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Steven Spielberg Presents Taken

290 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, the ten-episode, 20-hour miniseries Taken was one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by cable TV's Sci-Fi Network, ultimately costing 40 million dollars — a price that proved well worth it, inasmuch as the series posted the network's highest-ever ratings. Covering a period from 1947 to the present, the story focused on three different families, each of whom was profoundly affected by extraterrestrial visitation. The Keys family was headed by WWII bomber pilot Russell Keys (Steve Burton), who spent virtually his entire adult life haunted by his "close encounter" with aliens. The Clarkes were originally represented by lonely Texas waitress Sally Clarke (Catherine Dent), who was impregnated by a charming stranger (Eric Close) who turned out to be an alien survivor of the Roswell crash. And the lives of the Crawfords were dictated by ruthless Army officer Owen Crawford (Joel Gretsch), who was determined to prove that the government had covered up the truth about Roswell by dedicating his life to tracking down all space aliens and their half-human descendants. The story was narrated by Allie Keys (Dakota Fanning), a "hybrid" child of the present day, whose story determined the outcome of the final episodes. Boasting impressive computer-generated special effects and eye-popping facial makeup, Taken was seen over a two-week period, beginning December 2, 2002, and ending on December 13.


Steven Spielberg's alien abduction opus Taken is what happens when you cross-breed Close Encounters of the Third Kind with The Waltons. Obviously flushed with the success of the TV miniseries Band of Brothers, Spielberg's Dreamworks studio has created an equally epic 10-part story chronicling 50 years of habitual abduction over several generations of three American families. Beginning with the most notorious alien cover-up in U.S. history, the 1947 "crash" at Roswell, New Mexico, Taken introduces the "Greys" and the families they routinely abduct, probe, and, in a couple of cases, impregnate over the course of the ten 90-minute episodes. The three families are: the Keys, from which first Russell, then his son Jessie, then grandson Danny, are all abducted; the Clarkes, who are descended from a liaison between lonely put-upon housewife Sally Clarke and one of the Roswell crash survivors; and the Crawfords, the ruthless G-men who are committed to uncovering the purpose behind the alien visitations at any cost.

It's this question that forms the main thread of the story: but even though the Greys' actions are at best ambiguous and at worst hostile, the viewer can't help feeling that after all this systematic abuse of their human test subjects the aliens will in the end present them with a cure for cancer. In fact, Taken is Spielberg at his most touchy-feely: for all its science fiction trappings it's basically a soap opera, lacking the sinister undercurrent of either Dark Skies or The X-Files. Nevertheless, it's an engaging series with decent performances--most notably Joel Gretsch as psychotic Owen Crawford--good special effects, and an engaging enough storyline to make it entertaining, if somewhat disposable, TV. --Kristen Bowditch

Special Features

  • Complete 10-episode series on five discs
  • Sixth disc bonus features include:
  • "Inside Taken"
  • The Cast of Taken"
  • "A New Reality: The Visual Effects Team"
  • "A Singluar Vision: The Directors"
  • "Time Warp"

Product Details

  • Actors: Dakota Fanning, Matt Frewer, Emily Bergl, Heather Donahue, Joel Gretsch
  • Writers: Leslie Bohem
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Dreamworks Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 885 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (290 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JM39
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,134 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Steven Spielberg Presents Taken" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

