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1. Howard the Duck
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2. The War of the Worlds
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3. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
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4. Flash Gordon
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5. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
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6. Independence Day
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7. Plan 9 from Outer Space
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8. Superman II
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9. Queen of Outer Space
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10. Galaxy Quest
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11. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
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12. Quatermass Xperiment
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13. Star Trek - First Contact
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14. Star Trek - Insurrection
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15. The Silencers
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16. I Come in Peace
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17. It Came from Outer Space
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18. The Fifth Element
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19. Dark City
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20. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers

1. Howard the Duck
Director: Willard Huyck
list price: $9.98
our price: $9.98
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Asin: 6300185788
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 222
Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

If you concentrate on the fact that Howard the Duck was a notorious box office dud (still brought up today) and considered one of the worst films of the '80s, it's entirely possible to enjoy this special effects piffle. Howard, played by a special effect puppet, lives on a planet where ducks evolved instead of apes, but one day he's sucked into a vortex and deposited on Earth. There he befriends Beverly Switzler (Lea Thompson), lead singer for the Cherry Bombs, becomes their manager, and, oh yeah, saves the Earth from the Dark Overlords. Jeffrey Jones is the villain and Tim Robbins (!) is there for comic relief. And who can resist the culmination of synthesizer pop, the Howard the Duck theme song, as realized by the Cherry Bombs? A midnight movie that your kids might watch more than you. --Keith Simanton ... Read more

Reviews (96)

5-0 out of 5 stars All Hail Howard the Duck!!!
(...)Howard the Duck is all of this and more. I first saw this movie in theaters and loved it. Lea Thompson and the rest of her band The Cheery Bombs are sexy, and the theme song is real catchy!

The special effects are up to par with the technology at the time, and the comedy is right on the nose. I mean c'mon those Dark Overlords were pretty cool looking. Anyone who claims to hate this movie is obviously an 80's hater. (...) This film defines great 80's cinema and I could never understand the backlash. Many great movies have bombed at the theaters only to become favorite classics (the original Blues Brothers and It's a Wonderful Life come to mind).

(...)I will defend this movie until my dying day. Howard the Duck is a great movie from the greatest decade of the 20th Century. Hail Howard!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars An ILM Late 80's Audition Reel!!
Momma always said, "you learn more from your failures, than you do from your successes." I think Momma has a point. Sometimes failures can point the way to the future. The 80's were a good barometer for that, and no other movie has blazed the trail of failure quite like Willard Huyck colossal miscalculation HOWARD THE DUCK. A movie that is inept and pointless, and yet so full of innovative and yes even breathtaking special effects.

HOWARD THE DUCK tells the story of a duck named Howard (voiced by Chip Zein, and played by a bunch of little people in a duck suit) who lives on a planet much like earth, except Duck's are the top of the food chain. He's a failed rock musician who's finally given up that dream and has settled into the mundane life of an advertising copywriter. On one particular day, he's just gets home from another day of the daily grind, when he's sucked into a giant laser beam and transported to Cleveland, Ohio on our earth. Let the comic hijinks begin...well okay let the less than stellar puns begin.

Howard meets Beverly (Lean Thompson) a struggling rock musician and takes up "roost" in her apartment. After a day or so they fall in love. There's also a young Lab Assistant named Phil (Tim Robbins in a star-making performance) and Dr. Jennings (Jefferey Jones) whom want to help Howard get home, via the giant laser beam that brought him to earth in the first place.

I stop there because the second half of the movie has to do with this wild alien and I'm not quite sure I can do that part of the story any real justice. Suffice to say there's an alien threat and Howard is here to stop it. Actually he kind of runs away from it as the alien menace and the cops try to stop him.

HOWARD THE DUCK is based on a far more interesting and inventive comic book series created by Steve Gerber. This movie and that series have absolutely nothing in common but the name. In fact the movie ruined the comic book series that poor Steve Gerber sued Universal and George Lucas, and then killed off his Duck for a long time. How's that for fair.

Wait a second you say, go back just a minute, did you just say George Lucas? Yes ladies and gentlemen. George Lucas was the executive producer of this film and it shows. His fingerprint is on everything and more importantly Industrial, Lights, and Magic have designed this film as their audition reel. They throw everything into the pot, creature effects, stop motion, animation effects, makeup effects, an elaborate chase sequence (that I'm convinced was shot for shot re-created for the freeway chase in the MATRIX RELOADED, well not really but It's nice to speculate.) involving a small personal aircraft, and all of it is breath taking.

But why? Why did ILM and George Lucas waste all that time and energy? The only thing I can think is that they were doing tests for Lucas's next big project WILLOW.

You're probably now asking why doesn't the film work? The biggest problem is there is absoulty no screenplay. The first 20 minutes of the film fly by, barely allowing the viewer to breathe. The characters have time to meet, time to fight, time to get back together, all before the story begins to take shape. By the time it does it shifts radically into a completely different movie involving giant space creatures.

They started out with a promising idea; it's ET in the city. How does this duck adapt to his surroundings? That should have been the movie. But there's no room for special effects that way. So on comes Act 2, and so many effects shots you shake your head.

I was also a little disgusted by the Human/Duck love scene of course you see nothing, but the implied relationship makes even less sense then the rest of the movie and is really there just to make a silly joke anyway.

This is the key to why this film fails. It doesn't set its tone properly. Every other line is some comic zinger that falls flat because the movie doesn't know whether it's a comedy, or an action picture. There satire, and drama all thrown out there but it goes nowhere.

This effects all the acting as well. The human characters are robbed of any humanity because the script is so disjointed. They overreact to everything and poor Tim Robbins is forced to mug for laughs when the audience already knows that there are none.

The script by director Huyck and his writing partner Gloria Katz is so bad you forget that these are the people who hit just the right beats in their more successful film AMERICAN GRAFFITTI.

The films biggest flaw is that it has no audience. It a tad bit vulgar for little kids, and if you reach the age of 8 you'll be far smarter than this movie is. As for adults there is nothing of substance in the movie for people to grab onto.

But I guess in the end could HOWARD THE DUCK been a good picture? Maybe! There were definitely moments of light in the picture. Moments that seemed unforced. I especially loved the early scenes involving Howard and Beverly. An interesting story could have unfolded. But the films exciting visuals were more important to the bottom line. In fact the bulk of the film contains this huge chase scene involving airplanes, cars, 18-Wheelers and lots of destruction. Sure the scene is cool to look at but it's not worth the Journey.

Stay away from Howard the Duck.

** Out of 5

5-0 out of 5 stars Love this movie
I am 25 years old. I loved this movie as a kid. I watched it over and over again. I just ordered it for my 7 year old son with the hopes that he will like it as much as I did. I is a funny and stupid movie, but well worth it for the kids to watch. I highly recommend this movie for anyone between the ages of 5-13 years old.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cult Classic
Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins, and the always entertaining Jeffrey Jones star in this tale of a duck from an alternate universe
who finds himself transported to Earth and is now trying to get home. Lea Thompson plays the young woman who looks after him,
Tim Robbins plays the janitor who pretends to be a scientist,
and Jeffrey Jones plays a scientist who goes a little crazy.

The funny thing about movies that are ambitious and
flop, Is nobody copies that formula. Sure Die Hard has been copied over and over. Under Siege etc. But Movies that don't make the big money are often forgotten. And that is what makes them better now then when they were released. Buackaroo Banzai is another example of a box office flop that has gained alot of
success through video and dvd.

And I know alot of people will think I am crazy. But this is my
favorite George Lucas film. There is something about Howard the
Duck that I gravitated towards as a kid. Maybe it was him being small in a strange foreign world he is yet to understand. Isn't that what childhood is about. The best movies are the ones where
the movie never changes but as you watch it at a different age
and a different point in your life you notice so much more.
I can't explain much further my fondness for Howard the Duck.
But I really love this movie.

I know there are alot of people who can't stand this movie,
But for those who get it, There is nothing quite like it
and probally never will be again.

1-0 out of 5 stars An insult to a classic comic book
Steve Gerber's original Howard the Duck comics were a classic mockery of the '70s, from jabs at religious cults to Howard's run for president in 1976 and even an issue almost entirely in text because of deadlines. However, Gerber left Howard and Marvel Comics at the end of the decade due to his struggle to gain control of his signature character.

Coming in 1986, at a time when Gerber's dispute with Marvel had exploded into a full-blown legal battle (and the comic publisher had practically destroyed Howard with numerous changes in appearance and origin), the Howard the Duck movie was heavly hyped and awarded a huge budget-largely due to the involvement of one George Lucas. What emerged was the worst movie of 1986, and one of the 1980s many candidates for "worst movie ever". For those ignorant of the original comic book, the reputation is well-earned, with an unlikeable lead and an incredibly stupid plot. For those of us familiar with Steve Gerber's work, this film is nothing short of an abomination. However, years of repeated (and downright excessive) reruns on cable have created a number of apologists for this drivel. Do yourself a favor and avoid this wreck (and pray that George Lucas is able to keep it from appearing on DVD), while tracking down the Howard the Duck comics written by Steve Gerber, which are superior to this travesty in every way. ... Read more


2. The War of the Worlds
Director: Byron Haskin
list price: $9.95
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Asin: 6300215539
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 2163
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (99)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for its time!
If you have ever listened to the original Orson Welles' infamous radio show of the same name, you will have to watch this movie. The story begins as a meteor crashes to the earth and puzzles the residents of a California town.

The incident isn't given much thought, until one night, everything in town turns off. No electricity, no phones, watches stop. Gene Barry, the resident scientist from Pacific Tech, is trying to find out what's going on, as masters' student Ann Robinson tries to help.....predictably, they fall in love while chaos ensues all over the planet.

The aliens are not friendly. Their technology outdoes anything on earth. Not even atomic energy seems to stop them. So, what does? You'll have to watch this and see. The movie is somewhere between a really great B movie and an actual heavy duty motion picture event. The story is entertaining, and the writing is not as corny and stilted as a lot of sci fi movies made in the 50's. And whoa, those special effects! Not bad for an old classic!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Adaptation of the H.G. Wells Novel
This movie is one of the standard bearers for early science fiction. The film is well-scripted and acted, and the special effects are quite good considering the age of the film.

Gene Barry plays the central character of the movie, Dr. Clayton Forrester, a scientist from Cal Tech. He and two buddies are fishing nearby when the initial Martian invasion ship lands (crashes) nearby. By the way, that must have been a heckuva landing the Martians had to endure when their 'meteors' touched down.

The movie details humanity's efforts to halt the apparently unstoppable murderous Martian invasion force. No pretenses about peaceful coexistence or some sort of misunderstanding here, folks. The Martians want our planet and are willing to kill every man, woman, and child on it to get it. As such, the military is portrayed in a pretty good light in this film (unlike many others). After all, when the alien's first club out of the bag is lethal force, then you pretty much have to go with the flow.

In the end, with atomic weapons having failed to stop the invaders, mankind appears doomed. Saving the day, however, is the most unlikely of allies (and, no, I ain't talking Russia).

Overall, a well-paced sci-fi/thriller with a basic premise that never fails to entertain when it is well done--as it is here.

5-0 out of 5 stars When worlds collide
I am by no means a fan of science fiction movies but of the few that I do enjoy, "The War of the Worlds" is my favorite sci-fi flick. Devlin Emmerich's 'Independence Day" has nothing on this film despite having the state of the art special effects. "The War of the Worlds" was based on a radio program that legendary actor Orson Welles read one Halloween night and caused a lot of people to freak out because they thought what they were hearing were true. Dr. Clayton Forrester played by the handsome Gene Barry comes across a small town in California. He was called by the townsfolk to investigate the meteor that crash landed in their town. What Forrester soons discovers is that the meteor that crashed was no meteor. Chaos ensues when the aliens reveal themselves and their deadly intentions. For its time, "The War of the Worlds" had quite the special effects. It may not be as dazzling as that modern rip-off "Independence Day" and even the '80s tv series of the same namesake but it certainly had heart and was more entertaining. I remember first seeing the film in high school and enjoying every second of it, and ten years later I still enjoy watching "The War of the Worlds". Too bad Devlin Emmerich didn't have a backbone and had to ape the concept of this film for his atrocious "Independence Day". That just lacked originality. Nothing beats the original concept of aliens invading earth than "The War of the Worlds" in my book.

4-0 out of 5 stars War of the Worlds: ground breaking sci-fi
H.G. Wells, is one of the first the introduce readers with the idea of aliens from mars taking over the earth, and triggered many writers later to write books involving martians. In the masterpiece, Wells introduces many ideas and masterfully blends them into his story.
England is in trouble as cylinders of metal carrying martians constantly crash on the earth every 24 hours. Each cylinder carries a walking tripod, that has a heat beam attached, a beam that melts and burns anything it hits. As more aliens come, they bring gasses that can kill a human just when they inhale it.
All seems lost for the main character as he tries to dodge martians, and return to leatherhead, where his wife has taken refuge. He is forced to hide from the martians byhimself, for almost everyone is dead.
Hope of survival is almost noting for humans, when they find out the martians have developed flying machines, to promote their world wide destruction, but something happens to the martians......
This is a great book and I am very pleased that I took the time the read it, even though some parts were very slow.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Early Color Sci-Fi Classic
"The format is standard instead of widescreen...," says an Amazon reviewer of War Of The Worlds, one "lotus_scrum" of Phoenix, AZ. She also later adds, "Not the WORST looking dvd but the full screen format hurts it badly for me. If it gets a new release with widescreen, remastered sound and picture I'll give it a 5." None of which makes much sense, since the DVD has fine sound, and was NEVER shot in widescreen, since widescreen didn't exist back then!

And as President of the Widescreen Watchers Association, I should know. Here is the release date of the first movie shot in widescreen, which happened to star Marilyn Monroe: How To Marry A Millionaire - November 5, 1953.

And here is the release date of the standard movie in question starring Gene Barry: War Of The Worlds - August 26, 1953.

As you can see, War Of The Worlds could hardly have been presented in late August - almost 3 months before the process was first tried in early November! In addition, although many films started being shot in widescreen in 1954, several studios were slow on the uptake and did not make their films mainly in widescreen until late 1955 or early 1956. From Here To Eternity (1955), shot in standard screen, is a prime example of that.

What all of the above means in regard to this particular film is that nothing was cut off of the picture, so to paraphrase Flip Wilson, "what you get is all there was to see."

It's a beautiful film (although perhaps corny by today's computerized Matrix standards) and the use of color is rich and vibrant. Once you've seen it you'll never forget it. It's Pal and Haskin at their best.

I also recommend other such color sci-fi classics as Forbidden Planet, When Worlds Collide, and The Time Machine. ... Read more


3. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Director: Steven Spielberg
list price: $22.98
our price: $20.99
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Asin: B000069I3K
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 498
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (306)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful
I just do not understand all of this bitching and moaning that's been going on and on about this marvelous piece of cinematic magic. So what if they touched-up this movie? E.T. is wonderful anyway, changes or not, and I think the changes make it be that much better. I had never before seen it in the theatre until this year and I was totally blown away. It was like I was watching it for the first time. I heard and noticed things I hadn't before. Plus since this is the computer age with loads of wonderful technology at our fingertips, I say why not touch it up and make it better? Sure a sense of nostalgia comes in when you see the original version, but I think all old movies should get this sort of treatment. It just enhances them better than ever. E.T. is and always will be a classic forevermore, no matter what!

4-0 out of 5 stars Did not need to be touched up!!...
As a "Star Wars" fan, I have to admit, George Lucas' 1977 grand epic movie DID NEED to be fixed, Lucas totally buffed up its Special effects, which it needed, SW Special Edition is phenominal compared to its original version, however I don't feel the same way about E.T., I mean what really needed to be fixed????, SW was Sci-Fi, so naturally it needed it, E.T. had very little effects in the way of visuals, I don't know what Speilberg is thinking, I mean, is he trying to compete with Lucas in a friendly way??, You can bet I will be watching the 1982 version, this film really is a timeless classic about an alien left behind on earth who soon befriends Elliott, a 10 year old who lives in what appears to be the valley of Los Angeles, Elliot & E.T. share a special bond, it is every lonely kid's dream, I was 11 when I first saw it, it hit home, because at the time I was new in my neighborhood, & my mom had just gone through a divorce too, I was an only child too, so you can imagine, E.T. always heightened my spirits, this film is great in that it shows what a fun character E.T. could be, the original puppet used was by all accounts well done, why they felt the need to digitally enhance E.T. is beyond me, we have never seen Jar Jar Binks as a puppet, so we don't think much about it, but E.T. you do, had digital technology been possible in 1982, then maybe it wouldn't matter, but now it does, another flaw is the removed guns from the government agents, (another mistake), why be politically correct??, I mean lets face it, agents hell bent on capturing an alien would not be so kid-friendly, in all reality they would be pursuing with guns, not walkie-talikes!..., Speilberg should have left this treasure alone, I can understand Lucas' argument on SW, but this one had little in the way of visual effects, I say stick with the original version & skip the 2002 version, the original may cost more, but it is worth it.

