V: The Original TV Miniseries
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V: The Original Miniseries (DVD)
Aliens pretending to be friendly come to Earth and are received openly. The aliens have masqueraded themselves to look just like humans. When it is discovered that the aliens' planet is dying and that they have come to rape the Earth of its natural resources, the war for Earth begins. An important key to the humans' success is distinguishing their own from the aliens.]]>
In its day, V was a monumental event that for one generation remains a pop-culture touchstone. Close Encounters of the Third Kind may have reassured us that perhaps we have nothing to fear from alien visitors and E.T. introduced us to a benign extraterrestrial who only wanted to go home, but Kenneth Johnson's 1983 television miniseries knew better. Visitors who claim to come in peace are revealed to be nothing but human-looking reptilians on human conversion and conquest. As in the dark days of fascism, some collaborate with the enemy; others form the resistance.
At the time, the epic scale of this production was unprecedented. Those 50 motherships that hover over Earth's major cities anticipate Independence Day by more than a decade. The special effects and makeup are still awesome. Less so is the often-hackneyed dialogue. But thanks to their signature roles, the mostly no-star cast, most of whom would be reunited for a sequel and subsequent television series, have ensured themselves standing invitations to sci-fi conventions. Marc Singer is cameraman-turned-freedom-fighter Mike Donovan. Julie Parrish is a medical student-turned-rebel. Richard Herd is the aliens' supreme commander. Jane Bradler is Diana, the ravishing but ruthlessly ambitious alien science officer. Leonardo Cimino lends dignity to his heavy-handed allegorical role as a Holocaust survivor. Look for a pre-Freddy Krueger Robert Englund as one of the aliens.
The DVD is presented for the first time in widescreen format. Supplemental features include an amiable and enlightening director's commentary and a brief "making of" segment. --Donald Liebenson
- Making Of featurette
- Director's commentary
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Overall a first rate production.
The plot for those who care to read it again: A seemingly humanoid race arrives on Earth with dozens of enormous mother ships Earth to assist mankind. All they ask in return is the ability to process synthetic chemicals to bring back to their planet. Quickly however the Visitors, as they are known, facilitate social unrest that is wholesale blamed on those employed in the science profession. Scientists are blamed for attempting to derail the Visitor's goodwill, open acts of sabotage, and are linked to an alleged world-wide conspiracy to withhold medical cures purely for the sake of extorting research funds. As such scientists are treated in much the way the Jewish population faired during the Holocaust. In the meantime people continue to disappear without a trace much like the Nacht and Nebel degrees of Nazi Germany. The Visitors even supplement their ranks with human volunteers in local Visitor militia groups much like storm troopers of the 1930's. The Visitors, having taken world leaders into their protective custody, enforce martial law.
All is not lost as a brave band of resistance fighters, led by Julie Parrish and Mike Donovan, methodically assemble a force to fight the visitors. Mike Donovan, formerly one of the news cameramen welcomed by the Visitors, has seen the Visitors in their true reptilian form. He quickly discovers that the aim of the Visitors is to rob the Earth of its water and enslave the population. Humans are primed by the Visitors as potential impressed soldiers for the leader's army, as well as a source of food for the Visitors. The resistance is not alone in its struggle as there are a handful of aliens who do not support their leader's aims.
The first miniseries concludes with the resistance having emerged victorious from a nominal battle and preparing for the next engagement.
The mini series moves along smartly. There is no useless dialogue or prolonged scenes to overly exhibit expensive sets. Much as I enjoyed V: THE FINAL BATTLE I readily admit that the original television series is far superior. THE FINAL BATTLE picked up where the first series left off, but quickly devolved into a more drawn out production. Lacking Kenneth Johnson at the helm and a reduced budget, the second mini series lacked the creative camera work, superb editing, and tight dialogue of the original. Kenneth Johnson pitched a sequel that would have ignored the second mini-series and weekly television production, but Warner Brothers (who own the television rights to the series) opted to remake the series for ABC. Johnson's sequel eventually ended up as a book.
For reasons that still escape me I missed the original May 1983 broadcast of V. I did not become a fan of the series until early 1984 when I saw V: THE FINAL BATTLE and was later able to watch a summer rebroadcast of both mini series prior to the airing of the weekly television series. Much as I admired both mini series and the television show, I admit that I always felt THE FINAL BATTLE's ending was rushed. The instant resolution with the simple release of red dust was too hurried and not in keeping with the original mini series.
Ultimately V: THE ORIGINAL TV MINISERIES is a superior effort. I recommend that after you watch the film that you watch it again with Kenneth Johnson's commentary.
It is a story about the human spirit and surviving under a terrible threat, this set is where it all starts. continues in the final battle and concluded in the series. its special effects are good for that time period and the story and acting for most part is better than the 2000's remake which could have been called anything else and would have been all right. the remake just had better effects but they lost the great story line and destroyed what the series was about. I believe they even made a Comic book series off this series, I could be wrong though.
So I highly recommend the entire series from beginning to end is worth the watching. I also recommend Alien Nation movie, Alien Nation T.V. series and Alien Nation T.V. movies