With all the Youtube postings and an airing on Syfy, I feel a bit behind writing up this review of the prequel movie “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome,” but the DVD/Blu-ray is out this week, and it’s the first time I had the chance to watch.
Actually, I probably could have watched on Youtube, but I figured I’d wait until I got a nice, hi-def version I could watch on my TV (my wi-fi can be problematic with streaming video). And with an uncut video coming a few days later, why bother watching it on Syfy?
They make a big play on the packaging that this the “unrated version,” as opposed to just an uncut version. Since I didn’t watch the Syfy version, I can’t say how much is cut. Though I imagine they did take out (or pixelate) the couple breast shots.
Anyway, you want to know if it’s any good. And I can say a resounding “yes” on that. It necessarily moves along at a different pace than Syfy’s original “BSG,” but it’s got much of the same panache that finally made that show so exciting.
And it’s all the more astounding considering that the vast majority of what you see on the screen is CGI. In many places, it makes “Spartacus” look like “Reboot” (a few others, not so much). I knew it would be a lot, but I was amazed at just how much when I watched the behind-the-scenes bits.
Because this was a movie chopped up into Youtube-size pieces, there’s a lot of character shorthand. William Adama (Luke Pasqualino) is the brash, cocky star recruit from flight school who bristles at having to fly a dumpier ship with a grizzled pilot (Corker, Ben Cotton) who’s ready to wrap up his tour. They clash. They trade quips. But will they be friends in the end?
Their cargo is a beautiful doctor (Becca, Lili Bordan) with a special mission. Will Adama fall in love? Will they make out? (This is the unrated version.)
It’s all very by-the-numbers, and the message isn’t too complex, but it’s exciting because it’s “Battlestar Galactica.” Seeing it all on screen again is a thrill that “Caprica,” which was very cool in its own way, couldn’t quite duplicate. You pretty much know how it’s going to end, but the journey is engaging.
Not only are there some great space battles, but you also get to see a bit of the Cylons’ evolution. All the actors do a fine job. But be ready to be a bit thrown when you see some bit parts played by actors who had different bit parts in the original.
The effects are, mostly, stunning. All the ships (I think I saw an Enterprise saucer section, hee hee) look amazing, and the hangar bays are incredible. Even most of the people in them are CGI, but I couldn’t tell. The piece de resistance is a stunning ice planet and an abandoned ski lodge.
My only complaint is an odd halo lighting effect throughout the movie. It was enough that it was obviously on purpose, but I found it distracting. (Maybe that was the point — visual smoke and mirrors.)
It’s a prequel, so you know Adama isn’t going to die, but it’s still high on the nifty scale. As a pilot, there’s great material here to bring the series back. And think of all the money they’ll save on sets this time!
If you still have a hankering for “BSG,” this will give you a nice, quick fix. It lacks depth, but it feels right.