Friday, September 30, 2011


Below is my ranking of the three movies based upon the Jason Bourne trilogy written by novelist Robert Ludlum. All three movies starred Matt Damon as the amnesiac CIA assassin trying to discover his real identity. Doug Liman directed the first film and Paul Greengrass directed the second and third films:


1. "The Bourne Supremacy" (2004) - This movie introduced director Paul Greengrass to the Bourne franchise. Yes, the shaky-cam photography was introduced in this film. But I am willing to overlook it, due to the story's tight and well-written story that raised the emotion to a level that made this film an absolute gem for me. It also featured - in my opinion - two of the most emotionally satisfying scenes in the entire franchise.

2. "The Bourne Identity" (2002) - The only one directed by Doug Liman, this movie is probably the closest adaptation of any of Robert Ludlum's Bourne novels. And it also featured one of the best action sequences near the end of the film. However, three-fourths into the story, the movie's pacing threatened to bog down and nearly put me to sleep. But it is still a great introduction to the cinematic Bourne saga.

3. "The Bourne Ultimatum" (2007) - This 2007 movie is now considered to be the best of the Bourne movies. Do not get me wrong. I enjoyed it very much. But the movie had obvious plot holes that made me regard it in a lesser light than the previous two movies. And the shaky-cam photography seemed to be at its worse. Still, it is pretty damn good.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"PERSUASION" (1971) Screencaps Gallery


Below are screencaps from "PERSUASION", the 1971 BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's 1818 novel. Produced and directed by Howard Baker, and adapted by Julian Mitchell; the miniseries starred Ann Firbank and Bryan Marshall: 

"PERSUASION" (1971) Screencaps Gallery

























Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"The Half-Blood Demon" [PG-13] - 3/7



Harry glanced at the selection of dishes spread out on the long table for the McNeills' weekly Sunday brunch. Since he could not choose between the Crab Quiche and the Eggs Mornay, he decided to select both. Using a spatula, he lifted a slice of quiche and placed it on his plate.

"My, we are hungry, this morning. Aren't we?" a low, feminine voice commented. Harry peered to his left and found Paige standing next to him.

"Yes, I am." Harry scooped a ladleful of eggs onto his plate. "Would you care for some Eggs Mornay? No one makes it better than Bruce."

Paige glanced at her plate, which seemed to be filled with plenty of food. "Thanks anyway," she said. "I have enough."

"I just realized that it's been a while since we've laid eyes upon each other," Harry continued. "At least . . . what? Two weeks? Three?"

A sigh left Paige's mouth. "Less than three weeks. I guess I've been avoiding most of you, since Phoebe and Cole . . . well, you know."

"Dating? Does it bother you to say the word?" Harry waited, while the family's manservant poured him a glass of orange juice. He thanked Davies, before returning his attention to the youngest Charmed One. "By the way, how are they? Cole and Phoebe? And the rest of your family?"

Paige quickly murmured, "Fine. Where's Olivia?"

"She's in Monterey for the weekend." Harry added, "If you're fine, why do you look so tense?"

After receiving her glass of juice from Davies, Paige followed Harry to a table set up for the family and their guests. Barbara, Gweneth and the latter's old friend, Carla Bianchi, already occupied seats. "What do mean, I look tense?" Paige demanded. "Why are you always making some kind of comment about my emotional state? I'm perfectly fine."

Harry scooped a forkful of eggs. "I don't always comment on your emotional state."

"You once told me that I was paranoid. During that time Paul Margolin had cast that spell over Olivia." Smirking slightly, Paige added, "And I was right."

Dumping the eggs back on his plate, Harry sighed. "Okay. I was wrong. You were right. Sue me. Besides, you are acting rather tense right now. You should see the expression on your face. Let alone read your body langu . . ."

"Hey, I'm fine! Okay? Seriously." Looking slightly annoyed, the Charmed One began to eat.

Gweneth peered at the two younger witches. "Is there something going on between you two?"

"Sorry Mom," Harry answered. "Just a small discussion about . . . something." He popped the eggs into his mouth.