4-0 out of 5 stars E.T.'s Adventures On DVD...
There is little doubt that Steven Spielberg's, E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, remains one of the best films of his career. For the 2 folks out there who have never seen the movie, an alien is accidentally left behind on Earth, by a survey team. Soon, the visitor is discoved by a young boy, named Elliott (Henry Thomas), who finds the creature hiding in a shed, in his back yard. The two quickly form a special friendship. With the help of his older brother Mike, (Robert MacNaughton) and his little sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore), the trio try to keep ET a secret from their mom (Dee Wallace), long enough to help him get back home.

I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical when I found out that Spielberg would be making digital changes to the film for its 20th anniversary reissue. However, when I saw the movie again in March 2002, I was happy to discover that the one additional scene and minor effects shots that were added, in no way detracted from the film. The effects remain just a small element of the overall experience. At its core, the story, is what makes this work. The performances by all three of the kids still hold up and they never seem too "cute" or annoying for their own good. You can really see them as brothers and sister in the movie. I did have a little trouble, with the changes that were made to the picture, for the sake of pollitical correctness, though. fortunately the 2 disc DVD set addresses those concerns.

After looking at the three different DVD sets that are available for ET, I settled on the widescreen 2 disc set, which breaks down this way:

Disc One features the 2002 20th Anniversary version of the film. There is one added scene incorporated into the picture. Numerous effects shots have been given a digital face lift as well. Spielberg provides an introduction to the film. There's also a featurette that takes viewers inside composer John Williams preparing to conduct a live performance of the entire score as the film played at the 2002 premiere. As an extension of that feature, you can choose to watch ET, complete with that live performance of the score. Rounding out disc one is a rather silly interactve tour of our solar system given by ET and the 2002 theatrical trailer

Disc Two features the 1982 theatrical version of ET. Bravo. As much as liked the new version, I also think that its nice to be able to have the original vision of the film preserved. I was a bit disappointed with the features, "The Making Of ET", and "The Reunion". Both use a lot of the same recollections and footage. Heck, even portions of Speiberg's "special" introduction from disc one are used again--what's that all about? A huge photo gallery, production notes, DVD-ROM (Total Axess) material. and cast/crew information make up the "much more" promised by the packaging

I missed not seeing the theatrical trailer from "82, as well as the often talked about scene, featuring Harrison Ford as Elliott's Principal, and any other deleted footage from the film. Despite these omissions and the serious padding of the featurettes, I still recommend ET on DVD, with a **** star rating

5-0 out of 5 stars E.T. The Cult Classic 20 yrs later
It took 3 models of E.T. and whole number of great special effects and money to make this film but what it really took was the human element to make this one of the most memorable films in the last 20 years of film-making. Nothing or no one can capture the magic of this film.

Released in 1982 under a great deal of hype and marketing power, E.T. became one of the highest grossing films of all time,giving Steven Spielberg the award of being one of the greatest directors not only in the American cinema but in the whole world, even probably to where E.T. came from.

The movie is similar to other sci-fi alien flicks like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL,but E.T. has more heart , humor and magic that any other previous sci-fi film.

This movie was shown on TNT this Saturday and probably will show again during the holidays, so you can catch E.T. if you want to relive the magic of being a kid and see this great film.

I had the pleasure of seeing E.T. when it came out (I was about 6 or 8 years old)and watching it again , it still has that same magic it had 18 or 20 years ago.

The movie starts off with the E.T. spaceship landing on a remote forest for some much needed repairs, then suddenly a couple of greedy government agents notice something moving in the forest (E.T.) and go after it.

E.T.'s friends seeing the threat coming,leave behind E.T.,

and so E.T. is entirely helpless and very afraid until he meets a young boy,Elliot (Henry Thomas) who cares for E.T. until his friends come back for him.

This movie resembles the story of a boy and a dog, they share alot of things together and when one hurts , the other one hurts as well.

So while E.T. is secretly hidden in Elliot's room alot of weird things start happening to Elliot he becomes sick and doesn't know.

The reason Elliot is sick is because E.T. is sick as well and they share a bond between each other thats make them feel the same thing.

Elliot's mother , Mary (Dee Wallace Stone who appeared in the cult classics the Howling, and the Stepford Wives) finds out what is going on ,but by the time she figures that out, the government agents come in and steal E.T. along with Elliot.

In what is the most saddest moment in the movie, we assume E.T. has died and I bet everyone in the movie theater was crying too,but E.T. comes back to life with his universal saying "E.T. phone home?". :-)

In the end, E.T. does phone home and tells Elliot that he will be with him "Ill be right here" as he points to his heart.

That is classic movie making folks.

See this movie to relive the magic and if you can get it on DVD with extra footage and behind the scenes specials, get it!! By all means but if you cant , get the VHS version.!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Steven Spieldberg's Masterpiece
E.T. is one of the greatest films of all time. It takes you by surprise. You feel everything E.T. is feeling. After the movie, it shocks you that you found heart and compassion from something that looks like a mud sculpture. E.T. also has some of the greatest performances from child actors than in any other movie. In this film, we see little Drew Barrymore making a stellar breakout performance as the little sister of Elliot in the film. The new 20th Anniversary of E.T. special edition definately is better than the original cut. The effects sparkle like never before. The DVD is a wonderful thing to add to anyone's DVD collection. ... Read more


4. Flash Gordon
Director: Mike Hodges
list price: $9.98
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Asin: 6300182355
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 424
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

When the totalitarian planet of Mongo decides on a whim to obliterate Earth, it's up to the lunk-headed quarterback Flash Gordon and his oddball companions to make the universe safe for democracy. Based on the classic (and infinitely more reputable) comic strip and its '30s screen serialization, this cotton-candy-colored trash classic deserves immortality for Queen's unforgettably pulsating soundtrack alone. The legendary Max von Sydow appears to be having a blast as the evil Ming the Merciless, while Ornella Muti, as his daughter, is the living embodiment of what attracts adolescent boys to comics in the first place. (She makes Barbarella look mundane.) One of the most shamelessly entertaining movies ever made, this is a knowingly absurd sensory freak-out that'll have the viewer blissfully checking the sky afterward for signs of Hawkmen. --Andrew Wright ... Read more

Reviews (99)

5-0 out of 5 stars An overlooked classic from the 80's
Sometimes certain films end up being much better than they have any right to be. Flash Gordon is one of those films. It is, in fact, and I say this in mortal fear of being mocked and shunned by my peers, one of my all time favotite movies. I can watch this film endlessly, and every time I see it I walk around smiling for the rest of the day... it's just that kind of movie.

The cast, first and foremost, is excellent. They work wonders with the material they're given... admittedly this isn't Shakespeare, but it plays remarkably well, with very few cringe-worthy moments. Standout performances include Max Von Sydow as the astoundingly evil Ming, Peter Wyngarde as the almost equally evil Klytus, Brian Blessed as the leader of the Hawkmen, and Topol(?) as an eccentric Dr. Zarkov. Then, of course, there's the absolutely stunning Ornelia Muti as Ming's beautiful daughter Aura... she's wonderful to look at, and has an exotic accent to boot. When I saw this film in the theater as a wee lad, I had quite the childhood crush on Miss Muti... sigh. Anyway, all of the actors seem to be having a grand time with their roles, and it definitely shows.

With all due respect to the actors, however, I really think it's the brilliant soundtrack that makes Flash Gordon stand out most in my mind. Queen, near the peak of their popularity, provided a wonderful, throbbing, highly eccentric collection of songs and instrumental bits that fit the film perfectly. I badgered my poor mother to buy me the 8-track, in fact, and then proceeded to play it at every opportunity... a very patient woman, my mother. She probably still hears "dumdumdumdumdumdumDUMDUM **FLASH!!** ah-AHH!..." in her sleep. Sorry, mom.

The special effects are actually still pretty impressive, as well... bear in mind, however, that I have a soft spot for 1980's effects. I really miss the days when the answer to "How'd they do that?" wasn't always "With computers." There's a certain mystery to these old effects, and I always respect the effort and creativity that went into making things happen with such limited technology. Sigh... Still, the film is very,very colorful, and there are a LOT of costumes, backgrounds, etc. Everything has a very shiny, surreal sort of look to it, in stark contrast to the realistic, worn-out look of the Star Wars films. It's pretty neat in its own way.

In the end, though, Flash Gordon is just plain entertaining. There's hardly ever a dull moment, and the film's almost 2 hour running time goes by in a flash (pun fully intended, with all apologies to the reader). You get a lot of action in those 2 hours... there are laser battles, lots of starships, hand to hand combat on a floating spike disk(?), catfights (in a harem, no less), flame-throwing rings, dominatrix henchladies, evil Space People, a surprising amount of implied sexuality, and the list goes on and on. Just put it in, turn off your brain, and for God's sake HAVE FUN!

On a side note, I have to say that the DVD release is a bit disappointing. The five star rating is strictly for the film itself, not for the disc. Although the video and audio quality is fine (easily the best version currently available), there is absolutely nothing in the way of extras. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Not even a trailer, for crying out loud. Here's hoping that someone, perhaps Anchor Bay (king of the cult classic), will have the good sense to release a Special Edition. I would love to see outtakes, trailers, making of bios, commentary, etc. This film certainly deserves better treatment than it's given here.

Still, this DVD is currently the best edition of Flash Gordon you're going to find (and it's WIDESCREEN!). Plus, it can be picked up pretty cheaply, if you can actually find it. I wholeheartedly recommend that you search it out, watch it over and over, and then join me in waiting patiently for a collector's edition to come along. Even with its shortcomings, Flash Gordon on DVD most definitely deserves a spot in your collection. Just file it under "Guilty Pleasures." :)

4-0 out of 5 stars Goofy but Affectionate Escapism
"Flash Gordon" has more in common with 1968's "Barbarella" than the comic strip hero of the same name, but still manages to deliver many of the goods expected of campy adult fantasy. Sam Jones is a dopey version of Buster Crabbe's dashing serial hero--fittingly, an over-hormoned football star with a heart that works faster than his brain. Lovely Melody Anderson embodies Dale Arden as a spunky 1930's girl-next-door transplated into the plastic, "modern" 1980s, while sultry Ornella Muti, as Princess Aura, is every adolescent boy's imagining of sex. International stars Topol and Max Von Sydow chew up the scenery as astrophysicist Zarkhov and evil Emperor Ming, respectively, and Peter Wyngarde and ex-James Bond Timothy Dalton do dark turns in secondary roles. The story, laced with PG-rated violence and sexual innuendo, is a tongue-in-cheek rehash of the serials, as Ming ravages Earth until our intrepid heroes rocket to his kingdom to set things straight. This time, they find worlds created with the most elaborate visual effects of the day, some convincing, many not, but all strangely beautiful. If you liked the original, you'll see that most of the swipes are gentle and that as juvenile as the script is, the movie is really aimed at grown-ups. A spirited performance by British TV veteran Brian Blessed and a thumping soundtrack by rock supergroup Queen help make this one memorable.

3-0 out of 5 stars Cool Movie, Lousy DVD
This review applies to the current Image DVD release. Most people who purchase Flash Gordon remember it from their childhood and wish to relive a part of it. No complaint there! Unfortunately, the DVD is now out of print and a copy can be expensive. About the only thing commendable about the disc is its widescreen aspect ratio. The soundtrack clearly warbles in places, the sound mix is not in 5.1 and generally lousy, and the video is grainy throughout. This is quite a shame, because the soundtrack and effects lend themselves to a great presentation. There are no extra features at all.

The DVD release rights were licensed by Universal to Image Entertainment. I have purchased 3 Image DVDs and they have all been massive disappointments. Fortunately, Universal re-released Sixteen Candles and I hope they will eventually do the same for Flash Gordon.

4-0 out of 5 stars Flash Gordon and Max
Many reviewers have focused on how fun this movie is. Others have commented on Princess Aura who is...very fine indeed. However, I enjoy the performance of Max von Sydow. As Ming, he is perfect. Max has a sneer that meets if not beats that of Harry Potter's Professor Snape. Ming is amazing to the end...or did he end?

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic filmaking
It's ia classic right up there with Star Wars. The acting isn't all that great but, it deserves credit for great scenery and costumes. It is definitely worth buying. ... Read more


5. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Director: Steven Spielberg
list price: $19.99
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Asin: 6304143206
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Sales Rank: 8170
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (306)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful
I just do not understand all of this bitching and moaning that's been going on and on about this marvelous piece of cinematic magic. So what if they touched-up this movie? E.T. is wonderful anyway, changes or not, and I think the changes make it be that much better. I had never before seen it in the theatre until this year and I was totally blown away. It was like I was watching it for the first time. I heard and noticed things I hadn't before. Plus since this is the computer age with loads of wonderful technology at our fingertips, I say why not touch it up and make it better? Sure a sense of nostalgia comes in when you see the original version, but I think all old movies should get this sort of treatment. It just enhances them better than ever. E.T. is and always will be a classic forevermore, no matter what!

4-0 out of 5 stars Did not need to be touched up!!...
As a "Star Wars" fan, I have to admit, George Lucas' 1977 grand epic movie DID NEED to be fixed, Lucas totally buffed up its Special effects, which it needed, SW Special Edition is phenominal compared to its original version, however I don't feel the same way about E.T., I mean what really needed to be fixed????, SW was Sci-Fi, so naturally it needed it, E.T. had very little effects in the way of visuals, I don't know what Speilberg is thinking, I mean, is he trying to compete with Lucas in a friendly way??, You can bet I will be watching the 1982 version, this film really is a timeless classic about an alien left behind on earth who soon befriends Elliott, a 10 year old who lives in what appears to be the valley of Los Angeles, Elliot & E.T. share a special bond, it is every lonely kid's dream, I was 11 when I first saw it, it hit home, because at the time I was new in my neighborhood, & my mom had just gone through a divorce too, I was an only child too, so you can imagine, E.T. always heightened my spirits, this film is great in that it shows what a fun character E.T. could be, the original puppet used was by all accounts well done, why they felt the need to digitally enhance E.T. is beyond me, we have never seen Jar Jar Binks as a puppet, so we don't think much about it, but E.T. you do, had digital technology been possible in 1982, then maybe it wouldn't matter, but now it does, another flaw is the removed guns from the government agents, (another mistake), why be politically correct??, I mean lets face it, agents hell bent on capturing an alien would not be so kid-friendly, in all reality they would be pursuing with guns, not walkie-talikes!..., Speilberg should have left this treasure alone, I can understand Lucas' argument on SW, but this one had little in the way of visual effects, I say stick with the original version & skip the 2002 version, the original may cost more, but it is worth it.

4-0 out of 5 stars E.T.'s Adventures On DVD...
There is little doubt that Steven Spielberg's, E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, remains one of the best films of his career. For the 2 folks out there who have never seen the movie, an alien is accidentally left behind on Earth, by a survey team. Soon, the visitor is discoved by a young boy, named Elliott (Henry Thomas), who finds the creature hiding in a shed, in his back yard. The two quickly form a special friendship. With the help of his older brother Mike, (Robert MacNaughton) and his little sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore), the trio try to keep ET a secret from their mom (Dee Wallace), long enough to help him get back home.

I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical when I found out that Spielberg would be making digital changes to the film for its 20th anniversary reissue. However, when I saw the movie again in March 2002, I was happy to discover that the one additional scene and minor effects shots that were added, in no way detracted from the film. The effects remain just a small element of the overall experience. At its core, the story, is what makes this work. The performances by all three of the kids still hold up and they never seem too "cute" or annoying for their own good. You can really see them as brothers and sister in the movie. I did have a little trouble, with the changes that were made to the picture, for the sake of pollitical correctness, though. fortunately the 2 disc DVD set addresses those concerns.

After looking at the three different DVD sets that are available for ET, I settled on the widescreen 2 disc set, which breaks down this way:

Disc One features the 2002 20th Anniversary version of the film. There is one added scene incorporated into the picture. Numerous effects shots have been given a digital face lift as well. Spielberg provides an introduction to the film. There's also a featurette that takes viewers inside composer John Williams preparing to conduct a live performance of the entire score as the film played at the 2002 premiere. As an extension of that feature, you can choose to watch ET, complete with that live performance of the score. Rounding out disc one is a rather silly interactve tour of our solar system given by ET and the 2002 theatrical trailer

Disc Two features the 1982 theatrical version of ET. Bravo. As much as liked the new version, I also think that its nice to be able to have the original vision of the film preserved. I was a bit disappointed with the features, "The Making Of ET", and "The Reunion". Both use a lot of the same recollections and footage. Heck, even portions of Speiberg's "special" introduction from disc one are used again--what's that all about? A huge photo gallery, production notes, DVD-ROM (Total Axess) material. and cast/crew information make up the "much more" promised by the packaging

I missed not seeing the theatrical trailer from "82, as well as the often talked about scene, featuring Harrison Ford as Elliott's Principal, and any other deleted footage from the film. Despite these omissions and the serious padding of the featurettes, I still recommend ET on DVD, with a **** star rating

5-0 out of 5 stars E.T. The Cult Classic 20 yrs later
It took 3 models of E.T. and whole number of great special effects and money to make this film but what it really took was the human element to make this one of the most memorable films in the last 20 years of film-making. Nothing or no one can capture the magic of this film.

Released in 1982 under a great deal of hype and marketing power, E.T. became one of the highest grossing films of all time,giving Steven Spielberg the award of being one of the greatest directors not only in the American cinema but in the whole world, even probably to where E.T. came from.

