Sunday, October 18, 2009

Review - Battlestar Galactica: The Plan [Spoilers]

'The Plan' serves not as a standalone movie as 'Razor' was, but as half retcon and half detail filler. Before people start going crazy and saying how it's not a retcon since it was "planned" from the beginning, just rewatch the series. The producers obviously made stuff up as they went along which actually worked quite well in the end. The movie jumps around from scenario to scenario never really pushing a narrative and instead illuminating certain events of the series with information on what the Cylons were doing.

My expectations were not high when I heard the idea for the movie, but when I saw the trailers and read quotes from Edward James Olmos, I began to warm to the idea, though I was never ecastatic about it. Unless there was something truly revolutionary about the movie, there was no way a retelling of the the miniseries and first 2 seasons could be better than an original story.

In a sense I was right. There were no major revelations, no event that made me want to watch the entire series again (more than I normally would), and certainly wasn't the Battlestar Galactica we've learned to be amazed by, but it was interesting to see everything from the perspectives of the Cylons.

Interspersed through the movie are old scenes from the miniseries and the first two seasons. I'm not sure how much new footage was shoot, but there was an awful lots of old footage. It was a little funny seeing how people became much older instantly though the problem could not be avoided. The quality of the the old footage, especially from the miniseries is noticeably  different than the rest of the movie, but since I'm not an expert on editing, I have no clue what they could have done.

Cavil is the main character of 'The Plan' as he inserts himself, much like Jacob did in the season 5 finale of Lost, into everyone's lives. He becomes essential the main villain of Battlestar Galactica, and not Cylons. We get a very sympathetic views of the other models, while Cavil is portrayed as even more of a bastard. Dean Stockwell does a wonderful job as a deceitful manipulator, constantly up to tricks and no good.

We got to see more of Number Four (Simon) possibly than the in whole series. On one of the ships, he has a wife and daughter, and is reluctant to embrace his Cylon side. Cavil pushes him to destroy the ship they are on and Simon clearly does not want to do anything. He loves his wife and even asks Cavil to save his wife. Cavil tells him that if they survive, it would be worse since they would know Simon was a Cylon. Eventually, Simon airlocks himself, and is discovered to be a Cylon anyways. Who would have known? Even life as a Cylon sucked.

We see Cavil manipulate Five into putting on the suicide vest and see him actually detonate it. Leoben develops his Kara obsession while listening to communications in the fleet. It's really creepy as he sits there with this radio thing just listening to her talk.

The story of Anders is probably the biggest change. When the attack happens, he is scared and isn't seen as the leader yet. He even admits later to Cavil that he wanted to run away. He and is group attack the Cylons and we see him take charge. The writers could have spent much more time developing Anders's story which I thought could have been made into an entire movie.

There are a couple scenes in the beginning with Ellen Tigh sitting with Cavil in a bar in Picon. After the attack, Cavil takes her onto a medical ship where she is brought into the fleet. Totally random, but Kate Vernon did a good job.

Boomer gets quite a bit of attention as Cavil manipulates her into sabotaging the ship and ultimately shooting Adama. Cavil is able to control her with an wooden elephant which turns on her innate Cylon. When he takes it away, Boomer turns back into a human and remembers nothing of what transpired.

Cavil has a small story of his own unrelated to the other characters. There is a boy hanging around where he lives. To show the cruelty of Cavil, he stabs the boy in cold blood. There's a Six we've never really seen before that mocks how everyone is failing, and is in bed with Cavil most of the time.

For parental warning, there is nudity and a sex scene in the movie. That's probably going to be cut out on TV or censored in some way. Like the nudity in Caprica and the excessive drinking in the series finale, it was unnecessary, other than to show how degenerate the colonies are.

The final 30 minutes was where things get interesting and felt like Battlestar Galactica. There is a sharp divide between the Cavil that was with Anders and the one on the Galactica. The Anders Cavil has a change of heart after seeing Kara interact with Anders after her return. He has a rifle trained perfectly on her head, and yet there is some part of humanity that exists in the deepest recesses in this otherwise horrible machine that made him hold back. When he comes back to the Galactica and is caught as a Cylon, he tells the Galactica Cavil that they should not have annihilated the humans. Galactica Cavil tells him he's crazy and even threatens to have him boxed. As the two Cavils are sent flying into the vacuum of space, the Galactica Cavil gives one last incredible monologue explaining why Cylons are better than humans.

Overall, I wasn't impressed or disappointed. The acting was great and the tone was great. The pacing was good, expect it was very choppy. With so many different storylines going on, I was able to keep track of what was going on, but with so much going on, everything felt like it could have been more. I really liked seeing the other colonies and their destruction which are most of the pictures I've included. The architecture of each are different and I would love to get an interactive look at each planet.

Score: 8.7/10


Tanya Helene Christensen said...

I agree on the visuals; nice to get a better look at the locations, and the acting by Dean Stockwell's character(s) Cavil; but unlike you I was immensely dissapointed..

The series had it's loops and questions unanswered, but The Plan seemed only driven by a marketing-scheme.

I'd love to have at least one or two essential questions from the series
answered; and a clearer picture of the WHY and not the much the HOW..

My review: 4/10

Anonymous said...

I'm sure I need to try watching it again, however, as of right now, I haven't been able to get past the first thirty minutes. I was really disappointed with the choppiness of the film, and the fact that it replays some of the old scenes from the miniseries and the first seasons.

Anonymous said...

Overall, in my opinion, "The Plan" may walk like Battlestar and talk like Battlestar, but it is not Battlestar. It seemed like was trying (and failing) to give us another perception of action that we didn't need to get a second view on.

It seemed like Rick Worthy(Simon) did "The Plan" because it was a chance for him to get more lines that he had in the series. The same seemed true for Callum Keith Rennie (Leoben) and Dean Stockwell (Cavil).

The scenery of the other planets was really awesome to see. It offered us another view on the planets other than just Caprica (By the way, did anyone else notice that it seemed like the home-worlds represented major cities in real life? Like Caprica reminded me of New York, Picon reminded me of Hong-Kong, etc.) The acting was also very good. Unfortunately, most of it was scenes we had already seen in the series.

I also found it odd that they stopped where they did, considering they had so much more material they could have used in seasons three and four.

All in all, there is much to say about "The Plan", but none of it casting it in the nicest glow. I'd have to re-watch it to appreciate it more and I don't feel like doing so. I agree with how the two posts above me so eloquently put it.

My rating: 3.5/10

dsi r4 said...

Black level better than a plasma, great detail, amazing colours and contrast and the 120hz is so smooth no jutter affect at all...

Related Posts with Thumbnails