Paige shot him a resentful glare. "I am not feeling tense. And we were talking about . . . nothing. Okay?"

Barbara frowned. "You're feeling tense? About what?"

Swallowing his eggs, Harry said, "All I did was comment that Paige seemed tense, today. I think she has something on her mind."

"What are you . . . reading my mind, or something?" Paige retorted.

The redhead shot a contemptuous glare at his table companion. "If I was, I would now know what's bothering you."

"How do you know I'm bo . . ." Paige immediately broke off.

"Oh ho! So I was right!" Harry smiled. "The emotion is rolling off from you, sweetheart."

Gweneth added, "He's right, Paige. You do seem troubled. Are you uncomfortable, because Cole is back . . .?

"Cole plans to get rid of his powers!" Paige's curt announcement nearly caused Harry to choke on his juice. He stared at her in shock.

Barbara shook her head in disbelief. "Say that again? Did you just say . . .?"

Paige heaved a sigh. Long and hard. "Cole plans to strip his powers, so he can become a mortal. Phoebe talked him into it."

"My God! Is he out of his bloody mind?" Gweneth's voice rang across the garden. Bruce, Jack and Uncle Wei joined them at the table. "Why on earth would he want to do something so incredibly stupid?"

A sardonic Paige added, "That's what I said, when Cole and Phoebe first told us."

"Told you what?" Harry's father asked.

Gweneth quickly told him about Cole's plans. Listening to the earth-shattering news for the third time, Harry still found it hard to believe. "What the hell?" Jack's voice expressed shock. "Is he insane? My God! I've warned him about that! What the hell is he thinking?"

"Did you say that Phoebe talked him into it?" an equally stunned Bruce added. "Does Marbus know?"

A snort escaped from Harry's mouth. Everyone stared at him. "Marbus? Can you imagine how Olivia will react when she finds out?"


Olivia faced a tall, thin man with a long face, swarthy complexion and expressive eyes, inside the living room of an expensive beach house in Monterey. The man's name happened to be Alexis Kostopulos and he seemed relieved by her news that his father's murderer had been captured. But he did not seem particularly upset that the rare medallion that had led to Stefan Kostopulos' death, had not been recovered.

"Quite frankly, I'm glad that you've never recovered it," Kostopulos said to Olivia. "When Dad first bought it during a family vacation in Greece . . ." Kostopulos' face paled, as he shook his head. "I don't know. I guess I had bad vibes from the first moment I clapped eyes upon it." Disbelief shone in his dark eyes. "It's hard to believe that Dad and some New York antique dealer had been killed over these medallions."

The redhead murmured, "They were quite rare. Mr. Liederhoff was prepared to sell his medallion to Miss Bryant, but she had decided to hire someone to steal it for her. I gather she considered it a cheaper method to get her hands on it."

Kostopulos frowned. "This Miss Bryant . . . she sounds familiar. About a week before he was killed, someone had contacted Dad about buying the medallion. A woman."

Olivia nodded. "Probably Lin Bryant. She was the one who had hired Gerry Gallagher to rob your father's store. The police had discovered a file in her office that contained information on his store, Gallagher and Mr. Liederhoff."

"So, is this Miss Bryant behind bars?"

Images of a beautiful Eurasian woman being slammed against a bookcase flashed in Olivia's mind. "Uh, not quite. She's dead. Broken neck. We, uh . . . she tried to resist arrest and we ended up in a fight." She sighed. "Needless to say I won."

"So that's the reason behind the bruises on your face," Kostopulos said with a nod. "That must have been some fight." He paused, as his eyes grew even darker. "At least she paid for her actions," he added with quiet savagery.

Olivia did not share her host's satisfaction. She had hoped that Lin Bryant would provide more information on the phony Arthur Winslow and the Magan Corporation. But that would never happen, now that Ms. Byrant's corpse laid inside one of the city's morgues.