The movie is similar to other sci-fi alien flicks like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL,but E.T. has more heart , humor and magic that any other previous sci-fi film.

This movie was shown on TNT this Saturday and probably will show again during the holidays, so you can catch E.T. if you want to relive the magic of being a kid and see this great film.

I had the pleasure of seeing E.T. when it came out (I was about 6 or 8 years old)and watching it again , it still has that same magic it had 18 or 20 years ago.

The movie starts off with the E.T. spaceship landing on a remote forest for some much needed repairs, then suddenly a couple of greedy government agents notice something moving in the forest (E.T.) and go after it.

E.T.'s friends seeing the threat coming,leave behind E.T.,

and so E.T. is entirely helpless and very afraid until he meets a young boy,Elliot (Henry Thomas) who cares for E.T. until his friends come back for him.

This movie resembles the story of a boy and a dog, they share alot of things together and when one hurts , the other one hurts as well.

So while E.T. is secretly hidden in Elliot's room alot of weird things start happening to Elliot he becomes sick and doesn't know.

The reason Elliot is sick is because E.T. is sick as well and they share a bond between each other thats make them feel the same thing.

Elliot's mother , Mary (Dee Wallace Stone who appeared in the cult classics the Howling, and the Stepford Wives) finds out what is going on ,but by the time she figures that out, the government agents come in and steal E.T. along with Elliot.

In what is the most saddest moment in the movie, we assume E.T. has died and I bet everyone in the movie theater was crying too,but E.T. comes back to life with his universal saying "E.T. phone home?". :-)

In the end, E.T. does phone home and tells Elliot that he will be with him "Ill be right here" as he points to his heart.

That is classic movie making folks.

See this movie to relive the magic and if you can get it on DVD with extra footage and behind the scenes specials, get it!! By all means but if you cant , get the VHS version.!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Steven Spieldberg's Masterpiece
E.T. is one of the greatest films of all time. It takes you by surprise. You feel everything E.T. is feeling. After the movie, it shocks you that you found heart and compassion from something that looks like a mud sculpture. E.T. also has some of the greatest performances from child actors than in any other movie. In this film, we see little Drew Barrymore making a stellar breakout performance as the little sister of Elliot in the film. The new 20th Anniversary of E.T. special edition definately is better than the original cut. The effects sparkle like never before. The DVD is a wonderful thing to add to anyone's DVD collection. ... Read more


6. Independence Day
Director: Roland Emmerich
list price: $9.98
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Asin: 6304233639
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5159
Average Customer Review: 3.47 out of 5 stars
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In Independence Day, a scientist played by Jeff Goldblum once actually had a fistfight with a man (Bill Pullman) who is now president of the United States. That same president, late in the film, personally flies a jet fighter to deliver a payload of missiles against an attack by extraterrestrials. Independence Day is the kind of movie so giddy with its own outrageousness that one doesn't even blink at such howlers in the plot. Directed by Roland Emmerich, Independence Day is a pastiche of conventions from flying-saucer movies from the 1940s and 1950s, replete with icky monsters and bizarre coincidences that create convenient shortcuts in the story. (Such as the way the girlfriend of one of the film's heroes--played by Will Smith--just happens to run across the president's injured wife, who are then both rescued by Smith's character who somehow runs across them in alien-ravaged Los Angeles County.) The movie is just sheer fun, aided by a cast that knows how to balance the retro requirements of the genre with a more contemporary feel. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (528)

4-0 out of 5 stars Typical Big-Budget Fun Ride
Director Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow & The Patriot) became a popular name in big-budget summer movies with the successful 1996 blockbuster "Independence Day". Massive alien spaceships mysteriously enter the Earth's atmosphere and unleash a devastating assault on the world's major cities. Now, a small human resistance organizes a final stand against the powerful invaders. "Independence Day" is a 153 minutes of pure movie fun. Its simple plot and stereotypical characters are rather predictable but still quite enjoyable. Its amusing humor, intense battle sequences and outstanding special effects are this Sci-Fi film's true highlights. The all-star cast features Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Randy Quaid, Vivica A. Fox and Robert Loggia.

"Independence Day" Limited Edition is a worthy bargain DVD. Both theatrical and extended cuts are presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen format. The DVD contains an amazing picture quality with rich color detail and great resolution. The clear 5.1 Dolby Digital sound delivers some well balanced surrounds and awesome bass, but a DTS audio track should have been included in this new release. Among special features, it contains two audio commentaries by filmmakers and FX crew, and a sneak peak at Emmerich's FX epic "The Day After Tomorrow". Despite the lack of supplements, "Independence Day" receives a pleasant "B-".

3-0 out of 5 stars There's always something...
This fulfills all of the expectations of a summer blockbuster;
things flying around, stuff blowing up, flag waving, etc etc

and yes it is escapist and all good fun

all good stuff (although a little over done, as others have
pointed out, with the flag waving bits -- but then given the
title, i think people must have known that before going in)

but it does fall foul of the usual fault of having one
supremely bad plot element. i'm referring to the odd idea that
the alien shields can be taken down by injecting a computer
virus (oh so easily). in this case, it is a cop out -- a cheap
way for the screenwriter to get from point A to point C without
bothering with B

a wise man once said never let the facts get in the way of a
good story. and a writer once said he never checks the technical
aspects of a screenplay (for the same reason)

the problem with this (and many films suffer a similar problem)
is that it pulls me right out of the film. the suspension of

disbelief of an action rah-rah film can take you to a certain
point, but it is easy to step over that line. the virus did it
for me in this one

any film that uses classic dialogue such as "this is real
life -- not a film" is almost guarenteed to suffer this sort
of problem

1-0 out of 5 stars You didn't like this film? What are you anyway, a commie?
Normally I don't use reviews as a forum for sniping at other reviewers, but it would appear that Thomas B. Clark came as close as he could to calling me un-American because I didn't care for the jingoism that saturates this film. Well by golly, I guess it is now clear that this film must be a litmus test of the patriotism of all Americans. If you hate it, you must be some sort of com-symp pinko --- it's off to the Russkies with ya.

Incidentally --- I would have refrained from socio-political commentary if only you had also --- I would gently remind you that the Indian Air Force is reported to have done very well against the USAF in exercises conducted in February this year, so maybe the USA really isn't the only one who can get the job done. I'd be willing to bet that the Israeli Air Force, to name just one, might be able to hold its own as well. Of course, maybe I am just whining again.

The argument also seems to be that critics (in addition to being part of the 5th Column) cannot endure a film that engages in make-believe. You can't be serious. Just because a film requires the viewer to suspend belief doesn't necessarily mean it has to suck. I enjoyed "Hellboy," "Men in Black," and "Alien," for example. None of these is remotely believable, but they are well-crafted films with decent performances from their respective casts. Likewise, films packed with explosions & mayhem can also have compelling storylines & characters --- "Master & Commander," for example. I guess I am guilty of expecting the makers of a movie --- even one that is "just fun," should give us more for our money than some paint-by-numbers hack job.

And that is exactly what this movie is, Thomas B. Clark. Contrary to what you claim, I hardly did any nit-picking on all the plot holes in the story, although other reviewers have gone over this movie's silly inconsistencies with a fine-toothed comb. My main complaint was that with the disengaged acting, the cardboard-cutout characters, and the painfully predictable storyline, all the movie really could rely on is lots of special effects & nifty explosions, which really on works on the big screen. The commercial success of this turkey has only encouraged Hollywood to even greater FX excess, to the point that filmmakers seem to think that if they throw enough CGI and special effects at you, they are not responsible for also giving you a decently-crafted movie with a plot & characters and stuff like that.

Hey, it's your money. I spent $1.50 at the budget theatre watching this and I guess I broke even. I pity the people who blew 7 or 8 dollars for this, but again, spend it on what you want. I learned my lesson sooner rather than later. Being the anti-American creep that I am, I just purchased a nice bottle of the 2000 Canon-la-Gaffeliere, which is the equivalent of about 10 viewings of "ID4"-type films, and I think I got the better end of the deal.

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!!!
I absolutely love this movie because it's so much action packed fun where vicious aliens from outer space unleash destruction upon the earth's human population and now they must fight back and destroy the aliens before they destroy humanity. This is just so much fun. The special effects are top notch and the acting is great! I really loved the way the spaceships looked like as opposed to looking like flying dinner plates. Go and buy this movie 2day!

1-0 out of 5 stars Aliens Ate Our Brains!
What else would explain the hit this banal tripe was? ... Read more


7. Plan 9 from Outer Space
Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
list price: $9.95
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Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 4818
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (166)

5-0 out of 5 stars Out of this world!
"Plan 9 From Outer Space" has been dubbed the worst film ever made. I can't disagree with that. Here are just a few of the things that qualifies it for that title.

- When the police drives from the town to the cemetary time somehow switches from night to day back to night.

- The Swedish accent of wrestler Tor Johnson, playing a police officer / walking corpse.

- The six feet tall, blonde chiropractor that replaced deceased Bela Lugosi.

- The plates-glued-together UFO's with strings completely visible.

- The cardboard tombstones that wiggle.

- The cemetery ground, obviously a piece of fabric covered with leaves.

- The plot, or rather lack thereof.

- The dialogue, hilariosly funny only because it's meant to be serious.

- The actors. Nuff said.

Still, it's also one of the best films ever made. Ed Wood Jr. was a filmmaker with a passion. He wanted to make films, so he made films. You can't help but respect that. That's why this movie deserves five stars, and "Deathstalker III: Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell" deserves none.

4-0 out of 5 stars Future events such as these...
Uttery obscure until the Medved brothers' 'Golden Turkey Awards' highlighted it as the 'Worst Film Ever Made', this is not so much a 'bad' film as a hysterically incompetent one. Consistently failing to triumph over the lack of money, resources and technique available, it quite neatly shows how films should not be judged in terms of 'bad' or 'good', but in terms of 'entertaining' or 'not entertaining'. Whilst 'Plan Nine' is clearly the work of bungling, but enthusiastic incompetents, it's hugely entertaining in a way that the professionally-done 'Speed 2: Cruise Control' is not. Only 'Robot Monster' comes close the the tone of insane incoherence. Where else can you see such a diverse, iconic cast (featuring the recently-deceased Bela Lugosi, a late-night-television horror movie hostess, a wrestler, and a minor celebrity hypnotist) deliver dialogue such as 'Inspector Clay's dead, murdered, and somebody's responsible'?

Note that there are two DVD releases - this one has a lengthy (longer than the film, in fact) documentary, whilst the other has a plug for Tim Burton's equally-good 'Ed Wood'. This one is slightly more expensive, but worth getting, as the documentary is excellent. Commenting on picture and sound quality seems somehow inappropriate, really.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well it ain't the worst
In fact besides I'd go as far as to say this is perhaps the most competent Ed Wood movie around. Sure there are glaring errors such as Bela running back and forth to the grave in broad daylight ( when it's supposed to be night-time ) and his replacement is obvious ( come on, he's at least 4 inches taller I reckon ). And indeed the last 20 minutes descended into a farce that unfortunately sunk the film. Yes, it shows a degree of ineptitude on Ed's part but for most of the film there was an almost professional air to how the actors acted.

Ed thought that he'll be remembered for this film. This was his big one and he's right, it's the one we remember him most for. However I don't think he would have liked the tag it's been given but if you want to be remembered he certainly went about the right way in doing it ( even if the results were all wrong )

But if we start at the start with Bela's last real scene where he mourns his lover's death - that was a really touching scene. The emotion in that looks too real that it can't be described as fake or cardboard cut out. If anything that was the most poignant scene Ed ever captured on film. He may have been an inept film-maker but that was a stroke of genius - no kidding!

I get the feeling Ed cast Vampira as Lugosi's wife mainly because if you've seen the Tim Burton movie you'll know that Lugosi thought she was " a honey " and it was certainly a nice gesture to Bela to do that. Vampira doesn't have to do much in this film. Just walk really slowly and look ominous whenever the camera is on her. Looks beautiful while doing so I have to admit. I'm almost certain that she inspired George Romero to make Night of The Living Dead by her walking alone.

Criswell makes his appearance in this film and you have to say, him, along with Vampira and Tor, got almost uncanny lookalikes in Tim Burton's biopic that it seems almost spooky.

Hats off to whoever had the idea of using saucer lids for um the use of flying saucers. Really neat and easily identified even if it was black and white. Still not too bad a job. Oh and who could forget Saturn as a ballbearing - Top Class!

The last 20 minutes are a farce as I've said before mainly because it's supposed to be a showdown between the humans and the aliens....or to be more precise 3 men with guns and a man and a woman in funny clothing that are supposed to be aliens. The acting here is horrifically poor and despite it all being passionately acted it just seems.....well a bit silly. And whatever niggling doubts you had about the film leading up to the last 20 minutes, will no doubt be exposed by the end. A shame because the film showed Ed at his most coherent. And that sadly was the pinnacle of Ed's career.

So all in all it's not the worst movie of all time and certainly not the worst you'll ever see ( unless you're a connoisseur of good taste and in that case what the hell are you reading this for ). Definitely his most enjoyable film. Now if someone could only just tell Criswell to shut up ( I wish Ed had tried, honestly try to do that ).

But for Ed, this would be his shot at greatness and while it backfired, it was about as good as he could make it. Perhaps if he were making these now and not 40 years ago he might have gotten away with it. And I'm sure Ben Affleck would have been great as the dumb pilot if it were made now. Think about it

Here's to Ed though - he may not have been the greatest but he sure knew how to entertain us

5-0 out of 5 stars Bela Lugosi Lives! (Just not in this film)
How does one describe a movie such as this? Like "Robot Monster," it is a masterpiece, and like "Robot Monster," this is not because "Plan 9 From Outer Space" has even a shadow of an ounce of quality to it. Rather, this is an example of just how wrong everything in any creative project can go if it is in the hands of the right angora-wearing genius.

For nothing (and I mean NOTHING) came out right in this movie. Continuity? Hah! Realistic dialogue? Pish! Convincing acting? Gah! Remotely realistic special effects? Heaven forbid! No, what Ed Wood gave us with "Plan 9" is quite simply a cinematic failure that not even Orson Wells could have duplicated if he had tried. In what other movie is one of your stars dead even before the script is written or shooting begins?

No, "Plan 9" is unique, a thing that we mere mortals can only begin to try and understand. Instead we can only watch, transfixed and trembling in awe that Wood's vision was transmitted so perfectly to the silver screen. This is a movie that well deserves to be ranked among the immortal creations of motion picture history, despite or perhaps because of the fact that it completely lacks any of the features that would normally merit such an inclusion.

To think otherwise can only be the result of stupid minds. Stupid! Your stupid, stupid minds!

3-0 out of 5 stars "You see. You see. Your stupid minds. Stupid. Stupid."
Also known as "Grave Robbers From Outer Space", Edward D. Wood's masterpiece of horrific filmmaking has been called the "worst movie ever made" by more than a few critics and movie fans. This hasn't kept this unintentially hilarious sci-fi dud from becoming a massive cult classic. And rightfully so. Ed Wood's art for making movies so bad that they're actually good has never been more apparent than it is here.

"Plan 9" revolves around a couple of space invaders in bad suits who fly around in spaceships on strings and resurrect the recently dead to haunt the inhabits of a small town where it seems to go back and forth from night to day a lot. The humans aren't having it though as a joint team of the local police, military, and an overacting airline pilot refuse to be terrorized by the undead creatures (who can't decide whether they're ghouls or vampires). But these visitors from a badly-drawn planet resembling Saturn have their own intentions. They're hear to warn us of a new solar-powered weapon that the Earth will eventually create and wipe out the universe. But our heroes aren't going down without a fight. They've got enough army movie stock footage to send them aliens back where they came from.

What makes "Plan 9" so entertainingly terrible? Where do I start? There's the overly-descriptive narration of Criswell who practically gives play-by-play for every action in the film. You've got Bela Lugosi who appears courtesy of silent footage recorded before his death and with the help of a stand-in who looks nothing like him. And who could forget those cooky cops who don't allow the discovery of their Captain's horrifying death to damper their moods any? Also there's Duke Moore's hards-as-nails detective who fearlessly uses his gun to fix his hat when necessary.From the bargain basement graveyard chalk full of cardboard headstones to the hungry young overactors spitting out silly dialouge, "Plan 9" is truly the "Citizen Kane of bad movies".

