Strange Transmissions
5-star rating EXCELLENT4-star ratingRECOMMENDED 3-star ratingGOOD 2-star ratingPOOR 1-star ratingDIABOLICAL
Warning! Probable spoilers ahead for readers outside the USA or Canada.
selected from
Xposé #42
Toy Story 2 review here
 

THE X-FILES Season Seven
4: Millennium
Written by Vince Gilligan and Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Thomas J Wright
Fox • November 28 1999
5-star rating (excellent)

On the eve of the millennium, Mulder and Scully stumble onto a case involving resurrection and turn to the only man who can help them – Frank Black.

Although airing a bit prematurely (probably a network decision), Millennium (the episode) is a welcome holiday treat. After the rough treatment he received at the hands of changing producers and an unsupportive network, Frank Black returns in style.

Lance Henriksen returns as Frank Black © Jean CummingsWithout stealing the spotlight away from the regular X-Files characters, Gilligan and Spotnitz make him a key part of the story, building up his legendary profiling abilities. And although the script does very little to tie up the multitude of loose ends left at the end of the Millennium series, it does bring us up to date with Frank and gives the character his own personal resolution.

In fact, as written, he could return to The X-Files – a very attractive possibility.

It’s a treat to see Lance Henriksen return to the role. Generally under-appreciated, he gives a performance that not only provides continuity with Millennium, but adds a new dimension as Frank tries to leave the wreckage of his professional life behind. In the end, it is that, more than Mulder and Scully’s kiss, that makes this a millennial episode.

John Drake

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TOY STORY 2
US: November 24 1999 • UK: February 10 2000
Directed by John Lasseter • Rated: G
Stars voices of: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Wallace Shawn, Don Rickles, Wayne Knight

5-star rating (excellent)

When Andy goes to cowboy camp, an attenpt by Woody to save old friend Wheezy the Penguin from being sold results in his kidnapping by Al, a collector who knows Woody’s collectable value once added to his fellow former stars of Woody’s Round-Up. It’s up to Buzz, Slinky, Hamm, Mr Potato Head and Rex to rescue Woody and bring him home.

Hamm, Mr Potato Head et al 'surpass expectations'In answer to the most important question, no, it’s not as good as the original. However, with most of the jokes about the type of toys they are now done, the story rests more strongly on characterization, and for this reason it’s a complete success.

Aside from the happiness the viewer feels at seeing all the old favorites again (although the movie does need more aliens), there’s plenty of laughs watching the toys go out and about to save Woody. The new arrivals are no doubt destined to be popular too, with Bullseye the horse the best new character, despite not saying a word!

There are enough jokes and in-jokes (one of the toys comments that in 1995 stores were unprepared for the demand for Buzz Lightyear figures) to keep adults happy and a chance to see a pre-Woody Buzz interacting with ‘our’ Buzz through the miracle of mass-production. It was a movie that really couldn’t fail, yet it actually surpasses expectations.

Paul Spragg

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Images © Pixar / Buena Vista, Jean Cummings
Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction.
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