Changing the subject, Olivia asked the realtor what he intend to do with his late father's store. Kostopulos leaned back in his chair and sighed. "I don't know. Hire someone to operate the shop. Perhaps sell it. Only I don't know anyone who might be interested in antiquties. Or the occult."

"Oh." Olivia paused, as she summoned the courage to speak her next words. "Um . . . I might be interested."

Kostopulos frowned. "I'm sorry. What did you say?"

In a louder voice, Olivia repeated, "I might be interested. If you don't want to keep the store, I might be interested in taking it off your hands."

"But . . . you're a police officer," Kostopulos began. "What would you know about . . .?"

Olivia interrupted. "Look, I've always been interested in the occult, myself. In fact, I've even studied Mythology in college. And when I saw your dad's shop for the first time . . . well, I guess I found it fascinating."

Kostopulos stared at her. Then a slow smile appeared on his face. "Well, in that case, Inspector, you just might have a deal."


Paige returned home later that afternoon and found her sisters and Cole inside the kitchen. Phoebe and Piper stood behind the counter, surrounded by herbs and other ingredients for a potion. Cole sat in one of the chairs, reading a book. "What the hell is going on?" the youngest Charmed One demanded, as she sat in another chair.

Phoebe glanced up from the herbs laid out on the island counter and shot a mild glare at the younger woman. "What does it look like? We're making a power stripping potion for Cole. And since you won't help . . ."

"Oh my God! Cole? Are you still going through with this crazy plan?"

An unfamiliar voice exclaimed, "I bloody well hope not!" All eyes turned toward the figure standing in the doorway. She was a striking-looking woman who stood at least an inch above Paige, possessed rich auburn hair sprinkled with gray and cut stylishly short. High cheekbones accentuated her delicate face. The woman seemed somewhere between her late forties and mid fifties. She wore a blue pantsuit that highlighted her blue eyes. Eyes that possessed a familiar shade of blue. In a soft Irish lilt, she continued, "Belthazor, I see that you plan to continue this ludicrous scheme of yours."

"Demon!" Piper raised her hands.

Cole shot to his feet. "No! Don't kill her!"

"Huh?" Paige frowned at Cole. "Why not?"

"Because . . ." Cole hesitated.

The woman or demoness finished, "Because I am his mother." The Charmed Ones gasped. Cole's mother coolly greeted he son. "Hello Belthazor. It's good to see you, again. After all these years."

Cole glared at his parent. "Wish I could say the same, Mother, but I'm not in the mood to be polite. What are you doing here?"

"Cole?" Phoebe's voice expressed a touch of anxiety.

Sighing, the half-demon made the introductions. "Uh, Phoebe, Paige, Piper . . . this is my mother, Elizabeth Farrell Turner. Otherwise known as Nimue. Mother, these are the Halliwells. Paige, Piper and . . . Phoebe."

"Oh yes, the famous Charmed Ones." Elizabeth Turner's blue eyes fell upon the variety of herbs on the counter. "Brewing a little potion, are we, ladies?"

A slightly uneasy Piper began to squeeze a bag of fennel. "Uh . . . it's nothing. I'm making . . . making this sauce . . ."

"Please don't lie, Miss Halliwell," Nimue shot back. "You're not very good at it. Besides, I have a good idea what you are preparing."

Cole spoke up. "What are you doing here, Mother? I can only assume that you've seen Marbus."

"You assume correctly," Nimue snapped. "What kind of insanity is this? Stripping away your powers?"

"It's my choice! And it's none of your business!"

Nimue retorted, "Despite the fact that we haven't laid eyes upon each other in over thirty years, you are my son! And I do care about what happens to you! Do you honestly believe that I would stand by and say nothing, while you commit this . . . blunder?"

"Amen to that!" The words came out of Paige's mouth, before she could stop herself. All eyes focused upon her. Paige felt a warm flush creep up her neck. "Sorry," she muttered.

The female demon regarded Paige with admiring eyes. "Why apologize, my dear? It's the first sensible comment I've heard since my arrival."

"Mother . . ."

