.
Many people have said the sequel was not as good, and it's true that it abandoned any undertones of significance for a more linear story, but it did give a good wrap up. I loved the idea that we could defeat the aliens by using biology and not super weapons. While stealing straight from H G Wells, it was a wonderful ending that made logical sense. I just wish Elizabeth had saved the world the way she did in the book, by using the computer, instead of the mystical rays emitted from her body. This didn't get explained and was a reach, but it can be forgiven in view of the other strong points.
Just to point out, this series came out the same year as the Thorn Birds. It makes you ask, what has happened to television? Does no one want to take risks anymore?