For those looking to pick this gem up on DVD, the Image edition is the only way to go. Not only is the picture the best that it's ever looked but it comes with a feature-length documentary, "Flying Saucers Over Hollywood: The Plan 9 Companion" and the trailer for the movie. Avoid the Passport version which has a company logo imprinted in the bottom corner similiar to the ones that TV networks use. ... Read more


8. Superman II
Director: Richard Lester, Richard Donner
list price: $19.98
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Sales Rank: 5507
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Director Richard Lester (A Hard Day's Night) took over the franchise with this first sequel in the series, though the film doesn't look much like his usual stylish work. (Superman III is far more Lesteresque.) Still, there is a lot to like about this movie, which finds Superman grappling with the conflict between his responsibilities as Earth's savior and his own needs of the heart. Choosing the latter, he gives up his powers to be with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), but the timing is awful: three renegades from his home planet, Krypton, are smashing up the White House, aided by the mocking Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman). The film isn't nearly as ambitious as its predecessor, but the accent on relationships over special effects (not that there aren't plenty of them) is very satisfying. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (132)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Superman II: The Wrath of Zod!"
That would have made a better title when it came out into theaters in 1981(Giggle)! Anyway, the second Superman movie was definately a gem for anyone to watch! It is action packed as the Man of Steel (Christopher Reeve) takes on the 3 Kryptonian villains (wonderfully played by Terrence Stamp, Sarah Douglas, and Jack O'Halloran), and its romantic in terms of Superman becoming serious with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder)! Although it was sad that Richard Donner didn't get to direct the second movie, Richard Lester did a wonderful job filling his shoes! However, this was the first film which really began the down-fall of the series! It was clear that Richard Donner did set the tone for Superman which meant not to muck around with the legend! That being the case with the powers you see in this film! If you are a die-hard Superman fan, and know the character and his powers, you'll know what I mean when you watch it! Second, the romance of this film with Lois and Superman does reach it's peak, but then at the end of this film, the fans will be upset with the total outcome! The worst was yet to come with the next 2 films! Fortunately, this DVD is special to me because the magic is still there! Along with the "letterbox" widescreen version to the film which preserves this film and the other so well! Still, I know there were scenes cut-out of the original film that I wish could have been added onto this DVD! Maybe they will come out with the complete version someday soon! Still, a very good movie I recomend to anyone!

4-0 out of 5 stars Superman II - Extended ONLY
This film gets 4 stars from me based on its extended version and not on the pathetic theatrical cut! A lot of footage was cut from this film but did make it onto various extended versions that were screened across the world. The theatrical cut of this film is a poor reflection on what director Richard Donner intended the world to see. After his sacking by the Salkinds, Richard Lester was dragged in to complete the film and refilm perfectly filmed scenes which Donner filmed in 1977. This decision cost everyone a great movie.

In 1984 fans finally got a well edited film when a lot of Donner's footage was re-inserted into TV broadcasts of the movie. The longest version having accumalated some 24 mins of additional footage. This version has only been screened in Europe and Australia and contains 7 mins more footage than the 1984 ABC telecast. Most notable extended scenes are of Lex and Eve exploring the exterior of the fortress. Miss T to Les, "...It is funny that there is no front door...". Also present is Superman's "Blast off!" line after Lex and the villains are taken away by the Arctic police. These crucial scenes were cut from the theatrical and ABC extended broadcasts.

In saying that still, the film will get 5 stars when I see all director Richard Donner's footage restored into the film.

Anyone thinking that the theatrical is a good film is much mistaken. Any of the extended TV broadcast are a MAJOR improvement over an average film!

3-0 out of 5 stars A Richard Donner Cut is what I'm after
Not nearly as good as the first movie, this suffers from production problems as a result of Donner's sacking by the Salkinds.
It's plainly obvious which scenes were shot by Donner and which weren't. And sadly, they left out a hefty chunk of what Donner had filmed, giving Lester the top billing as director.
Another sad omission is John Williams rousing score, which has been poorly duplicated. Not nearly as uplifting and powerful as John William's efforts in one.
Although the primary focus is on Lois and Superman's relationship, it doesn't save this picture from stinking. Even Gene Hackman's wonderful performance(which was all directed by Donner, with the exception of scenes where Lester used a body double and an impersonator for Hackman's voice) can't salvage this.
So why do I give this three stars? Because it does have it's moments, though scattered, and I live in the hope that a Richard Donner cut, using primarily all his footage, which would bring back all the scenes with Marlon Brando, will eventually pop up and finally put to bed the question of what could have been.

1-0 out of 5 stars We need a 21st Century Superman movie!
Very bad film.
They released Spiderman into the 21st century, why not Superman?
I've always found him to be the most appealing comic book character. He is sure for an amazing performance.
RELEASE HIM INTO OUR CENTURY!

5-0 out of 5 stars BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL!!!
All you people complaining about what is and should have been (Donner not being able to complete the project) the end result is a movie that many people view as better! Leave my Superman II alone! ... Read more


9. Queen of Outer Space
Director: Edward Bernds
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0790731207
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 7614
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Description

"A must for all B-movie fanatics" (Video Movie Guide) Male astronauts crash-land on an all-female planet Venus. Zsa Zsa Gabor's most famous movie role. Year: 1958 Director: Edward Bernds Starring:Zsa Zsa Gabor, Eric Fleming, Dave Willock ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars fantastic cult classic
QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE is a schlocky piece of hokum that's so bad, it's good!

A group of astronaughts led by Eric Fleming (from "Rawhide") crash-land on the planet Venus, which is entirely ruled by women! Venus is governed by a masked Queen (Laurie Mitchell), who rules with an iron fist.

When poor Eric is called on to seduce the Queen, he unmasks her to find a pock-faced old bat, who despises men. The sexy scientist (Zsa Zsa Gabor) and her two comrades decide to revolt and stop the Queen from her diabolical plan to destroy the Earth with her Beta Disintegrator.

With Lisa Davis, QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE was so poorly made that they had to borrow sets and costumes from other B-movies like FLIGHT TO MARS, FORBIDDEN PLANET and WORLD WITHOUT END.

A must-have for all cult and B-movie lovers!

5-0 out of 5 stars From Hungarian Beauty Queen to Outer Space Queen
I consider this movie one of the best "camp classics" out there, starring, Zsa Zsa Gabor. If you really love this Beverly Hills, cop slapper, and ex convict, she puts in, one of her best 'bad ' performances ever. The whole premise of the movie is that a space crew from the U.S.A goes on a space mission, and somehow crash lands on the planet Venus. They all realize that they are ok and can even breathe the air on this planet without space suits. They are taken as prisoners by the amazon women guards. (no affiliation with this company) They are then taken to the Queen of the planet and then realize that they are the only men on the whole planet ! OH MY ! (get it, planet Venus, all women ) Seems that they had trouble before when the planet was inhabited by men, so the queen got rid of them, or as Zsa Zsa says ......." all man were sent to the prison colony planet" You just gotta love her way with the English language. Of course there is the mysterious Queen, you see, she wears a mask, and actually as the movie progresses the masks get even more elaborate, to match her outfits! The reason being that, she is so absolutely beautiful that she has to cover her beauty so as not to intimidate the other women ............(Yeah right) Well the queen starts to fall in love with the commander, and she is willing to spare his life, if he rules the planet with her, but not the lives of his crew, well, he will have none of that! Of course he is curious about her beauty , and gets a bit nosey, so she gets upset, and decides to kill them all, but not before she destroys the planet Earth with her deadly ray gun beam that they have built. It actually looks like a big refrigerator box with colored xmas lites, like the kind of creations you made when you were a little kid. Well Zsa Zsa finds out, and since she has moves on the commander too, She really doesn't like the queen herself, as she says in the best line in the movie " I hieght that Kuuuuuveeeeeen ! " She plans on overthrowing the queen and saving the whole crew. She gets her girls together, and ties up the queen and takes her mask, and makes everyone think she is the queen herself ......(all these queens! ) but Zsa Zsa gets found out and they all have to escape. The chase scene is the best! While sneaking through the jungle, which is just house plants painted in neon colors, you notice after a while that it's just the same wall of plants over and over again, they're not going anywhere except from one end of the sound stage to the next. I won't say how the movie ends, but there is a power struggle within the ranks. What I didn't get was, how come all the women had on chiffon miniskirt outfits, and Zsa Zsa had floor length creations with slits on the sides? She still was very gorgeous at this time, but she was rather, how would you say ? Voluptous Zaftig, Porcine ? Dahlings, rush to buy this movie, put on your best chiffon, couture outfit, diamonds, fur and a big bowl of greasy buttery popcorn, and you to, can be Zsa Zsa, or "The Queen of Outer Space"

4-0 out of 5 stars Campy, but very sexy
Yeah, it's campy, but I loved it! As a child of the fifties, I find the women in this movie very hot. Of course, there was no sex in this film, but the kissing scenes were outstanding. I wish I could have been in the shoes of the Lieutenant, or the commander, who gets but one kiss with Zsa Zsa.

They don't make them like that any more, but I wish they did.

Harmless fun. Probably shot on a dime, too.

1-0 out of 5 stars Queen if Outer Space
This video was bought by me for my Eric Fleming collection. He was Mr. Favor on RAWHIDE in case no one recognizes him as Zza Zza's leading man. In other words, I never would have bought it except for Eric.

5-0 out of 5 stars I LOVE zat queen!
Watching "Queen of Outer Space" is akin to watching a 1957 Miss World contest while on hallucinogens. Plot summary: Earthmen's rocket is knocked off course by a mysterious "death beam", where it lands on Venus, which is populated solely by women. The women wear mini-skirted tunics, with the exception of "Queen Iliana", who dresses like an evil, masked Auntie Mame, and "Tolleia", beautiful scientist and rebel leader, played by gorgeous Hungarian Zsa Zsa Gabor, in a series of glamorous gowns. Zsa Zsa is carefully "posed" in every shot, particularly her long-shots, where her leg is "artfully" protruding from the thigh-length slits in her gowns. Tolleia and many other man-hungry females secretly oppose the man-hating, pizza-faced queen (MEN were responsible for her radiation-burned face beneath her mask). Tolleia utters the famous line, "I hate her--I HATE zat queen!" The Earthmen, together with Tolleia and her followers, tamper with Queen Iliana's "Beta Disintegrator", with which she plans to destroy Earth. It blows up, reducing her to a charred mannequin, and Tolleia is proclaimed the new queen. This film is irresistibly enjoyable, from its kitschy sets (The queen's palace looks like a cross between a burlesque theater and a leftover set from "What's My Line?"), to the hubba-hubba women's costumes, to the men's costumes, evidently leftovers from "Forbidden Planet". Evidently, someone at Allied Artists had access to MGM's wardrobe department! Some of Anne Francis' "Forbidden Planet" costumes are worn by Lisa Davis, who plays one of Zsa Zsa's compatriots. The silly dialogue, ridiculous sound effects, and a paper-mache giant beetle add to the general hilarity of this comic-book version of the battle of the sexes. Needless to say, this film has an enormous gay following. How could it not? Zsa Zsa writes in her book, "One Lifetime is Not Enough", that her line, "I hate zat queen", gets big laughs from her many gay friends. The lady is extremely entertaining. I may also add to the unitiated that Zsa Zsa was at the peak of her beauty in this film. It's no wonder she had all the men in a spin. You can't accuse her of not having a sense of humor, and she's certainly NEVER dull! ... Read more


10. Galaxy Quest
Director: Dean Parisot
list price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00003CXDU
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 524
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (394)

4-0 out of 5 stars An good fun entertainment film.
This was one of the few good surprises that came out in December, last year. The film has good story which is clever and well written. Nice visual effects done by Industial Light & Magic(They also did all of the Star Trek films). Good Cast:Tim Allen(Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story Films), Sigourney Weaver(The Alien Series), Alan Rickman(Die Hard, Dogma), Tony Shalhoub(The Siege), Sam Rockwell(The Green Mile) and another cast in the supporting roles are engaging. Directed with a nice sense of humour by Dean Parisot(Home Fries) makes the film works with a lot of characters are fun to look at and some hilarous moments. Stan Winston(Aliens, The Terminator) did once again an incredible make-up and good looking alien designs.

DVD has good anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)picture quality and excellent dolby digital 5.1 sound also got the alien dubbed track for dolby surround track! is quite funny to listen. Seven deleted scenes. A small behind the scenes featurette and Omega 13, you have to watch the movie first to make it worth.

Travia:In one of those deleted scenes has Dian Bachar(Baseketball, Orgamzo) has a comic scene with Tony Shalhoub. Bachar is credited as Nervous Tech Alien. Is also in the film, cast like as a extra. You can spot the actor in a couple of scenes only. Grade:B+. Panavision.

4-0 out of 5 stars But What Happened After The Convention?
"Galaxy Quest" is a lighthearted satire of the whole sci-fi world, especially the "Star Trek" gang (here called "Quest-arians"). A group of TV actors now make their living from appearances and autograph signings, after being on the cult favorite TV show, "Galaxy Quest". Real aliens then come and need their help to save the aliens' planet. Tim Allen is positively Shatneresque as Commander Peter Quincy Taggert (shades of Captain James Tiberius Kirk!) Sigourney Weaver (playing actress Gwen DeMarco who plays Lieutenant Tawny Madison) has only one job to do - as she says, "Oh my God, I'm repeating the computer!" Tony Shalhoub is hilarious as Tech Sergeant Chen, sort of a Scotty-on-tranquilizers.... in a deadpan voice, "Commander, they tell me that the engines are about to blow...just a FYI..." Alan Rickman as Alexander Dane playing "Doctor Lazarus" gives a great performance as a classically trained Shakespearean actor who has been typecast as the Spock-like alien of the show. He's known for just one line ("If I have to say that line again I'll throw up!") But since The Show Must Go On, he does say it again and again. "By Grapthar's Hammer, I will avenge you!" One question for the fellow Quest-arians out there. The movie ended (SPOILER WARNING! SPOILER WARNING!) with our heroes taking part of the real alien ship and landing it pretty hard in the convention parking lot and convention hall! That is, scattered cars, busted walls, torn-up stage flooring all over the place! Now how are they going to explain this?

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Spoof Of Both Trek AND Trekkies!
Dean Parisot's GALAXY QUEST (1999) was released at around the same time as some very big, high-profile, Oscar-nominated films during the Holiday season, advertising itself as the light in the midst of all the dark. Starring Tin Allen, who at that time had starred in films ranging only from cute (THE SANTA CLAUSE--1994, TOY STORY--1995) to lame (JUNGLE 2 JUNGLE, FOR RICHER OR POORER, both 1997), I had the sickening feeling from the trailer that this would prove to be the latter. I was encouraged by the presence of Sigourney Weaver, although unsure of her blond-bimbo role, Tony Shalhoub and Alan Rickman. But still, I wasn't sure...

That is, until I began reading the reviews, and then saw the film as soon as it came out on DVD. This is one of those movies that I can't believe has taken me this long to write about on these pages. Make that rave about: GALAXY QUEST is one of the funniest films I have ever seen, and would be in my Top 30 Listmania List if I were allowed to go to 30. It does help that I'm a STAR TREK fan (although not quite a Trekkie; please read my review of the documentary TREKKIES for more exposition on this point), but I honestly think that anyone with a good sense of humor will like this movie. It is written with a knowing wink to the Trekkie phenomenon as well as to Star Trek, and has smart dialogue courtesy of David Howard; unbelievably enough, this was his first---and still his only---film for which he has written.

The film opens with a convention for the immensely popular "Galaxy Quest" series, which starred full-of-himself screen hog Jason Nesmith (Allen) as Cmdr. Peter Quincy Taggart (not dissimilar to James Tiberius Kirk), Gwen DeMarco (Weaver) as Lt. Tawny Madison, former Shakesperean actor Alexander Dane (Rickman) and former child actor Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell) as Lt. Laredo, the ship's (very) young Navigational Officer. Nesmith secretly hates the Conventions, but plays up to the shows' fans, whose attention he monopolizes at every turn. Naturally, this long-established practice has alienated him from his co-stars, who hate his guts but like participating in the Conventions (except for Alexander Dane, who rues the day he became more famous for his character, and his character's famous rallying cry, than for being a 30+ year veteran of the Shakespeare stage). Nesmith finally loses his cool when being overly nagged by a teenaged nerdy fan (Justin Long), and yells at him in a manner that instantly recalls the "Get a life!" mock admonition that William Shatner gave in a 1986 Saturday Night Live skit. However, on the next drunken-hangover morning, Nesmith is visited by a strange-looking and talking man (Enrico Colantoni) who introduces himself as Thermian Cmdr. Mathesar, whose people are under attack by an evil alien leader named General Sarris (Robin Sachs). He pleads for Taggart's assistance, having seen the "historical documents" of his crew's many victories over greater enemies. Nesmith hazily just assumes that this is another nerdy fan with no life and goes along with him just to appease, and perhaps he has nothing better to do at this point. But then he finds out...

Of course, Mathesar and the Thermians are real aliens who had picked up the TV-wave transmission of the "Galaxy Quest" show and, in their childish impressionability, have assumed that the crew, the ship, everything was real. They have replicated the ship in full, both inside & out (since you know, for example, that Star Trek has always been so detailed that exact replicas of the Enterprise have numbered in the thousands) and have modeled their society from their example. Nesmith exitedly gets back to his fellow cynical and unbelieving actors, who go along only because they think it may be a well-paying job. Then they find out...

GALAXY QUEST is smart, funny and has a lot of fun with the TREK phenomenon, as portrayed through this fictional TV show and its characters. It also has fun with all the conventions (that is, *customs*) of Sci-Fi TV shows, such as gigantic, death-defying devices being present in a starship's engine room, or that the fate of our heroes comes down to one final second. It nudges & prods at all of these (plus more) with a complete love for the Sci-Fi genre. It also manages to convey a *sense of wonder* through visual effects that are really excellent. As for the acting, everybody---yes, including Tim Allen---gives a terrific performance, including Sam Rockwell as a minor "Galaxy Quest" character who constantly fears for his life during the actors' real mission, because nobody knows his last name, which, of course, is a sure sign that he is going to die, just like his character did on the one episode of the TV show! Enrico Colantoni's performance as Mathesar is infectious, and is perhaps the biggest revelation in the entire film; it can be argued that he may have deserved an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Robin Sachs creates an evil presence as the murderous, slimy alien General Sarris. Best of all, everybody's in on the joke.

