Serenity (2005)

serenity

Simon rescues his psychic sister River and they take refuge aboard the firefly-class ship, Serenity. Because River had access to key members of Parliament, she may have been exposed to secrets and must be recovered.

Captain Malcolm (Mal) Reynolds and his crew live somewhat outside the law and eke a living robbing banks and smuggling.

In the movie, Mal takes River along with others to rob a bank but the reavers attack. This starts a space opera where they are in constant peril.

The movie is both a prequel (showing how Simon and River came to be on the ship) and a sequel, taking place after the last episode of the series.

I’ve only watched a couple of Firefly episodes and this movie makes me want to watch the whole show, beginning to end.

IMDB Score 8.0/10
Amazon Score 4.7/5

The Sender (1998)

sender

Well that was pointless.

A squadron of fighters encounter a UFO, have a short dogfight with a UFO fighter, and one of the US planes is shot down.

Years later the son of the downed pilot and his daughter are visited by an ET. The military finds out and kidnaps the girl and kills her father. But the dad is healed by the ET and now the military is after both of them.

Oh, and the daughter is a sender, capable of interstellar travel.

Pay attention to the IMDB Score, this movie was pretty pointless.

IMDB Score 3.9/10
Amazon Score 3.3/5

Seaquest DSV (1994)

seaquest-dsv

I think this is a TV movie filmed as a pilot for the TV Show Seaquest DSV 2032.

We are introduced to the captain, Nathan Bridger (Roy Scheider), and Lucas Wolenczak (Jonathan Brandis) right from the start. We also get introduced to the GELFs (daggers) who are genetically engineered soldiers who are held in a maximum security facility.

The GELFs stage a revolt, Seaman Piccolo tries to escape through the aqua tunnels and the seaQuest cruises to a distress beacon then heads to GELF island to subdue the population, then things get bad.

This is a good start to a solid television series, but I don’t get the part of Lucas.

IMDB Score 6.7/10
Amazon Score 4.7/5

Roswell (1994)

roswell

This is a TV movie with pretty good ratings. This is based on the book UFO Crash at Roswell and depicts the story of Major Jesse Marcel, who was on site at the original crash site in Roswell, New Mexico.

Marcel, despite being told by superiors that the debris found was a weather balloon, tries to piece together what really happened and what really crashed on a local ranch.

I was disappointed in this film.

IMDB Score 6.3
Amazon Score 4.8/5

Rocketship (Flash Gordon – 1936)

rocketship-flash=gordon

This is the first screen production of the original 13 episode serial titled Space Soldiers edited down to fit in an hour. Rocket Ship/Space Soldiers introduces the characters of Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, Dr. Alex Zarkov and Emperor Ming the Merciless.

A planet is rushing toward the Earth, it is up to Dr. Zarkov, Flash and Dale in Dr. Zarkov’s rocket ship to stop it.

Flash and Dale bail out of an airplane and land by Dr. Zarkov’s experimental rocket ship. With no place of safety on the Earth, the three take off in the rocket to the rogue planet (Mongo). After landing they are taken prisoner and flown to the Emperor where they learn that the planets won’t collide but Earth will be destroyed by other means.

The original serial features the entire story and is better to watch than this condensed movie.

IMDB Score 7.4/10
Amazon Score 4.4/5

RoboCop (1987)

robocop

“I’d buy that for a dollar!”

Officer Murphy just got transferred to Metro West, Detroit PD where the police are under contract at Omni Consumer Products (OCP), Security Concepts.

After the dismal failure of the Enforcement Droid 209 (ED-209), OCP decides on a part man, part machine enforcement product: RoboCop.

Enter officer Murphy who is gravely injured by some bank robbers on his first day at the new division.  When he dies in the emergency room, his body is repurposed by OCP.

When officer Lewis, Murphy’s old partner starts to suspect who RoboCop really is, she teams up with RoboCop and tries to get him to remember his old life as Murphy.

Meanwhile, RoboCop gets involved in the political infighting at OCP.

This is a good movie, but the ratings might be a little bit high.

IMDB Score 7.5/10
Amazon Score 4.4/5

Magician: Master (Riftwar Saga #2 – 1982)

magician-master

In part 2 of Magician, we rejoin Pug and Tomas.

Pug has been a slave to the Tsurani in Tsuranuanni for several years. Discovered by Hokanu, Pug and the troubadore, Laurie, are taken from the swamps and brought into the city for an unknown purpose. Well into his stay, a Great One visits and detects in Pug the power of magic. Pug is freed from being a slave and becomes the province of the Assembly.

Tomas has been with the Dwarves for years and in Elvandar. The dragon gift of the gold and white armor is changing him. Tomas has become the dearest hope of the Elf queen, and her direst fear. Meanwhile, is there a romance brewing between Tomas and the Elf queen?

Once again the reader is denied the details of magic by skipping over the training process that Pug goes through. This is disappointing.

Amazon Score: 4.7/5
Thrift Books: 4.5/5

Reign of Fire (2002)

reign-of-fire

In a future England, slumbering dragons want to reclaim the Earth as its masters.

In a mine, the boring drill hits a pocket, in it is discovered a real, live, fire-breathing dragon. Over a short period of time there are thousands of them and they are taking over the world. Man is driven into hiding, still trying to fight back.

This is not a sword and sorcery movie, it’s supposed to be a near-future/dinosaur movie.

This is the story of an enclave in England that is visited by some Americans with US military hardware.

The movie is a little thin on plot and not very satisfying.  It didn’t hold my interest.

IMDB Score 6.2/10
Amazon Score 3.7/5

Magician: Apprentice (The Riftwar Saga #1 -1982)

magician-apprentice

In the US, the Riftwar Saga is made up of 4 books:

  • Magician: Apprentice (This Review)
  • Magician: Master
  • Silverthorn
  • A Darkness at Sethanon

Pug is an orphan living in the keep. One day he is down at the seashore collecting the denizens of the tide pools for the kitchen. Being a glorious summer day, he pauses for a snooze, waking late so he hurries to get back to the keep before the gates are closed. Slipping on a rock he sprains his ankle. Barely escaping the rising tide he is soaked in a storm. In the forest by the road, he is saved from a charging boar by an approaching woodsman. Pug is take to the woodsman’s master’s cabin in the woods. The master turns out to be a magician.

This is all forgotten in the days leading up to The Choosing. At the Choosing, Tomas (his best friend) and he were the last to be chosen. When Tomas was chosen by the Swordmaster but not chosen himself, his heart sank. That was the last master, he wasn’t chosen. But then the magician stepped forward, he needed an apprentice as well. Pug was chosen by the magician. He was to be the Magician’s Apprentice. And this starts the adventure.

This is the Riftwar series and explores the invasion of the Tsurani Empire through a rift between dimensions. A bridge is created to allow rift travel and the citizens of Midkemia, with their horses and metal weapons battle the Tsurani on several fronts.

This first book was more rift war and less magic and that was disappointing. I’m interested in seeing what happens in the following books.

The first book is clearly the first half of a larger book. It ends precipitously, leaving Pug and Tomas hanging.

This book is a fast read and entertaining despite my disappointment.

Amazon Score: 4.4/5
Thrift Books: 5.0/5