Phoebe stepped forward, her body trembling. "Look, you may be Cole's mother, but he's a big boy, now. If he no longer wants to be a demon, it's his choice and not yours!"

"Are you saying that Belthazor . . .?"

"His name is Cole!"

Nimue ignored Phoebe and continued, "Belthazor, are you saying that this decision to become a mortal is yours alone? And that no one," she shot a putrid glare at Phoebe, "had to convince you?"

"Yes Mother, it's my decision," Cole retorted. "I'm sorry that I cannot be the 'Big Bad Demon' for you, but I have my own life to lead. Do you understand?"

For what seemed like eternity, the three witches and the two demons regarded each other in silence. Actually, Phoebe and Cole cast hostile eyes at the latter's mother. Piper's eyes seemed to be everywhere, except upon mother and son. And Paige simply regarded the entire scene with great interest.

Nimue heaved an impatient sigh. "I see that any further arguments from me will not deter you from your decision."

Cole sneered. "That's right, Mother. Marbus had sent the wrong person to talk to me."

Ah! Now Paige understood how Cole's mother had found out about his decision to strip his powers. Marbus. The Gimle demon must have been desperate to change his nephew's mind. Especially if he had resorted to contacting Nimue.

Eyes that bore a strong resemblance to Cole's in both color and intensity, stared at the dark-haired human-demon hybrid. "Fine. I see that I am wasting my time." Nimue added in a cold voice, "If you decide to proceed with this folly, don't be surprise when you end up facing the consequences of your actions . . . in a very ugly manner."

Cole's expression hardened. "Is that a threat, Mother?"

The demoness rolled her eyes in contempt. "Please! Don't be silly!" She heaved a mild sigh. "By the way, Belthazor, let's not wait another three or four decades before we meet again. Till the next time." On that note, she shimmered out of the kitchen.

The moment she disappeared, Phoebe went into panic mode. "Oh my God! I can't believe that she came here! Your mother!" She stared at Cole with anxious eyes. "What do you think she's going to do?"

"Do?" Cole frowned. "What can she do? She's done just about everything she can."

Piper rolled her eyes. "Wake up, Cole! Your mother is a powerful and probably a very evil demon! And she didn't seem too pleased about this whole power stripping business."

"She can't do anything!" Cole shot back. "Unless she wants to risk pissing me off."

"Yeah! While you still have your powers! But what will happen once they're gone?"

Cole heaved a sigh. "Then she will have to deal with either you or Marbus. My mother may be a lot of things, but she's not stupid."

Paige noticed that her sisters seemed reluctant to accept Cole's assurances. But what else could they do? Go after the woman? Cole would end up pissed off, all right. But not at his mother. "I'm heading out," she announced, breaking the silence. The others stared at her. "What?"

Piper asked, "Where are you going?"

"To get something to eat for all of us." Paige's eyes scanned the mess on the island counter. "It's obvious that it'll be a while before you have a chance to cook dinner. By that time, we'll be starving."

Phoebe cried out, "Wait a minute!" Paige paused. "Listen, we're having trouble copying the enhancements you made for Cole's power stripping potion. Could you tell us . . .?"

"Sorry Pheebs!" Paige literally sang. "You're on your own. Personally, I agree with Cole's mom. You're all making a big mistake and I won't be a party to it."

Phoebe glared at the younger woman. "Thanks a lot."

"My pleasure," Paige replied with a smile. "Will Chinese be okay with everyone?" The others nodded. "Great! I'll be back real soon." And she escaped from the kitchen as fast as her feet would allow.


In the darkness of one of the bedrooms, inside the Halliwell manor, a lamp post suddenly morphed into a slender figure with brown skin. With great stealth, Zamora made her way toward the young woman asleep on the large bed. She glanced down and smiled.

While Paige Matthews continued to sleep, Zamora chanted a brief spell in a voice low enough to prevent the witch/whitelighter from waking up:

"Separate now, but soon will link, You mind to mine, shall finally sync. My soul is dark and so too shall yours be, Just follow my voice, and so it will be."