GALAXY QUEST is a great buy on DVD. The "On Location In Space" feature is entertaining and informative. The deleted scenes are a hoot! All in all, this film is a great way to entertain the entire family, as it is among the few comedies that are intelligent yet can be viewed by children. I wholeheartedly give it a "thumbs-up"---wait, no, that's the other guy! In other words, I deem this movie to be

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED; AGES 8 & UP

4-0 out of 5 stars MISCHIEVOUSLY CLEVER AND SLICK SCI-FI SATIRE
If you have seen the earlier episodes of "Futurama", you'll know how effective a cleverly done sci-fi satire can be.

Galaxy Quest mines a shuttle-full of sci-fi cliches for its banter, and while I don't remember anything laugh-out-loud rip-roarious, there is a good deal of congenial charm that permeates throughout. Which makes it a perfect family flick to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Apart from the spoof gags, what took me by surprise were the superb special effects, as octopodal aliens morph effortlessly into humans and back again in articulately designed space (the interior of the spaceship itself borrowed its staid cardboard looks from Star Trek of yore, perhaps as an intentional sardonic effect)

Overall, the film's affection for its audience (especially those weaned on Lost in Space, or The Next Generation, etc) and for the characters it parodies covers up for the gaping blackholes in its highly implausible and goofy plotline.

Great rental, and even a good buy because it lends itself easily to repeat viewing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific sci-fi spoof
"Galaxy Quest" was woefully ignored at the box-office, which is a crying shame because it's one of the best films of its kind to come down the pike. Writer David Howard did a tremendous job in drafting a film that is equal parts spoof and homage to science fiction television shows, most notably Star Trek, but there are hints of other shows as well. You can tell that Howard is obviously a fan of science fiction because as a sci-fi film, Galaxy Quest stands on its own two feet proudly; but he also appreciated the cheese that went into the shows as well, everything from the ship's commander who loses his shirt in every episode to that irritating line that gets repeated so often the actor who utters it comes to abhor it (think "Live long and prosper" or "He's dead, Jim").

The premise is simple enough. "Galaxy Quest" was a TV show that rode the success of "Star Wars" in the late 70s to join "Battlestar Galactica," "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," and "Star Trek: The Next Generation" as the popular programming of the time. But like those shows, "Galaxy Quest" didn't survive through the early 80s, and now the cast is a bunch of washed-up has-beens who are lucky to be earning paychecks from convention appearances and electronics store openings. That is, until they are approached by a group claiming to be Thermians needing assistance with the interstellar bully in their quadrant of the galaxy. The cast takes the Thermians and their leader, Mathesar (Enrico Colantoni, "Hope and Gloria"), as ardent fans of the show wanting a private appearance of the cast, but the truth is, the Thermians are real aliens with a real problem; it seems the Thermians are a very naive race, believing the television signals from Earth to be real historical accounts of the NSEA Protector and it's gallant crew, and at the same time, gifted scientists and engineers capable of recreating the NSEA Protector as a real spaceship. But they aren't warriors, so they come to Earth looking for the "real" crew of the original Protector to man their version, and to help them in their negotiations with General Sarris (Robin Sachs, TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), the resident bully.

The actors that played the original Protector's crew are lead by Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen, TV's "Home Improvement" and the "Santa Clause" series), who played Cmdr. Peter Quincy Taggart, a character not unlike the original Star Trek's Capt. Kirk, constantly mugging for the camera and sleeping with every alien princess. Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver, the "Alien" series) played Lt. Tawny Madison, the buxom blonde kitten whose only real job on the show was to look sexy and repeat everything the computer said. Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman, "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" and the "Harry Potter" series), a Shakespearean actor, is Dr. Lazarus, the alien science officer. Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub, TV's "Monk") is the laid-back engineering officer, Tech Sgt. Chen. Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell, "Sgt. Bilko") is the actor who as a child played the Protector's helmsman, Lt. Laredo. And Guy Fleegman (Sam Rockwell, "Matchstick Men") was Crewman #6, who died in his lone episode (in the original Star Trek, Fleegman would have been the crewman in the red shirt on the away mission), but who tags along on the mission anyway, constantly fretting that he'll die in real life on this mission just as his character died on the show.

These guys are in no way heroes. For example, none of the other actors can stand Jason Nesmith, for example, because of the constant attention he gets being the commander (which does much to fuel an already sizeable ego), but especially Alexander Dane, who sees him as a scene-stealing hack with no talent, and Gwen DeMarco, who's simply tired of him hitting on her all the time. Are you reading this, William Shatner? In the end, though, the prima donnas find their inner-strength and succeed against Sarris, but that much you already knew going in, right?

This movie should have been an instant classic. Seeing actors playing actors is always loads of fun, as we get a peek at how Hollywood really views itself. The sci-fi spoofing is dead-on accurate, and it really is an homage to the classic series as well, most notably "Star Trek." There are also great bonus stuffs on the DVD, including a "making of" special, deleted scenes that made me wonder why they were deleted, and an alternate soundtrack in the Thermian bark-and-squawk language.

If you love "Star Trek," you'll love "Galaxy Quest." If you hated "Star Trek," you will also love "Galaxy Quest." ... Read more


11. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Director: Alan J.W. Bell
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 630266523X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 8130
Average Customer Review: 3.99 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The production values aren't the greatest here, but this adaptation does capture some of the ebullient, hilarious anarchy of Douglas Adams's book. Arthur Dent discovers that his friend, Ford Prefect, isn't human at all but an alien on assignment, writing for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Many of Adams's delicious asides are dropped off here, like the woman who figures out the meaning of life right at the moment that she gets blown up with the rest of the Earth, but it retains what it can.Sure, the book was better, and the realization of Zaphod Beeblebox and Trillian are, well, just different, but it's a great introduction to the series for the uninitiated.--Keith Simanton ... Read more

Reviews (94)

5-0 out of 5 stars What a DVD Should Be - D. Adams would be proud
This is a review of the DVD set itself, as I assuming most of you already know the story and have possibly seen the TV show. This is a digitally remastered DVD with a stereo soundtrack and clear crisp visuals.

It's actually a two DVD set. The TV series, which is on the first DVD, is as near to a flawless reproduction as is currently possible. Watch it with the lights off to enjoy all the visuals and matte painting special effects that were available in 1981 with a shoestring budget. Additionally, this is a "must buy" just for the second DVD alone. Outtakes and deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, The Making of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, BBC Omnibus Tribute to Douglas Adams, and much more.

BBC Video has stepped up and hit a homerun with this DVD set. Be sure to watch it with and recommend it to your friends. "Share and enjoy!"

5-0 out of 5 stars Discover the secret to the number 42
The video is based on the TV series, which is based on the books and the radio play. The radio play is hilariously satirical and very creative. The TV series was on PBS years ago and pops up every so often. Great story. The characters in the TV series don't quite measure up to the radio play but are good anyway. The story does measure up and the cheesy special effects only add to the fun. It's a Monty Python-esque view of space and travel in general with great commentary on our society and its peculiarities. The Hitchhiker's Guide is all you need to travel the universe and is essential when your planet is destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. The Guide is many things: a primer on Vogon poetry, a guide to using the Babel fish, and a calming influence with it's friendly "don't panic" on the cover. The best character in the show may be Marvin the paranoid robot but Arthur Dent, Ford, Trillian and Zaphod are just right for fans of the books and play. The restaurant at the end of the universe is the place to be seen. All this and mice make the world go 'round. Zany and original. A definite find! It really can't be fully explained within the limits of a short review. Now if someone will only put out the radio show on CD!

5-0 out of 5 stars Toweltastic man!
H2G2 is a masterpiece. For those unfamiliar with the story, the earth is a big supercomputer constructed to determine the meaning to life the universe and everything. It inadvertently gets blown-up to make way for a intergalactic bypass just milliseconds before it finally computes the answer. We follow our hapless hero on his journey to that discovery and the answer itself!

The theatrical sets are decidely low budget but the writing is of the highest calibre. I have to admit to enjoying the books much more than the DVD. However, the characterization and delivery of Marvin the paranoid android is hillarious.

3-0 out of 5 stars Whats with the words
Now i love HGttG. Ive seen the original tv broadcast and the DVD does an excellent job at recreating it. However the fact that one is completely unable to watch it without having to put up with either subtitles (why do you need english subtitles for an english show anyway) or production notes (most of which are complety pointless, 'this was shot on such and such date') it completely destroys the film as the screen is so taken over with this garbage that you can hardly ever see the actual show.

I would gladly give this 5 stars if the made it so that you can actually see the show.

5-0 out of 5 stars DVDs
A bit of advice since I own pretty much all formats of The Hitchhickers Guide To The Galaxy if you want the BBC radio 4 series you should probably not go around buying DVDs. But some of us are from Washington so i can see how that would be confusing. ... Read more


12. Quatermass Xperiment
Director: Val Guest
list price: $9.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004YRX0
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 13274
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Quatermass Experiment aka THE CREEPING UNKNOWN
Fans of Doctor Who, Blake 7, and later BBC ventures will love this older U.K. science fiction. Unfortunately the British were not very good about recording their television programs, or keeping the tapes afterwards, and thus we will not be seeing the televised original for this story. The original live six-part 1953 TV production went some 200 minutes. The Quatermass author, Nigel Kneale, was not too happy about the new version's reduction to 82 minutes. Most who saw the TV version thought that it was superior to the movie.

Kneale wrote a number of TV programs that were eventually adapted to film. However, he will always remain famous for Quatermass. The movies would parallel a series of TV productions: Quatermass II (1955) and Quatermass and the Pit (1958-9). Kneale would conclude the series with Quatermass/The Quatermass Conclusion (1979).

The UK theatrical remake of The Quatermass Experiment (1955) was directed by Val Guest and the screenplay was written by Val Guest and Richard Landau. The part of Professor Bernard Quatermass was played by Brian Donlevy. Donlevy was chosen because it was thought an American in the role would give the film more box office appeal in the U.S. However, in hindsight, it was a little like giving the role of Doctor Who to an obvious Texan or person from the Bronx. Sometimes accents are important. Donlevy did a professional job, although a few cast members complained that he had a drinking problem.

The experimental rocket Q1 crashes in England. Quatermass, the somewhat reckless creator of the ship races to the site. Only one of the three astronauts is found alive, Victor Carroon (played by Richard Wordsworth). The other men have vanished.

This mystery drives the first part of the film. Later it becomes clear that Carroon is not only sick but dangerous. Something has come back with him, something that absorbs the flesh of living creatures and appropriates it into itself. The second half of this film is a somewhat typical man turned into monster drama.

It grows and goes on a rampage of destruction. Can it be caught? How will they stop it?

This early Hammer Film, and their first international success, was filmed in black-and-white. While the film has been released as one of MGM's Midnight Movies, it is only available on VHS. This is quite unfortunate given the fact that the later films are available on DVD. However, the transfer to video is excellent.

Would you believe that this film was given a British "X" rating certificate? There are no sexual situations, no romance, and no nudity. The language is fairly tame. Even the supposedly horrific scenes of mayhem from the monster are a mild PG by today's standards.

While it lacks some of the intensity of the later films, it is a good story. I would recommend it for fans of science fiction, British or not.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Story & Solid Acting
This is a well written story about a space flight gone wrong. It is well acted, the special effects are excellent for their day, and the main character in the story (Quartermass)is a strong and almost hartless man who is driven to achieve his goals no matter what the cost.

The supporting characters are good as well, but the mainstay of the movie is the strong story line which flows from event to event almost flawlessly.

An excellent effort for all science fiction fans - especially those who enjoy the older B&W versions of the future of science and space travel.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent first Quatermass Shocker !!!
The ultimate in man into space-man returns-man mutates into alien movie,and although not as good as the second and third Quatermass stories,it still holds the attention some 46yrs later,and being also considering that Hollywood seem over-run with re-makes I believe this would make a good one for a change. Although Donlevy's performance is a little stiff,Margia Deans is dire,and her voice on this edition has been dubbed,probably to make her seem less automaton like,but I believe it is Richard Wordsworth's performance that truelly delivers the goods,truelly a classic of it's day,shame a DVD hasn't been announced of the movie,come along MGM how about it?

4-0 out of 5 stars Initial entry in the greatest science fiction series ever
There's simply no equal to the Quatermass films in the effects-driven "science fiction" foisted on today's public. These films, adapted from much longer BBC television "miniseries", rely on intelligent plot development and attention to detail that is notably lacking in anything done in the genre lately.

In this film, the first of the series, Quatermass's experimental rocket crashes to Earth after having been out of contact. Three people went up - but there's only one person aboard now. The others.....? Ah, that would be telling!

Originally titled "The Quatermass Xperiment", the movie played on its "X" rating from the (remarkably timid) British film review board and helped open the door for Hammer Films' later bloody epics. There's nothing here that you couldn't see on television today, but the horrific *implications* of the plot are what give you the shivers. Special effects are crude by today's standards - a remake would surely improve on that aspect of the film, but the writing more than makes up that.

Brian Donlevy really makes a poor Quatermass, but he's all we have. He seems to confuse bullying and shouting with projecting authority and confidence, and you end up somewhat surprised no one decks him. (Andrew Keir's interpretation in "Quatermass and the Pit" is a lot more palatable.)

But that said - see this one. One of the true greats of the genre.

4-0 out of 5 stars a.k.a. THE CREEPING UNKNOWN
I first saw the movie in broad daylight on an Admiral portable 19 inch B+W TV -with commercials- and, indeed, as a kid of ten I was troubled. DO N O T let little kids watch this! This one and the sequel, QUATERMAS II a.k.a. ENEMY FROM SPACE are the epitome of the genres (1) Man Transformed... [others in the category z.b. THE FLY (58) and THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN]; (2) Alien Takeover...[others in the category z.b. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS or VILLAGE of the DAMNED] I wholeheartedly agree with the first reviewer that the transformation of the poor astro'naught' is tragic to behold, even if the final, tentacled incarnation {the thing absorbs a ZOO! }leaves something to the imagination... ... Read more


13. Star Trek - First Contact
Director: Jonathan Frakes
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Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (224)

4-0 out of 5 stars Star Trek Comes Of Age.
Jonathan Frakes is hands-down one of the best directors Star Trek has ever had. This talented man needs more work! Give the guy a big film, someone! If Spielberg is too busy to helm another 'Indiana Jones', then I respectfully suggest Mr Frakes. He does a fine job on 'First Contact' with a story that pays homage to Trek folklore. The cliches are all there; time travel, a threat to Earth and the existence of the Federation. But Frakes dances with the cliches instead of stepping on their toes. We have an exciting voyage that finally makes use of the big-screen potential of The Borg. There are only a couple of flaws to the story and the production itself. How does someone living in a virtual shanty-town build a starship in his back yard and why do the space battle scenes only last 55 seconds? Movies are supposed to give you what you CAN'T get from television. So why does the average TV episode of 'Deep Space Nine' have far more space battle action than a two hour big-budget film? Quibbles for sure, but worth noting anyway. This movie is well worth the money and effort but with the quality of the TV shows so relatively high it makes you wonder how much longer they excellent performances of the whole cast. And yay! Rock and Roll music finally gets some respect in Star Trek. To hear them tell it, you'd think that classical and jazz were the only forms of music in their century! And finally; have you ever noticed how many Star Trek films are based on, or have major scenes on the planet Earth? ALL OF THEM EXCEPT 'Insurrection'. For heavens sake, stay AWAY from the Earth and seek out those life forms and civilisations! How can Star Trek movies be so much about the Earth? Trek the STARS some more, guys.

3-0 out of 5 stars A nice way to kick off the new series of films, but shallow
First Contact starts of with a major offensive against Earth by the Borg, and every Federation starship possible is involved, including the Defiant and the new Enterprise. But before they can be destroyed, the Borg travel back in time to 21st century Earth in the hope of changing the course of history in their favor. The Enterprise follows, and must make sure that the first contact with aliens takes place, or the Federation will never be founded, and the Borg will take the galaxy apart.

But what I did not like is that you did not get familiar with the new Enterprise as well as we should have. The ship represents the Star Trek franchise even better than Kirk. But we only get glimpses of it, no stats on it's performance, etc. Plus, the movie drags along. I have no problems with a slow movie, but this one just seemed to slow without much of plot or character development.

It is not a bad film, just not as good as Generations, or the Voyage Home. It is of course worth checking out, but not to buy. The only redeeming value is the astounding picture and sound on the DVD version.

3-0 out of 5 stars The best of a mediocre "Next Generation" movie lot
The Next Generation movies in the Star Trek series, generally speaking, stink. Which is unfortunate, since in some ways the TNG series was better than the original Trek. However, the movies generally vary from pure cheese to holier-than-thou piffle.

First Contact is a good, fun movie overall, with pretty good effects shots and plenty of generally well-executed action. However, it also has some defects that can really get on your nerves.

