This is NOT the Speilberg / SciFi channel mini-series!
Kurt Howard | Seattle, WA USA | 03/07/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I noticed that a couple of reviewers had mistaken this 1999 movie starring Dabney Coleman for the 'Taken' mini-series that aired in 2002 on the SciFi Channel. It is NOT.That mini-series in not yet available as I write (March 2003), but should be released later this year.Just thought you should know."
Coleman's brave role as "HEAD HONCHO HELD HOSTAGE" wins big
BRIAN A. LAFOUNTAIN | Hot Springs, Virginia United States | 04/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dabney Coleman is so believeable in his lead role in TAKEN that you almost forget he is acting. Dabney Coleman in the fashion industry? He is quietly compelling and honest in his role as company "Head Honcho Held Hostage". This DVD offers a rarely-seen warmer Dabney Coleman forced into a desperate and dark world of harsh betrayal and the violation of all sense of security in his life. Kidnapped and broken, Dabney Coleman maintains a stark realism that carries flawlessly and carefully through this entire film. He makes you wonder if you would have the strength to survive if faced with the same circumstances. TAKEN relies on the "less is more" theme in movie making. What it lacks in soundtrack music and glossy visuals, it more than completes in raw emotion and flawless acting by the charismatic and compelling Dabney Coleman. TAKEN in DVD format is sharp and clear and the editing is flawless."
A little girl is the only hope for humanity and this series
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 04/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Steven Spielberg Presents Taken" is a 10-part maxi-series that spins a story of alien abduction and genetic experimentation out of the infamous story of the crash of a U.F.O. at Roswell, New Mexico. Actually "Taken" begins at the end of World War II, when aliens first abduct B-17 bomber pilot Russell Keys (Steve Burton) and his crew during a bomb run over Germany. For the rest of the century the life of Keys and his descendants will cross paths with two other families. Sally Clarke (Catherine Dent) takes an alien visitor (Eric Close) into her home, and ends up bearing his child. Eventually the grandchildren of these Russell and Sally will come together and produce the end product of the alien's breeding program. On the other side of the equation are the Crawfords, the first generation of which is Major Owen Crawford (Joel Gretsch), who is in charge of the Air Force's program to answer the mystery of the aliens.
Major Crawford is your stereotypical warped military commander who is completely obsessed by his project. The nicest thing you can say about him is that he is not a sadistic bully, just a murdering bully. No wonder General Hammond on "Stargate SG-1" is such a breath of fresh air. In Crawford's case it is nurture and not nature that warps his two sons and granddaughter and has them following in the family business. Basically the plot is a chess game between Crawford, the Air Force, and his scientists versus the aliens, in which the humans are almost always a step behind and a day late, whether they are trying to understand what the aliens are doing or trying to step the visitors from making the next move.
For most of "Taken" the audience knows little more than any of the characters. Even being privy to both sides provides little help. Actually the most important thing to pick up on during the first half of the series is the voice of the young girl doing the voice over narration in these episodes. That is because the payoff for this story is young Allison Clarke and it is not until young Dakota Fanning (what ever happened to her?) appears on screen that "Taken" really gets off the ground. Before that part the most interesting character is Owen Crawford, who is not a pleasant person.
Of course, this is the exact opposite of so many science fiction stories, where the set ups are great but the payoffs extremely unsatisfying. That is not the problem here, and if you have to struggle through the first half of "Taken" to get to this little girl, then make yourself do it. The result gets what would have been a mediocre science fiction series up to the level of being a good one. There really is not a big payoff in terms of the end of the story, either in terms of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" or "2001: A Space Odyssey," it all comes down to the little girl.
With her alien genetic background and what we have already seen some of her ancestors do when they were kids, you know that little Allie is going to be able to do some astounding things. But the most impressive thing she does is talk to others. People like to talk to her, she observes at one point, and for most of her time in "Taken" Allie looks like a cute little girl but also projects a calmness and sense of wisdom that are quite captivating. My favorite scenes are when she suddenly turns to an adult and says a sentence of such penetrating insight that it blows you away.
Maybe I am making too much of this. Given how low the bar is set in "Taken" it might be relatively easy for an 8-year-old to dazzle us. But given the resume Dakota Fanning has put together in this half of her life from "I Am Sam" to "Uptown Girls" I am pretty sure she is pretty good. All I really know is that once she showed up I really started paying attention to "Taken.""