When she finished, Zamora's mouth hovered above the Charmed One's exposed ear and relayed a few instructions. Her task done, she smiled once more and teleported out of the room.


Monday, September 26, 2011

"PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: On Stranger Tides" (2011) Review


When the Disney Studios and producer Jerry Bruckheimer had first released news of their intention to make sequels to their 2003 hit movie, "PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: Curse of the Black Pearl", I reacted to the news with a great deal of wariness. In fact, I was against the idea. But after seeing 2006's "Dead Man's Chest" and 2007's "At World's End", my opinion had changed. I ended up enjoying the two movies just as much as I had enjoyed "Curse of the Black Pearl" . . . especially the second film.

About two years after "At World's End" hit the theaters, the Disney people and Bruckheimer had released news of their intention to make a fourth film. Again, I expressed wariness at the idea. I thought the three movies released between 2003 and 2007 made a neat little trilogy. There was no need for a fourth movie. But Disney and Bruckheimer went ahead with their plans and a fourth movie was recently released. But unlike "Dead Man's Chest" and "At World's End", I found it difficult to enjoy "PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: On Stranger Tides".

I cannot say that I disliked the film. There were aspects of it that I genuinely enjoyed. Both Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush were in top form as Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Hector Barbossa. But I noticed something odd about their characters in this movie. For once, Jack did not have a particular goal to attain in this film. In "Curse of the Black Pearl", he was after the Black Pearl. He was after the chest that contained Davy Jones' heart in "Dead Man's Chest" to be used to avoid a debt that he owned. And in "At World's End", he was still after Jones' heart in order to gain the opportunity to become master of the Flying Dutchman and immortality. In this fourth movie, Jack seemed to have become swept up in Blackbeard and the British Crown's agendas. And Barbossa seemed out of place as a privateer for His Majesty King George II and the Royal Navy. There was a scene that featured him eating slices of fruit arranged on a plate. He seemed to be doing his best to project the image of an officer and a gentleman . . . only he looked rather odd. However, both actors gave top notch performances and I could find nothing to complain about.

I could also say the same about the performances of Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane and Stephen Graham as Angelica, Edward "Blackbeard" Teach and a sailor named Scrum, respectively. All three were perfectly cast in their respective roles. Cruz did an excellent job in portraying the complex Angelica, who happened to be the daughter of Blackbeard. Although it is obvious that she is attracted to Jack - a former lover, she seemed to have this . . . need for her father's love that made her into some kind of twisted Daddy's girl wannabe. Unfortunately, McShane's Blackbeard seemed like poor father material. There were times when he conveyed the image of a concerned and loving father. And yet, he proved to be nothing more than an emotional vampire who would easily kill his daughter if she got in the way of his goal - the Fountain of Youth. And I must admit that not only did McShane made a witty and terrifying Blackbeard, he handled his character's twisted relationship with Angelica beautifully. Graham's Scrum almost struck me as a younger version of Jack's old friend, Joshamee Gibbs. And considering that the latter's appearance in this film seemed somewhat limited, it seemed just as well that Graham received more screen time.

There were other aspects of "On Stranger Tides" that I enjoyed. Or should I say, scenes? The mermaids' attacks upon Blackbeard's men and upon the H.M.S. Providence were among the most terrifying scenes I have seen in the franchise since the Kracken's attacks in "Dead Man's Chest". I also enjoyed the scene that featured Jack's mutinous meeting with members of Blackbeard's crew. Personally, I found it very funny and it brought back memories of former characters such as Pintel, Ragetti, Marty and Cotton. Jack's meeting with King George II proved to be somewhat entertaining. And it led to an equally entertaining chase sequence through the streets of mid-18th century London. But my favorite scene featured Jack marooning Angelica on a deserted island, following the death of Blackbeard. The humor not only permeated strongly in their verbal exchange, but also in director Rob Marshall's visual style. And I must admit that I also enjoyed the photography featured in the London scenes and the "island" where the Fountain of Youth was located. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski did justice to the lush Hawaii jungle that served as one of the movie's settings.