-The plot is dumb. Time travel has been done to death in Trek, and is a real groaner when you realize that it is being done yet again.
-The movie beats into the ground the Star Trek plot gimmick of "we've found a mysterious energy field, let's duplicate it/follow it/etc." We've gone from the first Star Trek movie (crappy in other ways), which at least gave a nod to real science, to the end of TNG, where they just make up fake scientific-sounding B.S. AT WILL as a plot fix.
-Picard acting like Ahab from "Moby Dick" is way overdone, the worst acting by Stewart EVER. Pure scene-chewing cheese, and the PC bit of having the skinny black chick talk reason into him is just dumb and annoying, since she was a throw-away moron of a character. If you are going to be PC for no reason, at least have Geordi do it, we've established that LeVar Burton's character has a brain, and he can actually ACT, unlike what's-her-face.
-Making the Cochrane character such a total jerk was a BIG mistake. Yes, it was intentional, but it was a bad decision... it makes you hope he gets shot in the head instead of fulfill history, and makes the whole middle section of the movie drag.

Overall, however, it is a fun movie and the only TNG movie worth watching.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Origin of Warp Drive
STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT is one the best of the Star Trek franchise. A nifty time travel story that includes an inventive origin story of humans first meeting with "Vulcans" (i.e. Mr. Spock) and using a major nemesis from the tv-series "the Borg". The "Next Generations" crew is on hand for an above-average adventure yarn along with a great character created as the point of origin, Zefram Cochrane played perfectly by James Cromwell (BABE, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL) along with Alfre Woodard (as Lily Stone) and finally a great villianous turn as the Borg Queen is Alice Krige (GHOST STORY). Director/starring Jonathan Frakes knows these characters very well and with many things going on at once, there is no sag in the storytelling and everything seems to be in sync. One aspect that the screen writers took into account was the toning down of Data's (Brent Spiner) "emotion chip" that was so annoying in the 'ST-GENERATIONS' film and the character is able to redeem himself as one of the heroes in the story. Enough can't be said of Patrick Stewart whose Picard is the glue that holds the movie/crew together. The scenes with he and Michael Dorn (as the Klingon Cmdr Worf) are some of the best. Overall, a Star Trek movie that holds its own to WRATH OF KHAN, THE VOYAGE HOME, and THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY due to some ingenious plot devices, great characters, good special effects, and excellent direction.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quite Possibly The Greatest STAR TREK Film Ever Made!
STAR TREK - FIRST CONTACT (1996), being only the second film to feature the "Next Generation" characters---and the first one without any of the originals---is a masterpiece of suspense, drama and violence. Easily earning its PG-13 rating, this one deals with (as I'm sure all who are reading this know) the Borg attempting to conquer Earth by going back in time to prevent "first contact" between humans and Vulcans. Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (the wonderful Patrick Stewart), who had once been "assimilated" by the Borg, being renamed Locutus in the process, takes this particularly hard and makes it his professional duty as Captain of the Federation Starship Enterprise 1701-C, and his personal duty as a member of the human race, to stop the Borg from attaining its goal.

This entry in the series, directed by Jonathan Frakes (Commander Will Riker), is a full step-up from the original series, employing dazzling visual effects and taking on a decidedly darker tone than previous STAR TREK films. It also ramps up the dramatic tension big-time, as Capt. Picard is so deeply affected by his previous experience with the Borg; his hatred is not just for what the Borg collective is, it's also a result of what the Borg collective had made of him, if only briefly. Meeting him head-on in his anguished tension are an unlikely stowaway (the equally wonderful Alfre Woodard) and the unlikely inventor of the Warp Drive Dr. Zefram Cochrane (the inspired James Cromwell). Of course, series regulars Lt. Commander Worf (Michael Dorn), Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) and Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) are back in fine form, as are Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). We even get a brief prize of a cameo appearance of The Doctor (Robert Picardo) from the "Star Trek: Voyager" series. But the one who really steals the show is the evil Borg Queen (Alice Krige), who slyly exudes mechanical sensuality even as she provokes danger and disdain (and perhaps disgust). Her kidnapping of the android Data and insinuation into his deep-seated desire to "become more human" makes for possibly the scariest scene in the entire movie.

STAR TREK - FIRST CONTACT combines an immense amount of elements in order to make its unified whole. The result is a stark, darkly brilliant film that comes close to sensory overload at times. True, Capt. Picard's climactic head-butting scene with the sharp-tongued stowaway Lily goes dangerously over-the-top at one point (and eventually would be parodied in the hilarious "Fingerbang" episode of "South Park"), but it STILL works. Everything else in this film does, too. Jonathan Frakes did a splendid job in creating the highest-budget STAR TREK film yet (a reported $80 million) in record time, earning himself the nickname "Two-Takes Frakes" from his fellow cast members and the admiration of a new generation of STAR TREK fans. Also, he earned well over the magical $100 million mark for film studio Paramount, making the studio moguls happy in the process! Unfortunately, he couldn't quite match this success with the next series installment, the lighter-toned STAR TREK - INSURRECTION (1998); however, with this film, Jonathan Frakes achieved something of a series masterpiece, of which he should always be proud. Don't get me wrong; I loved STAR TREK GENERATIONS (1994), but in STAR TREK - FIRST CONTACT, the "Next Generation" crew hold their own, and our complete undivided attention, for the nearly-two-hour film. This would easily be the greatest of the "Next Generation" movies, and quite possibly, the best in the entire franchise.

MOST RECOMMENDED ... Read more


14. Star Trek - Insurrection
Director: Jonathan Frakes
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Average Customer Review: 3.53 out of 5 stars
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Star Trek fans were decidedly mixed in their reactions to this, the ninth big-screen feature in Paramount's lucrative Trek franchise, but die-hard loyalists will appreciate the way this Next Generation adventure rekindles the spirit of the original Trek TV series while combining a tolerable dose of New-Agey philosophy with a light-hearted plot for the NextGen cast. This time out, Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his executive crew must transport to a Shangri-la-like planet to see why their android crewmate Data (Brent Spiner) has run amuck in a village full of peaceful Ba'ku artisans who--thanks to their planet's "metaphasic radiation"--haven't aged in 309 years.

It turns out there's a conspiracy afoot, masterminded by the devious, gruesomely aged Ru'afo (F. Murray Abraham, hamming it up under makeup resembling a cosmetic surgeon's worst nightmare), who's in cahoots with a renegade Starfleet admiral (Anthony Zerbe, in one of his final screen roles). They covet the fountain-of-youth power of the Ba'ku planet, but because their takeover plan violates Starfleet's Prime Directive of noninterference, it's up to Picard & crew to stop the scheme. Along the way, they all benefit from the metaphasic effect, which manifests itself as Worf's puberty (visible as a conspicuous case of Klingon acne), Picard's youthful romance with a Ba'ku woman (the lovely Donna Murphy), the touching though temporary return of Geordi's natural eyesight, and a moment when Troi asks Dr. Crusher if she's noticed that her "boobs are firming up."

Some fans scoffed at these humorous asides, but they're what make this Trek film as entertaining as it is slightly disappointing. Without the laughs (including Data's rousing excerpt from Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore), this is a pretty routine entry in the franchise, with no real surprises, a number of plot holes, and the overall appearance of a big-budget TV episode. As costar and director, Jonathan Frakes proves a capable carrier of the Star Trek flame--and it's nice to see women in their forties portrayed as smart and sexy--but while this is surely an adequate Trek adventure, it doesn't quite rank with the best in the series. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

Reviews (393)

3-0 out of 5 stars Is This Supposed To Be A Film? Write A Good Film For Once!!
Granted this film had the best morals and provoking thoughts than any film to date but who does paramount think they are making this cheese wagon of a film and trying to pass it off for a movie? Everyone associated with star trek need to be fired away from it except for ira stephen behr as someone wrote earlier who made ds9 one of t.v.'s greatest series. Yes folks-special effects have a lot to do by making a movie or episode entertaining-and so do battles in space or on the ground. People like war-look at 2, 6, and 8- duh! the best films in th series. As for Paramounts plans to dump all of the current casts for the next movie and series, dont do it or you will kill off whats left of your fan base. I had so much expectations for this film especially when i saw the trailers-- and now I cant forgive paramount for disappointing me so badly. Well- Jar Jar Episode 1 wasn't all that good either but at least it was entertaining unlike Trek 8 with its "here take this humor and like it no matter what" attempt at comedy. Action? What action? And what the heck is the deal with the Joystick Frakes?! Talk about embarassing to be a trek fan! If Voyager doesnt come around like DS9 Did in its 3rd season this upcoming Fall- I'm a Trek fan no more. Heres a story idea Paramount: Borg/Dysons Sphere/Dominion/make like Starwars and destroy the Federation and bring it back stronger than ever in a 125year later from the current timeline movie. Duh!! and Paramount, get rid of Berman and Moore and Braga- they ruined this saga and so are you if you dont wake up!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Lighten up, fellow Star Trek fans!
In a TV series, especially a sci-fi series, you expect a certain number of shoot-em-up shows. You expect to see our heroes conquer evil aliens while overcoming seemingly impossible odds. but will someone please show me where in the rulebook it says every show should be about this? Some of the original series and TNG's best shows were about political, romantic, and/or humorous exploits of our favorite characters. "The trouble with Tribbles" is almost always in a listing of the top 5 shows whenever TV guide or simply a group of trekkies talk about their favorites, and "The city on the edge of Forever" won a Hugo for crying out loud and neither one of them were slashed with phaser fire. Yes, Insurrection may have been a little uneven in spots plotwise but I've not seen any you could drive a semi through. And the central theme of the displacing of a small group of people to satisfy the demands of a larger group as being a terrible injustice as well as a clear violation of Trek's prime directive is right on par with the overall vision of Star Trek. I don't think Roddenberry will turn over in his grave because of this one and neither should a true Trek fan get all disappointed just because the Borg, the Romulans, the Dominion or any other "traditional" Star Trek villian is not involved. In fact, I think this film breaks the so-called legacy of "odd-numbered" trek films being not so good as "even-numbered" films. No, Insurrection is no "Wrath of Khan" but it is a solid entry in the series. After all, Johnathan Frakes himself said they wanted to have to have some fun with this one and I think they accomplished that while still making an entertaining movie that lives up to Star Trek's ideals.

3-0 out of 5 stars STAR TREK Lightens Things Up A Bit, To Mixed Results...
For STAR TREK: INSURRECTION (1998), unfortunately famous for Data saying the ultimate cheesy one-liner, "Lock & Load" (*cringe*), Jonathan "Two-Takes" Frakes, back in the director's chair, makes the atmosphere decidedly lighter. That's a good thing; however, after all is said and done in this, the ninth installment in the legendary STAR TREK film saga (and the third one featuring the "Next Generation" cast of characters), there is really not much meat on the bone. In this episode, which begins jarringly with a sudden murderous rampage by a malfunctioning android Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner, in not one of his finer moments as an actor here), the crew of the Enterprise "E" have beamed down to Planet Ba'ku and rather quickly become familiar with the peaceful residents of this planet. This planet is nicknamed "Paradise," correctly so because it has magical regenerative powers which prevent its people from aging and dying. These people, numbering only 600, are peaceful and seem to have a kind of neo-religious quality to their personalities, as they live in total harmony with nature and openly reject any kind of technology. (This leads to what is probably the best scene in the entire movie, as the Enterprise is revealed to be camouflaged to blend in with the lush surroundings!)

Anyway, as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (the always-wonderful Patrick Stewart) begins to get friendly with one of the eligible female Ba'ku residents, and Commander Will Riker (Frakes) and Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) get friendlier with each other (leading to a surprisingly sensual hot-tub scene), there is trouble brewing in Paradise: an incredibly ugly band of aliens known as the So'na, led by the especially monstrous Ru'afo (F. Murray Abraham), who intends to displace the peace-loving Ba'ku residents and take over the planet for themselves, so as to de-uglify themselves (I'm not making this up). Not only that, but they are given full authority to do so by a suspicious Federation admiral (Anthony Zerbe, in his final film role). Because this order clearly violates the Prime Directive (which forbids the interfering of any sovereign planetary civilization), this puts Capt. Picard & crew into a conundrum: do they follow orders like good little Starfleet soldiers or do they uphold the Prime Directive to protect these peacemongers? Put it to you this way: Based on the title alone, plus what you know about the Next Generation characters, what do you THINK they will do??? Duh...Lock & Load!!!

Jonathan Frakes had an obviously daunting task: following up the incredible STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT (1996), one of the very best in the entire STAR TREK film saga. STAR TREK: INSURRECTION looks really nice (the visuals are, once again, truly amazing), but alas, there is not really much to care about here. F. Murray Abraham is one of the finest actors of our time, but he must have really needed the money in order to agree to fill a role in which he's not only unrecognizable, but also the recipient of the worst movie makeover in recent big-screen history. STAR TREK: INSURRECTION is certainly not the worst STAR TREK film ever made (that honor would unquestioningly go to the William Shatner-directed misfire STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER), but it's definitely not among the best. See it if you're a fan.

MODERATELY RECOMMENDED; AGES 10 & UP

4-0 out of 5 stars It Takes Six...
The rule of odds and evens continues to apply in Star Trek Insurrection. Being the second true Next Generation film it is a must-see for fans.

The film opens with scenes on a tranquil, agricultural planet. Then things heat up as we run into Data and some Federation personnel. It seems they are observing the tranquil society in what is called Operation Duck Blind (the inhabitants don't know they are being looked at). From there we run into the rest of the main cast and the plot begins to develop. It involves a malfunction Data experiences while assisting at Operation Duck Blind that results in the mission being compromised.

As the crew of the Enterprise investigate what went wrong with Data they begin to raise more and more questions. As the main plot is revealed the crew must band together and stand up for what they feel is right. In the end the crew triumphs (did we really think it would be otherwise?).

This is really not a film for people who are not already fans of the show as it is the way the characters act and their personal interactions that makes the film so entertaining. Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis seem to have a tremendously fun time with this film. Fans are treated to some great scenes of their favorite characters (although Gates McFadden was not particularly important). We even learn some more about Data's design and operation. But do not be misled by the title and the trailer, the scenes are all there but in the trailer they tell a much different story.

There are a few technical problems in the movie but you don't really think about them until afterwards. These include small things like not being able to count (claiming two slave races and showing three), the Federation is pretty stupid (giving membership to a race that has just managed warpdrive but only has been around for less than a hundred years, has only six members and seems to have better ships). There is the inevitable total ignorance of nebulae and what they are and just how not dense they are. But these are all minor things that don't jump out as the movie progresses.

So if you are a Next Generation fan and want to see the crew back together in a story that is really just a long, but very good, episode, then you really should take the opportunity to see this one. On a final note it passes Lynch's Law for a successful Next Generation episode in that it does not rely on techno-babble to drive or advance the plot but uses situation, character and emotion for fuel instead.

2-0 out of 5 stars Star Trek Takes a Nap
Star Trek:
Insurrection

If your looking for a movie to watch in your spare time, Star Trek Insurrection is a decent movie but definitely not one of my favorites. Starring Patrick Stewart as Jean Luc Picard and directed by Jonathan Frakes, this movie goes face first into face stretching action,literally.

Though not as exciting as First Contact, it still provides the cheesy action of an old guy [ Jean Luc] climbing in dangerous places with a big phaser rifle shooting aliens. I think it's funny because in this movie, two gramps meet and fight to the finish. One's got a facial problem [the bad guy], the other a mental problem, what kind of 70 year old man would think himself strong enough to fight wars?

I might suggest this movie to people who like to watch people from a nursing home duke it out. They never learned not to play with guns either. It's pure entertainment for people that like to watch strange movies and laugh at them.

The camera work could have been better. Towards the end, it doesn't show much of the enemy ship, there isn't much of an inside of a ship to see though. The special effects were all right, but the phasers looked kind of fake to me.

One scene made the movie purely messed up to me. Jean Luc runs around an enemy ship firing a phaser, right after that he says, " If you fire your phaser, you risk igniting your ship, you wouldn't risk that would you?" [The guy he was chasing is one of the old gramps I mentioned earlier]. Isn't that stupidly cheesy?

I don't under stand why everybody except the captain always wears the same stuff. The captain wears a dress suit and regular clothes but the rest of the crew always wears the same old red suit. All the Ba'ku wear different stuff.

Star Trek Insurrection is rated PG-13. I say a lot of people would like this movie. For other people though, it gets really annoying.

Anomynous ... Read more


15. The Silencers
Director: Phil Karlson
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Sales Rank: 13356
Average Customer Review: 3.06 out of 5 stars
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2-0 out of 5 stars Censorship and bad cropping give Helm hell!
I've waited many years to see this fearsome foursome of cheese find a decent release in DVD. Sadly, thanks to bad cropping and seemingly random censorship, it still hasn't happened yet.

The four films are, of course, The Silencers, Murderers' Row, The Ambushers, and The Wrecking Crew. (A fifth intallment was storeyboarded but never shot.)

Letting the studio off the hook by saying things like "widescreen areas always crop full frame versions," is being much too gracious in the face of these money-grabbing studio weasels who also CUT entire parts of the film and never even gave you an original trailer.

And I should know about the widescreen concept, since I am, after all, the chairman of the WWS - the Widescreen Watchers Society. (Yes, my organization has a movie site online, but an Amazon review is not the place to plug it by posting links to it.)

Rather I just wanted to point out that it is instead within the "full frame" or "standard screen" format that all cropping takes place. The most dominant style is pan-and -scan, which is done by zooming in on whatever the TV film editor decides is the most important area on screen at any given moment.

