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Taken (2002)
Directors: Steven Spielberg with Leslie Bohem and Steve Beers

review by Michael Lohr

For 10 consecutive weeknights, and 20 hours total, I watched this US television ratings juggernaut. I am not sure that my time was well spent. It was kind of like a really thick, somewhat interesting novel. You're halfway complete, wishing you were at the end, but instead of putting the book down, you struggle through just to see how it ends. Taken was kind of like that.
   This was an epic drama that told the story of three families over the course of four generations and their struggle with aliens, abductions and government geeks. Set against the backdrop of actual historical events, Taken attempts to create a dramatic and thought-provoking tale of mankind's encounters with extraterrestrials. The aliens are of the standard bug-eyed variety of greys from UFO mythology and their intentions are unclear until the last couple of episodes.
   Fifty years condensed into 10 days; in that regard they did an admirable job. But I think this miniseries would have been better if it was condensed down into a two or three-day, four to six-hour series. I understand the 'generations' concept but there were too many needless subplots that were divergent to the main story and this caused the series to drag on needlessly. Several episodes were devoted to these subplots and were aimless fodder.
   Cinematically speaking Taken is done quite well. The programme is said to have cost nearly $40 million to make, which is one of the most expensive miniseries in TV history and it shows. Its visual effects are state-of-the-art and well developed. One of the coolest things in the movie was the glyph-covered alien artifact found at the UFO crash site in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. I sense that it is very similar to the 'one ring' from Lord Of The Rings. It seems to hypnotise those who touch it and people would kill to obtain it. It welds a dark presence over humanity not unlike the 'ring' and it has a secret not revealed until late in the series.
   Overall, Taken is a well crafted, entertaining miniseries; a little too long in the tooth, but still enjoyable. Note: Taken has been nominated for a Golden Globe which is the first such nomination for the Sci-Fi Channel. It is aired in UK on BBC2 and BBC Choice early in 2003.
Taken click image to enlarge

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