So, if I had so much to enjoy about "On Stranger Tides", why did it fail to resonate within me in the end? What went wrong? At least for me? My main problem with the movie is that I felt it tried to repeat many aspects of the first film, "Curse of the Black Pearl". This is odd, considering that "On Stranger Tides" was allegedly inspired by Tim Powers' 1987 novel, "On Stranger Tides". The fourth film did not come off as a remake or anything of such. But there were too many aspects of the first film that seemed to be repeated in "On Stranger Tides". One, Jack's reunion with Angelica in a London tavern almost seemed like a remake of his first meeting with Will Turner in "Curse of the Black Pearl". Scrum almost seemed like a remake of Joshamee Gibbs. This is not surprising, since he had more scenes with Jack that Gibbs and the latter (along with actor Kevin McNally) seemed wasted in the movie. Two of Blackbeard's crew turned out to be zombies (if you can call them that). And they seemed like remakes (physical and otherwise) of Barbossa's first mate from the first film, Bo'sun. More importantly, the romance between missionary Philip Swift and the mermaid Syrena almost seemed like a remake of the Will Turner/Elizabeth Swann romance . . . but without the character developments. If I must be honest, Philip and Syrena's romance nearly put me to sleep on several occasions. I feel sorry for actors Sam Claflin and Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey. They seemed like two decent actors forced to work with a pair of boring and undeveloped characters.

There were other problems I had with "On Stranger Tides". The movie saw the return of Royal Navy officers Theodore Groves (from the first and third film) and Gillette (from the first film). What on earth did Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot did to their roles? Both characters almost seemed lobotomized. Well, Gillette did. Groves seemed to have lost his sense of humor. I recalled that he was a big fan boy of Jack in the first and third films. Yet, when he finally met Jack . . . nothing happened. He was too busy being a rather boring and stiff character. What happened to Jack and Barbossa's own quests for the Fountain of Youth, which was first introduced in "At World's End"? After a few years of failure, the audience is led to believe that Jack simply lost interest. And Barbossa's earlier encounter with Blackbeard and the latter's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge, led to the loss of one leg and the Black Pearl. And how did Barbossa managed to survive the loss of his leg? Apparently, Barbossa had to cut off his leg to free from Blackbeard's enchanted ship lines. So, how did he manage to keep himself from bleeding to death in the ocean? How did he manage to swim to safety with one leg?

And then we come to the mermaids. How did the mermaids manage to destroy Barbossa's ship, the H.M.S. Providence? It was one thing to lure men from small boats or smash said boats. It was another to do the same to a large frigate. I have never heard of such a thing in the mermaid mythology. One last major problem I had with the movie dealt with the presence of the Spanish. Like the British, they were after the Fountain of Youth. Only their leader, known as the Spaniard (portrayed by Óscar Jaenada), called himself destroying the Fountain in the name of his king and the Catholic Church, as some kind of stance against paganism. Worse, he possessed the very chalices that needed to be used to drink the Fountain's water. Yet, he did not bother to smash them, until he was at the Fountain's location. Why? And what in the hell were Elliot and Rossio thinking? Why include such a storyline that proved to be irrelevant, epsecially since Jack was able to use the Fountain's water after its so-called destruction?

I hear that Disney Studios and Bruckheimer are planning a fifth movie. I can understand this decision, considering that "On Stranger Tides" raked up a great deal of profit at the box office. Frankly, I wish they would change their minds. I honestly do not care how much money the movie had made. After watching it, I realized that a fourth movie should not have been made . . . at least from an artistic point of view. It featured too much sloppy writing and characterizations for me to truly enjoy. "On Stranger Tides" might prove to be the first PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movie that I cannot consider as a favorite.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"STAR TREK VOYAGER" Retrospect: (5.21) "Juggernaut"

"STAR TREK VOYAGER" Retrospect: (5.21) "Juggernaut"

When I first saw (5.21) "Juggernaut", I did not like it. Not at all. Who could like an episode in which one of the characters indulges in a temper tantrum throughout the entire story, while stuck in some space vessel leaking from radiation?