That's why you often end up with the ridiculous sight of one person chattering happily away to the air for long periods of time, since you can't see the other person he's talking to. And because of the zoom effect, naturally you also get a more blurred focus on the overall picture.

But a presentation in widescreen, whether it be a regular rectangle (Vista-Vision style) or a more narrow rectangle (Panavison style), or somewhere in between, never crops and/or zooms in after the fact at any point - resulting in a vast difference of ultimate picture composition in crystal clarity, giving you the best total viewing experience possible - which is why the original director filmed it that way for its theatrical release in the first place!

How today's studios stamping out inferior DVDs think the public will never notice such a huge difference is completely mind-boggling! And who buys most of the DVDs of older movies anyway? Film buffs who are very picky about such things to begin with!

RECOMMENDATION: Wait until all four films are put out together in an improved deluxe edition - TRUE widescreen (non-cropped and non-censored), featuring behind the scenes featurettes (which they shot back in the '60s as long commercials for such films), surviving crew interviews, trailers, etc. Otherwise, forget it.

Hey, Rat Pack fans - or just fans of Dean Martin in general - you know ol' Dino deserves far BETTER than this shoddy treatment! Mama mia!

5-0 out of 5 stars Funniest spy spoof ever
Although I loved reading James Bond books and Matt Helm books, I also enjoyed the first movies of those books very much. After "Thunderball" 007 moved further away from the book each new movie. In the meantime I discovered Matt Helm on film. The first film was a very humorous impression of the book "The Silencers". Dean Martin, to me, was a very good choice for the Helm-figure. His jokes appealed to me, especially the autoradio-joke on his own hit-music. Also the joke with the reverse-firing gun takes care of some fun. But I must admit: Stella Stevens' appearance was the real finishing touch. I still have a clear image in my mind (after 33 years) of the scene where Helm tears off her dress in the hotel room. I guess it must be considered now a typical 60's movie, but reviewing it will undoubtedly amuse you again. If so ... you could also try other Helm-movies, especially "The ambushers", and another amusing Spy spoof, with James Coburn, called "Derek Flint". You could even try Bond's own spoof "Casino Royale", but that's very much pop-art and confusing, next to being funny. Even if you don't like secret agents you can enjoy these movies. But ""The silencers" is the best as a try-out!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Silencers Revisited
Dean Martin's Matt Helm and James Coburn's Derek Flint were both well done serio-comic Superspies in the James Bond genre. While the two Flint flicks have been available on DVD for some time, The Silencers is the first Matt Helm film to make it to DVD. After watching The Silencers, my only question is--When will the rest of the Matt Helm movies be available on DVD?

1-0 out of 5 stars Glad I Read Reviews
As much as I would like to have this movie on DVD, I would
not buy this issue because of the reviews posted here. When
are studios going to get it? We don't want DVD issues of movies
that are sub-standard or something that is different than
theatrical release.

5-0 out of 5 stars A word about The Silencers.
This is a very nice transfer to DVD and only appears cropped to other reviewers because this is the way audiences saw it in the theater almost forty years ago. The 1.85:1 widescreen area is indeed cropping the full frame but the cropped area was never meant to be seen. Only television introduced the full frame area to viewers. To fully understand this one must discard his ignorance of projected film formats and do some research in this area. That way, a decent film to video transfer like this one won't receive such bad billing and we can all be happy! ... Read more


16. I Come in Peace
Director: Craig R. Baxley
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
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Asin: 6301885538
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 14246
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lundgren's Best
This is by far Dolph Lundgren's best movie. He has often came across a bit stiff in his movies as Arnold Schwarzenegger did in some of his first films like Commando. In this movie Lundgren seems comfortable and it shows. I think Dolph Lundgren and Brian Benben were a good match up here. The chemistry is like putting Devito with Schwarzenegger in "Twins". Add in Lundgren's love interest, Betsy Brantley, one really mean alien played by Matthias Hues, and you have a great cast. This movie has an excellent story line, good direction, and super sets and music. There is plenty of action and the movie has a nice pace. Add in some really cool weapons, and lookout. When two aliens that look human land on the planet there is never a dull moment. One of the aliens extracts endorphines from humans as a drug for other aliens. The other alien that has landed on Earth is a lawman and was sent to track the drug dealer. He will need Lundgren's and Benben's help to catch him. Throw in the fact that the alien drug dealer takes on drug dealers on Earth and you have non stop action. Don't miss this movie. Any fan of the TV series "Miami Vice", or the movies "Predator" and "Blade Runner", should like it. It's like they combined some Police versus drug dealers with some strange aliens thrown in to the mix with some great supporting roles. I love Caine's friend at the University, but he needs to switch to decaf instead of all that Jolt or whatever he's drinking. I can't believe they haven't put this on DVD yet. I will snap it up when they do.

4-0 out of 5 stars Classic Lundgren doing what he does best kicking.......
Dolph lundgren and Brian Benben star as two cops on the trail of an alien killer who is harvesting endorphins using them as drugs,This is a cut above Alien invasions thanks to wit and nifty action scenes. I Come In Peace was directed by Craig R. Baxley (A former stuntman) and he directs ICIP with panache and style and the action setpieces are fun to watch as Dolph Lundgren and Matthias Hues stalk each other in a landscape of urban hell.........the title is for a follow up of one of Lundgren's best lines...........And you go in pieces..... I Come In Peace is one of those movies to watch on one of those rainy days where nothing is on TV. I Come In Peace's humor is so refreshing and the action so well staged you'll be glued to boobtube!

5-0 out of 5 stars Awsome!
I think this movie deserves an Academy Award for science fiction action drama(if there was one).I mean,why should a stupid film like Chicago get an award and not an awsome movie like this one.I've never seen a film about a drug addicted alien that comes to Earth in search of a fix and a kill until I watched "I Come in Peace" back in the early 90's.It's very well acted and you get to like the characters very much.Forget about all of the negetive comments that are given to this rare sci-fi movie and add it to your collections as soon as possible.

5-0 out of 5 stars Where's the DVD version?
This is a cult-classic sci-fi movie. Suspenseful, clever and action-packed. It needs to be immortalized on a DVD!

5-0 out of 5 stars Jimi Hendrix with a dryer full of TI-DIYED shirts
I saw this movie when it first came out in the theatres in around 1990. I was only eight years old back then. My brother's friend who saw the showing before me said that it scared him and asked if i was sure that I wanted to see it. Well, i saw it and was glad that i did. When i was growing up, Dolph Lundgren was a movie star. I remember his movies like Red Scorpion, Master of the Universe, The punisher, A view to a kill, and this one. This movie is the best out of the bunch for sure. Brian Benben and Dolph have really good chemistry, but Benben should be smart enough to trust Kane(Lundgren) rather than his shady FBI superiors. Mgm always makes out of this world, entertaining movies and this is one of the great ones. Make this a DVD. I love the part where Kane goes into Warren and the whiteboys' office building and kicks the crap out of three punks who try to stop him from interrupting the bad guys meeting. SEE THIS MOVIE IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!! ... Read more


17. It Came from Outer Space
Director: Jack Arnold
list price: $9.98
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Asin: 6303046436
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 18805
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (41)

4-0 out of 5 stars They Came From Outer Space is a bit more accurate
I love old movies. They are an entertaining glimpse into who we thought we were filtered through a fun house history mirror. It Came From Outer Space was a great movie when I was a kid. Like The Day The Earth Stood Still Bradbury's original film treatment focused on character and suspense at the expense of bug eyed monsters. The final film (changed from the original conception of Bradbury and director Jack Arnold) does have the BEMs but, luckily, Universal didn't evisorate the characters and thought provoking plot that drove the film.

Amateur astronomer John Putnam (the reliable and stoic Richard Carlson)witnesses what he believes to be a meteor striking the desolate desert surrounded his small town. It turns out to be -- surprise!--alien's with a major blow out that has incapacitated their space ship. These Xenomorphs begin to kidnap the locals and replacing them so that they can get the materials to repair their ship and keep a lid Carlson's wild story about their arrival.

Jack Arnold's subtle direction works wonders with the budget and the 3-D format. He manages to create a film that has aged exceedingly well. Bradbury's original concept is mostly intact as well. In fact, it sounds like screenwriter Harry Essex may have incorporated dialog from Bradbury's treatment largely intact during a number of important scenes.

It benefits from being create in the wake of The Day The Earth Stood Still and it also benefits from its unusual setting (the Desert). Sadly, I can't wholeheartedly recommend this DVD. Universal has done a great job of restoring this classic film. Unfortunately, they don't offer the option of viewing it in 3-D. That's a pity as Arnold made effective use of the gimmick using a number of subtle tricks (and a couple of dramatic ones as well) to artfully blend the 3-D format with the narrative of the film. Since It is presented on a dual layer disc, I'm surprised that Universal didn't figure out a way to present the film in it's element. Unfortunately, some of the film's most powerful sequences suffer from the flat presentation here. Given the extra effort that went into the restoration and the extras, it's a pity that Universal didn't go the extra mile and present this fine film in the format it worked best in.

The extras including the documentary (The Universe According to Universal)includes interviews with illustrator/collector Vincent Di Fate, film historians and collectors (such as Bob Burns). All discuss the circumstances around the making of the film as well as the impact it had when it was presented in its original format. Additionally, they bring up the little known fact that the creatures were never seen in the original cut that Jack Arnold prepared. Universal executives went back and took reshot a couple of sequences with shots of the aliens. While this doesn't work against the film, it would have been much more powerful with the aliens presence only suggested via Arnold's idea of showing the alien-human encounters from the alien's point of view.

The photograph and poster gallery is interesting but hardly essential and the production notes informative about the cast and Arnold. The documentary will probably show up in a number of variations on other Universal science fiction and horror thrillers coming to DVD. Perhaps This Island Earth (Universal's attempt to make a picture on the scale of MGM's Forbidden Planet)will eventually be re-released to DVD with the same care. A bit of trivia on This Island Earth--Jack Arnold isn't credited but he directed many of the scenes involving the aliens and their world.

Regardless of this reissues shortcomings, It is an impressive package for the most part. It's a pity that Universal missed their opportunity to reissue this minor classic the right way the first time on DVD.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hey, Goober - Could You Pass Me That Lug Wrench?
Ray Bradbury pens passable '50s sci-fi fare, but it's not what everyone cracks it up to be. The movie is more fun than actually good, but definitely worth a watch.

B-movie vet Richard Carlson has his not-quite-love-match with the always wonderful Barbara Rush interrupted by a flaming meteorite, near his gorgeous desert home. Faster than he can light a pipe and don a houndstooth jacket, professorly Carlson goes out to investigate. The thing is too hot to approach - and big, too.

But that's hardly the greatest of his worries. Before long, many of the townsfolk are acting unusually, and Carlson finds his tracks dogged by these zombie doppelgangers of their former selves (including the Professor from Gilligan's Island, Russell Johnson, himself). He figures out that the meteorite was actually a crashing space ship, and eventually manages to meet face-to-face with...well, a pretty horrible 3-D thing, living with its buddies in a nearby abandoned mine shaft. The aliens really aren't all that friendly - they're just not hostile, eager to get their ship repaired with their rented zombie-human space-car mechanics and escape this backward berg. The usual "Earthling, Beware!" zany hijinks ensue.

This is not a great movie. But it is a good one. The cast is good, the script adequate. The special effects aren't great, but they are at least interesting, and the atmosphere is pretty spooky. It's a lot of fun in 3-D, if you ever get a chance to see it in its original format.

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good!
When I first saw this film last November, I was expecting your average alien film where people are attacked by hostile aliens. Was I ever wrong! Instead of hostile aliens, you have aliens who landed on earth by mistake and have to shapeshift into human beings so they can get the necessary tools and supplies they need to repair their ship.
The acting is very good although Carlson's acting seems to get a little low at some points. Overall, a great film that is worth at least a look.

4-0 out of 5 stars An early Sci-Fi Gem from the fifties...
The great thing about 1950's sci-fi movies is the way in which they took the psychological fallout from the Soviet-USA Cold War confrontation that dominated the decade (paranoia, McCarthyism and the "Red Scare", fear of the atomic bomb), and turned it into edgy science fiction that's unlike any present-day moviemaking. Some of these relatively low-budget films were awful, but others have stood the test of time to become classics of the genre. One of the best is 1953's "It Came From Outer Space", which features a great plot, solid acting, and is based on a story created by the great Ray Bradbury, one of the best sci-fi writers of his generation. Richard Carlson, who also starred in several other classic sci-fi films of the fifties, is John Putnam, an amateur astronomer and scientist who lives in the desert outside a small town in Arizona. The townsfolk consider John to be a loner and something of an oddball, but he does enjoy the love of Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush), a pretty schoolteacher who thinks that he can do no wrong. John's relationship with Ellen has earned him the ire of the town's sherriff (Charles Drake), a down-to-earth, cowboy-type fellow who can't understand Putnam's interest in "weird" things like science and astronomy and who wants Ellen for himself. One evening both John and Ellen watch as a huge meteor crashes near an old mine outside of town. The next day they investigate the meteor's crater, but only John makes it to the bottom, where he sees a large spaceship which is promptly buried in a landslide which nearly engulfs him as well. Ellen believes his story, but others are doubtful and laugh at him, and even the local radio stations make fun of him. However, events soon begin to convince even the skeptical sherriff that something odd is afoot, especially when several townspeople begin to act in bizarre ways, such as speaking and behaving in a zombie-like manner and staring directly at the sun for long periods of time. As it turns out, the "townspeople" are actually aliens from the buried spaceship, and the real humans have been abducted by them - including Ellen! Although the sherriff and some other townsfolk wish to attack the aliens (out of fear and paranoia), Putnam suspects that the aliens are actually peaceful and only want to repair their spaceship and leave. I won't give away anymore of the plot, but the storyline of "It Came From Outer Space" actually is decades ahead of its time, and strongly resembles modern sci-fi (such as "Star Trek") in showing that even strange "aliens" are not always hostile and can be peaceful if given a chance. This attitude comes directly from the stories of Ray Bradbury (for example, "The Martian Chronicles"), where aliens aren't always the bad guys and humans aren't always the good guys. It's this moral complexity that makes "It Came From Outer Space" stand out from the other (and often more simplistic) sci-fi films of the decade. As an added bonus, the DVD set of this film will be a delight to all fifties sci-fi movie buffs. It has a short documentary entitled "The Universe According to Universal" showing how "It Came From Outer Space" and other fifties sci-fi movies were made, the theatrical trailer, and a commentary by film historian Tom Weaver. Overall, this DVD set is well worth the money, IMO. Recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars It Came, It Saw, It Left...
Richard Carlson (Creature From The Black Lagoon) stars as an intense astronomer who witnessess a "meteor" crash in the desert near his home. Along with Barbara Rush, he investigates the crater left by the impact. In it he finds a hexagonal doorway, that belongs to a now buried spacecraft. In the craft is a being, best described as a giant, hairy, big-toe with an eyeball where the toenail should be. Carlson's character gets out as an avalanche almost crushes him with it's paper-mache boulders! No one believes him (duh) and he is soon regarded as a nut. Two telephone co. linemen (one played by Gilligan's proffessor Russell Johnson) are possessed by the alien presence, and become monotone-speaking zombies. It turns out that rather than an invasion, the extraterrestrials are simply lost. They're just trying to fix their ship before we locate it and destroy them! Can Richard Carlson save them from the angry mob, including a hot-headed sheriff? ICFOS is a classic 50s paranoia gem. Extra points for Barbara Rush in her ... evening-wear! And, check out that blonde in the sheriff's office (whose boyfriend comes up missing). I'd watch her in anything... ... Read more


18. The Fifth Element
Director: Luc Besson
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
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Asin: 0800103106
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 12875
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

Ancient curses, all-powerful monsters, shape-changing assassins, scantily-clad stewardesses, laser battles, huge explosions, a perfect woman, a malcontent hero--what more can you ask of a big-budget science fiction movie? Luc Besson's high-octane film incorporates presidents, rock stars, and cab drivers into its peculiar plot, traversing worlds and encountering some pretty wild aliens. Bruce Willis stars as a down-and-out cabbie who must win the love of Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) to save Earth from destruction by Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman)and a dark, unearthly force that makes Darth Vader look like an Ewok. --Geoff Riley ... Read more

Reviews (535)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wild, Giddy Space Opera...
The story goes that director Luc Besson began writing THE FIFTH ELEMENT in his teens, incorporating all the Sci-Fi elements he loved into one over-the-top, grand space opera...sort of an "E.E. 'Doc' Smith 'Skylark' Meets Flash Gordon and Barbarella" hybrid with sex, intergalactic action, and even some pseudo-religious overtones tossed in...in other words, a teenage daydream come true! Critics panned the end result for this very reason, sneering at Bruce Willis' Earth-saving (yet again!) Korben Dallas, and Besson's then-girlfriend, clothing-optional Milla Jovovich, as the innocent demigod, Leeloo.

The critics were wrong!