186 of 192 people found the following review helpful By Scott Kolecki on November 4, 2003
Format: DVD
Steven Spielberg, best known for movies like E.T. and Jaws, delivers a tour-de-force epic on a scale few "made-for-T.V." movies have ever reached. Taken, a mini-series originally developed for Sci-Fi, is a multi-generation story of three families, and their experiences with other-worldly beings. The story begins during World War II and continues up to present day, elaborately exploring the lives of people who have been abducted and others who would cover up such knowledge.
The story is broken up into 10 episodes:
1.) "Beyond the Sky", set in 1947, the first episode introduces the audience to three families whose lives will be forever changed by alien abduction, goverment cover-ups, and a series of events is put into motion that will effect future generations of these families for years to come.
2.) "Jacob and Jesse", set in the early 50's, these two boys are introduced to the series. Jacob, a boy who is half alien/half human, is sought out by the military for his unique abilities. Jesse, the son of an abductee is taken for the first time.
3.) "High Hopes", set in the late 50's, the story continues with Owen Crawford, top officer behind the military's investigation into the U.F.O phenomenon, attempts to capture Jacob, and fails. Later, he is approached by Jesse Keys and discovers that both Jesse and his father have an alien implant in their brain.
4.) "Acid Test" Owen's sons learn of their father's involvement with the military cover up of extra-terrestrial contact when they discover the remains of the crashed ship in a safe within the father's office.
5.) "Maintenance" Eric Crawford takes over his father's work when Owen dies suddenly of a heart attack.
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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Tony Earl on May 17, 2003
Format: DVD
...flipping the channels something caught my eye and I stopped and not realizing what I was watching found myself mesmerized and enchanted by the quality of story, writing, acting, cinematagraphy--everything! I was hooked. I had avoided Taken because I have no interest yet another story about alien abductions, it's been so over done that it's a cliche, so when I realized what I was watching (surprise, surprise) I promptly called my friends and told them to watch it if they could. It was great; I was wrong to have avoided it!
It captured my imagination from the first episode to the last (though it did start to drag a bit in the middle). Still, I'm here looking to see if it's on DVD so I can order it. I don't love a show enough to want to buy it very often! This is one.
When I later realized that it was Spielberg, everything fell into place. It explained why Taken was top quality, working beautifully even with a cliche for a starting premise. What a glorious mini-series. Buy it, if that's what you have to do to see it!
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72 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Tony Jaczko on March 31, 2003
Format: DVD
I hardly ever watch commercial television due to those long delays between scenes. One day flipping through the channels I came across "Taken". It was close to the end of the episode. I was completely absorbed by the few minutes I had seen. Naturally a commercial came on promoting the Steven Spielberg presents taken marathon that weekend. Amazed by the story line and the cast I was propelled to spend the entire weekend watching this series on sci-fi. After two twelve hour days I wanted more, I didn't want the story to end. Now I have been "Taken" by a story of past and present events about UFO's and a cast of outstanding magnitude.
In the last episode I noticed the promo for the release of Taken on DVD in 2003 more importantly the first part which stated
"More secrets will be revealed" I will certainly be one of the first of many to be online to purchase Taken on DVD. I also hope this will not be the last of Taken I believe the story has the potential to be more then a miniseries. I believe the return of Allie and all that she has learned of things to come would make for a great movie and the start of another great series and if anyone can pull it off, it's Steven Spielberg. And if any actress can mesmerize us to continue to follow the story, Dakota Fanning can.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Eric San Juan VINE VOICE on May 2, 2004
Format: DVD
Some have likened the nearly 15-hour miniseries "Taken" to "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" meets "The X-Files." That's not far off the mark. In fact, it is what this reviewer thought even before reading similar sentiments elsewhere.
Featuring solid television production, good scripts, passable special effects and fantastic performances by a huge cast, "Taken" is a strong series chronicling 50 years of alien abduction and government conspiracies, all circling around three families. Fans of Spielberg's view on aliens and the X-Files' view on government secrecy and paranoia will likely enjoy this (though Spielberg's sweetness and light trumps the Files' jaded cynicism in the end).
All ten episodes, each 90 minutes long, tie together to form one long narrative, though many of the episodes can serve well as standalone entertainment, too. It is the characters that keep the whole affair afloat, with family being the tie that binds three generations together. Some of the middle episodes are a bit slow, and the later installments rely too heavily on cliffhangers, but all in all viewers will want to keep watching well past bedtime. I was so pulled in, I watched the whole series in just three days.
Most impressive is the cast, who turn in great performances throughout. Great makeup work ages the characters as the series moves forward, allowing us to see people live out 30-plus years of their life in a convincing fashion. Very engaging. Most impressive is the young Dakota Fanning. Pay attention to this one. She turns in a startling, deep, engaging, endearing performance.
Take note, this is not Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking. What this is, is classic TV miniseries material. The production values are not nearly on par with those of Band of Brothers.
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Topic From this Discussion
Blu-Ray release?
I love this miniseries. Even though I have it on DVD, I would buy it immediately of they came out with a good Blu-ray version. I've been waiting impatiently for a few years so far, hopefully Spielberg will consider re-releasing this soon.
Jan 15, 2011 by Greg Purdy |  See all 8 posts
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