Mind you, I had been new to "STAR TREK VOYAGER", when "Juggernaut" first aired. It was the third or fourth episode of the series I had ever seen. After seeing it for a second time, I had revised my opinion of the episode. I still do not consider it as a favorite "VOYAGER" episode of mine. But I thought it was interesting and found myself sympathizing with the main character in this episode – Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres.

In "Juggernaut", Voyager responds to a distress call of a heavily-damaged Malon freighter. Torres, Neelix, Commander Chakotay, and the only two surviving Malons have six hours to stop a Theta-radiation fallout, which will destroy everything within a three light-year radius. The Away-team must clear the radiation, section-by-section, to reach the control room, and along the way they deal with unstable airlocks and the Vihaar, a Malon boogeyman who is more malicious than mythical. As for B’Elanna, she has to deal with an increasing bad temper that seemed to have gripped her.

As one who has spent so many years struggling to keep my temper in check and failing, I understood what B'Elanna was going through. Clearly, she was going through a bad day. It must have been frustrating to hear lectures from everyone about keeping her temper in check. Whenever someone said the same to me, my temper became even more explosive. And I saw the same happening to B'Elanna. Many of Voyager’s crew really did not understand her, did they? Especially Chakotay. It still amazes me that he and B'Elanna had been friends for so many years and he never really understood her. Sometimes I wonder if he ever wanted to try. Of the entire Voyager crew, it seems only Tom Paris and Neelix were capable of soothing her temper. Perhaps that was due to the fact that they seemed to accept B'Elanna as she was and did not try to change her. Janeway wanted her (and just about everyone else) to be the epitome of a Starfleet officer. Tuvok wanted B’Elanna to adapt Vulcan methods of dealing with her temper. Her other best friend Ensign Harry Kim seemed to have accepted her as she was . . . until she lost her temper and he did a fast disappearing act. And I never knew what Chakotay wanted her to be. Perhaps the ultimate Starfleet officer? The perfect Maquis freedom fighter? Completely Human? Who knows, but it seemed quite obvious he was never satisfied with her.

Some critics have complained that "Juggernaut" only showcased B'Elanna at her worst. They also complained that the episode never allowed her to save the day, using her engineering skills. Personally? Who cares??? This episode was about B'Elanna's personal psyche, not her skills as an engineer. Fans already knew that B'Elanna was a good engineer. The series has conveyed scenes of both her and Seven or Harry working on projects together with a great deal of success (and it's about time!). I suppose screenwriters Bryan Fuller, Nick Sagan and Kenneth Biller, along with director Allan Kroeker and the producers had intended this episode to be about B'Elanna's control or lack of control of her temper. Instead, I found myself realizing that very few people on that ship really understand her.

The story struck me as pretty good, although I have some doubts about the pacing. I must admit that I found it odd Voyager would encounter the Malon again (their first encounter happened in the season premiere – (5.01) "Night", especially after using the Borg transwarp conduit in (5.16) "Dark Frontier". Fortunately, the writers brought up that issue by having Voyager’s crew express surprise by the Malons' appearance. The pacing seemed a little off in the episode’s second half. And I could have done without the radiation "monster" lurking within the Malon freighter. It sounded like something right out of "ALIEN". And I would have prefer for B'Elanna to re-enact with the Malon core worker a little more, before she was forced to beat him senseless.

Aside from my few quibbles, I must admit that I have a higher regard for "Juggernaut" than I originally did. Despite some of the pacing and a few misguided plot points, I must commend the screenwriters for creating an interesting character study for the B’Elanna Torres character. And I have to admit that Roxann Dawson did an excellent job in continuing to carry the complexities of her character. Overall, I believe it was a pretty decent episode.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"CONTAGION" (2011) Photo Gallery

Below are images from Steven Soderbergh's new thriller about a pandemic virus called "CONTAGION":

"CONTAGION" (2011) Photo Gallery