THE FIFTH ELEMENT is, in the best sense of the word, a classic 'B' movie, a space opera where a prologue vaguely similar to STARGATE leads to a future Earth where traffic jams occur thirty stories above the ground, humanity is ruled by beefy 'Tiny' Lister Jr., and where the Ultimate Evil is served by everyone's favorite villain, Gary Oldman, sporting a Southern accent! If this DOESN'T convince you that this is a 'popcorn' flick, not to be taken too seriously, there is Chris Tucker, sporting a blond hairdo, as the Galaxy's favorite media personality, promoting himself as he hits on his adoring female fans; Ian Holm, as the monk who knows 'the Secret', forced, despite himself, to become an active participant in the adventure; and some of the most ... ugly alien mercenaries you'll ever see, terrorizing a space resort, until they meet their match in Bruce Willis' 'DIE HARD in Space' protagonist! Yippee-Ki-Yay, indeed!

The FX are astonishing, the comedy, broad and sly, the heroics, macho, and as Leeloo, sent to save Earth, Jovovich manages to be both naive and sexy, with broken English and a gymnast's grace.

Bruce Willis is a joy, as always, to watch, and he carries the film with charm and self-depreciating humor, whether dealing with endless phone calls from his mother, driving his sky taxi recklessly (cabbies change very little in the future!), taking on terrorists single-handed, or falling for the exotic Leeloo. When he blows away a roomful of hostage-holding aliens, then asks, "Does anyone else want to negotiate?", you KNOW Besson picked the right guy for the lead!

If you want Profound Science Fiction, watch 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY again...but if you want to kick back and just have fun, look not further...THE FIFTH ELEMENT delivers!

5-0 out of 5 stars Star Wars Fans can love this movie too!
I grew up with Star Wars, and still love it today, but times, tastes and styles do change. It doesn't make one "better" than another, just different. I, for one, absolutely love this movie! It's fun, flashy, thin in spots and hopelessly romantic, but also very positive about the future (if a bit crowded). Futuristic New York is enough to give you vertigo! The visuals, set designs, aliens and costumes are amazing - if you don't like this movie's look, you are probably dead.

Mila makes Leeloo "perfect" as the Supreme Being out to protect all mankind - innocent and wise all at once; and you just can't fault Bruce for doing what he does so well, a cynical wisecracking working stiff just looking for that "one perfect woman". But the secondary characters are what truly makes this one fun: "Weddings?" - Ian Holm delivers classic straight lines and Chris Tucker is just high-energy comedy as Ruby Rhodd (that trashy radio guy) - I roll on the floor every time I watch this - and it's definitely one to watch over and over for the incredible detail and sheer visual magic.

Buy widescreen and see the whole thing!

5-0 out of 5 stars QUITE A TRIP
It's entirely possible that Luc Besson was on some kind of drugs when he scripted this way-out, wacky, but extremely entertaining scifi thriller. His vision of the future is both impeccably original and wildly humorous. Cars spinning through space; police cars that still squeal tires when there's nothing to squeal them on! Like a wild video game, the vision of this future is great.
Bruce Willis is fine as Corbin Dallas; he evinces his usual cool macho, with that underlying bit of sensitivity. Milla Jovovich, red hair and all, does a good job in conveying the enthusiasm, innocence and naivete of the newly born. Notice the sadness in her eyes as she views the word "War"; her reactions are poignant. Gary Oldman as Zorg is all out ham and he pulls it off, showing what a versatile actor he is. The usually stoic Ian Holm has never been livelier than in his role as Father Cornelius. He looks like he's having the time of his life and after all the stuffy, laconic roles he's played, he cuts loose and is wonderful. And Chris Tucker---what a character. Tucker is manic, frantic and annoying---but he is also very very funny. I haven't laughed like that in a long time. Note too the capable performances of Tiny Lister (usually a mindless body bag) and Brion James (also a lot looser than in his usually villainous roles).
THE FIFTH ELEMENT is a strange movie indeed, but I found it to be one of the most unusual scifi films in some time.

2-0 out of 5 stars Silly.
If only they had another director (perhaps Ridley Scott, using a little "Blade Runner" flair), this movie could have had the potential to be very good. Instead, director Luc Besson ("Leon," aka: "The Professional") chose to formulate this sophomoric piece of sour eye-candy that even the geekiest science fiction aficionado would despise. Aside from the poor direction, Hudson Hawk paired with an androgynous (and extraordinarily annoying) Chris Tucker sidekick, is enough to drive anyone to mercilessly strangle a kitten.

2-0 out of 5 stars the unperfect movie
Give me a break! Milla Jovovich as the perfect woman, a god?! This movie would have not seen the light of day if she was a black woman. I mean there are far better looking white women than this lady, indeed, in a white mans world, would such a film be fashioned in the way that it has been. Outside of the whole white supremacy view, I thought this movie was koo with its special effects, although Judge Dredd did the same exact scenery in its earlier day, so, nothing new in that department. I also didnt care for how the black man was depicted as a wimpy feminine sambo, but this is what white america views as a great film, who cares if they made Tiny lister a black president, that was probably the only good thing about the whole cast arrangement, thats if that didnt have some personal insult to it as well. lmao! The insecurities of ppl who are in denial about such, will always be revealed in some way. As this movie made so brutally clear, dont get me wrong, racist ppl do not bother me in the least bit, I just like show them up, on their hidden agenda's, say what u want, but I would have prefered the perfect being to be nonhuman, as our species has proven to be something less than perfect, to say the least. pun intended ... Read more


19. Dark City
Director: Alex Proyas
list price: $14.94
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Asin: 0780622545
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 18338
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (353)

4-0 out of 5 stars original? no... but stylish as hell
Dark City seems to me to sum up an entire universe of sci-fi and third-stream movies in which reality is not what it appears. This movie brings in influences from Blade Runner (the most obvious influence), Barton Fink (whence the seedy hotel), The City of Lost Children (the "strangers" are VERY similar to the "cyclopes"--I could almost picture their leader saying "j'ai vu un monde qui était un monde de chien!"--and they even use the phrase "lost children" at one point; also, the vials that contain synthesized memories look a lot like the probosces of Marcello's robotic fleas), Brazil (possibly the origin of Dark City's lost-in-time feeling), The Crow (same director, thus a similar direction style), Twelve Monkeys (one man manipulated by a faceless committee...), The Nightmare Before Christmas (Tim Burton likes spirals too), and even to some extent Lost Highway (notably in the cinematic treatment of half-remembered images), although that only came out a year earlier. There are also hints at earlier things--film noir, Peter Lorre. So while it's not original, and certainly not perfect, this movie seems to combine all those aspects into a single coherent whole, which is rather impressive. The plot is revealed well, and doesn't have too many holes in it. Certain scenes when John starts to figure out what's going on are really chilling. And the movie manages to have a happy ending that's not stupid! I couldn't believe it. And of course, the cinematography is beautiful.

I'd also like to mention that the Matrix is very clearly a rip-off of Dark City, using the same basic concept (a group of superior beings that control our perception of reality), a lot of the same imagery (people who don't rely on gravity), and a very similar pre-climactic scene. The Matrix, however, undermines itself with a lot of pointless fight scenes, truckloads of inconsistencies, revealing everything too soon, and Keanu Reeves. Dark City is a far better movie.

4-0 out of 5 stars Better than Amazon thinks
Dark City may have been one of those pictures you never got around to seeing at the theater. And you may have planned to rent it at one time but forgotten. It's a terribly under-rated movie--maybe because it defies easy genre classification. Dark City isn't science fiction in the popular Aliens or Star Wars sense, nor is it horror, nor is it the detective flick it starts out as.

However Dark City is a very compelling film with a terrific premise and a well plotted story. There are complaints on this board that the characters are too one-dimensional, but this in fact is critical to the way the story unfolds for its main character, Murdoch. To be swayed from sampling this movie because of anyone's claim that the plot is excessively thin is to do yourself a diservice.

The effects in this film are universally impressive, but what's more, refreshingly integral to the story. Both the sound and the picture are fantastic. If you're able to watch this on a good television capable of deep blacks, you'll find yourself marveling at just how great DVD is all over again.

Be warned that some of the extras listed in the product description here are somewhat underwhelming. This "Platinum Edition" doesn't measure up to some of New Line's other "Platinum Edition" DVDs such as Boogie Nights or Magnolia. For example, the "Comparisons to Metropolis" feature is a wonderful idea, but is executed here with about as much thought as goes onto the back of a cereal carton.

Of the two alternate voice tracks, Roger Ebert's is actually the more insightful. The film makers' voice track is muddled with too many participants. You realize pretty quickly that the director, writers, production designers, and photographer recorded their comments separately. The unfortunate result is a disjointed and repetetive commentary track. No matter how you feel about Roger "the fat one" Ebert or about critics in general, he will teach you something you didn't know in his commentary track.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the last great films during the 20th century!
"Dark City" will be remembered as the film that bridged the film noir genre at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.

Alex Proyas directs a suspenseful story on the meaning of reality in a dark, foreboding dream world. As people go about their lives, almost no one notices something is seriously wrong with their world. Until one man wakes up alone, one fateful night.

John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) awakes in a hotel room to find he's lost most of his memories. Even worse, he may have committed a string of brutal murders against local prostitutes. Fleeing the crime scene, he finds himself pursued by not only the police, but also a mysterious cabal of cloaked men.

Assisted by a cowed doctor and a supportive woman who claims to be his wife, Murdoch learns the truth of the city, and its secret Masters, the Strangers.

The feature actors all give strong performances, as a confused Murdoch and a supportive Jennifer Connelly as Emma. Keifer Sutherland is impressive, especially when you contrast the cowardly Dr. Scheber vs. his characters from "The Lost Boys" or "24."

The sets are as compelling as the actors, and credit is due for the deliberate "retro" look of the city. Making of movie of this style look creative guts, and it paid off.

I just beg of the producers of the story one request: don't make a sequel, this story will always stand as a one and only!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Triumph
In a city covered in perpetual darkness a group of strange beings known as "The Strangers" attempt to understand what makes us human and identify what the soul is. These strangers change the city and erase peoples memories and assign them all new lives, but one of their specimens also has this unique power. Now he must save the day and prove that he's not a killer.

Much has been said about Dark City. Roger Ebert called it the best movie of 98. A visually stunning sci-fi/noir tale of a man who wakes up with no knowledge of who he is or how he got to where he is. From the opening narration by Dr. Schreber (Sutherland), we learn that is a world that only mirrors our own. The inhabitants are nothing more than guinea pigs for a group of "strangers from another solar system" to study. Schreber knows that Murdoch (Sewell) has the ability to "tune" where he can change things around him by concentrating. The strangers also have this power and use it to change the city and imprint the inhabitants with all knew lives to see what makes us tick. But they must first take care of Murdoch who they in the process of imprinting with the life of a serial killer. Then we meet Inspector Bumstead (William Hurt) and Emma (Connelly), the detective on the case and Murdoch's wife. He must learn who he really is, stop the strangers, and prove he is not a serial killer.

Dark City is a movie that's hard to forget, not only for its visuals but its great story and acting. Proyas (The Crow) gives us more of the same dark and dreary visuals from the The Crow, but in Dark City they are on a grander scale. Proyas delivers visuals with a flare and style all his own. Proyas and his writing team also delivered an original and brilliant story. The acting is dead on here too. Sewell is great as Murdock, Sutherland is amazing as the doctor, Hurt plays the hard edged copy well, and Connelly as usual looks great and is a hell of an actress. Throw all those elements together into an exhilarating comic book type flick and you have Dark City.

What you've heard about this flick is true. Its a masterpiece! A brilliant and beautiful film that you won't soon forget. It's not just a sci fi or a noir flick, its much more. Its a film about what makes us human. Although we are surrounded by darkness, the human spirit will triumph and that's just what Dark City is. A triumph.

4-0 out of 5 stars The myth of the ocean
Imagine a city that is always dark, that lives in eternal night. Imagine its inhabitants that are human beings whose memories have been erased and replaced by some borrowed recollections from other human beings, hence artificial. Imagine that city is being built and rebuilt every-« day » in that eternal night at what corresponds to midnight when everything stops, everyone goes to sleep and forgets everything to regain when waking up a newly arranged consciousness in a newly arranged environment that has been reorganized following the dreams or recollections of some human beings that are not even in this city. Imagine that all this is done by some extraterrestrial species that is testing the human race to see how they live and react. Then this city is nothing but a bubble in the middle of cosmic emptiness. The discovery of the extraterrestrials is that some humans can resist this process and then they stick to some dream of sunlight, a beach, the ocean, etc. And this dream will lead these human beings into breaking the bubble to go beyond this selfcontained city. That's the film. It is interesting but it remains rather superficial : a real human being always wants to escape a limited space or time that is imposed onto him or her.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU ... Read more


20. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers
Director: Fred F. Sears
list price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6303686850
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 6517
Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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A textbook example of '50s-era science fiction, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers boasts not only a solid script and competent performances, but some genuinely impressive stop-motion effects courtesy of one of the industry's uncontested masters, Ray Harryhausen. Scientist Hugh Marlowe (who faced a more benevolent invader from space five years earlier in The Day the Earth Stood Still) discovers that UFOs are responsible for the destruction of a series of exploratory space rockets launched by his space exploration project. The saucers' helmeted pilots land on Earth and deliver an ultimatum to humanity via Marlowe: fealty or complete annihilation.

Harryhausen's painstakingly intricate saucers and the destruction they wreak (particularly during an assault on Washington, D.C.) are the film's unquestionable highlights, but Marlowe and Joan Taylor (as his wife/partner) are capable leads, and veteran B director Fred F. Sears doesn't let the dialogue and expositional scenes fall apart in between the barrage of effects. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is a fun and effective slice of sci-fi that should please younger audiences as well as nostalgic return viewers. Sears later reused some of the effects footage for his jaw-droppingly awful 1957 effort, The Giant Claw. --Paul Gaita ... Read more

Reviews (54)

3-0 out of 5 stars Harryhausen Fun Factor
So far as story goes, the title says it all, and you won't find any brilliant performances, acclaimed writing, high-concept storylines, or big budgets here. But you will find Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion special effects, and that counts for a lot.

This is not among Harryhausen's more elaborate works--those would come a bit later in his career--but even so he creates some very interesting effects. Unlike most sci-fi efforts, including recent ones with computer-graphic effects, Harryhausen's flying saucers actually move in a way completely unlike anything you've seen anywhere, suggesting completely alien intelligence and machinery. In fact, the saucers are so interesting to watch they assume the role of the film's main character!

Kids weaned on Star Wars-style special effects will probably be bored by the film, and the even more forgiving fans of 1950s science-fiction flicks will find the over-all movie tepid. But the Harryhausen fun-factor cannot be denied, and fans of his work won't want to miss this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Flying Saucers! Paranoia! Aliens Attack!
_Earth vs. the Flying Saucers_ is vintage sci-fi from 1950s cold-war America. Plotwise, the title says it all.

The film's acknowledged highlights are the impressive special-effects sequences by stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen manages the difficult task of giving these flying saucers a personality of their own. In fact, these spinning machines display more nuance and character than any of the film's human actors. But perhaps that's as it should be. After all, if you plan to watch a film called _Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, you're not really looking for taut psychological drama.

The extras on this DVD are adequate, but no better. Two of the disc's three featurettes have been featured on other Harryhausen discs, so if you already own a title in the "Harryhausen Collection," you'll discover quite a bit of overlap. A photo gallery and some trailers round out the package.

P.S. The flying saucers (along with a good deal of the plot) in Tim Burton's hilarious _Mars Attacks!_ were lifted from this film. See the original first, and you'll get most of the jokes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining 50's scifi, with plenty of extras
"Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" is one of those movies that helped define the science fiction thriller of the 1950's. It features a lantern-jawed scientist as hero, his intelligent but doting love interest, and a very straightforward flying saucer invasion.

Like "Independence Day" the movie is a race against time -- the scientists and military must find a way to defeat the aliens before they succeed in their plan to conquer the Earth-- but "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" is a better movie than "Independence Day". It's leaner, meaner and better-written. And Ray Harryhausen's special effects still look great today.

And what a great, great job Columbia did with this disc. The film has been digitally cleaned up and presented in widescreen, and there are some great extras -- Joe Dante interviews Ray Harryhausen about the film, and there is a short promotional film about Harryhausen's Dynamation process. A commentary track would have been welcome, but for a B-movie from the 50's, this is above and beyond. Thanks to everyone at Columbia who made it possible.

3-0 out of 5 stars One of the movies spoofed by "Mars Attacks"
I went back and forth between 2 and 3 stars on this one. Basically, what this movie has going for it are the special effects by Ray Harryhausen, which were pretty advanced for their time ... but the plot is such a collection of cliches that it's hard to sit through, nearly 50 years out.

If you're a fan of 1950s s-f movies, or just want to see one of the movies that inspired "Mars Attacks," this is worth watching. Otherwise, skip it.

2-0 out of 5 stars It's easy to see why Ray does not like this movie....
It was a very difficult movie to make as Ray recounts in the making of featurette, He used models that were tedious to move one frame at a time, he was using cameras that could not photograph them correctly, he prefered using cameras with high speed filming abilities but the budget did not allow it. The budget for this movie was actually so low that he had to make all the models with the cheapest of materials. Glue, wood, plastic, and just hope they would last until filming was complete. It was a hard movie and much of this footage was used in later B-movies, a kind of insult to Ray, I belive. It's no wonder that he wanted to move toward making movies on stories on Greek Mythology afterward. ... Read more


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