Newest Review: ... The opening scene of the mini series is quite startling. It's easy for viewers to follow the story arc as the basic history is explain... more
Do Cylons Have Souls?
Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series (DVD)
Member Name: cyberem78
Battlestar Galactica - The Mini Series (DVD)
Advantages: Great story, great acting.
Disadvantages: None, really, except maybe too many CGI battle scenes.
The re-imagined series of the 1970's cult classic Battlestar Galactica was launched in 2003 with this 'mini series'. When this originally aired on T.V I actually watched it but because I was following other T.V shows found that I didn't have time to keep following Battlestar. During the years the show aired it was talked about with so much fervour by fans that I knew someday I'd have to revisit the show. I finally got around to getting the mini series DVD from Amazon recently. It basically plays like one long movie (running at 2hrs and 55 minutes) and should be your first place to start should you also wish to dive into the series.
You may perhaps remember the original Battlestar Galactica 1970's series. This version is quite different in tone, style and in it's story aspects. The most basic premise of the show is that human beings created a race of robots who then declared war on their creators. The story in the mini series begins forty years after this robot against human war. The robots, called Cylons, have maintained an uneasy peace with the humans but have systematically refused to send any Cylons to any conferences to establish diplomatic relations. The opening scene of the mini series is quite startling. It's easy for viewers to follow the story arc as the basic history is explained in closed captions which flash across the screen as a weary old officer takes his place at a desk in a lonely spaceship. He is there as a duty to meet the Cylons although they have never come to these meetings. Until now. To say the Cylons make a dramatic entrance is an understatement and what happens between man and machine in this encounter is just the beginning of a new battle phase. The Cylons just about wipe out mankind in one deadly move.
The Battlestar Galactica is the name of the space ship in which a crew of human military and survivors of the latest Cylon attack find refuge and safety. Edward James Olmos plays Captain Adama and I found him to be one of the most striking actors in this mini series. He is strong but flawed, powerful but powerless. Watching the expressions on Olmos's craggy face is a real joy and he portrays an immensely likeable character. Also on Galactica are stand out characters such as Starbuck and Apollo. Starbuck is a tough, crude woman who acts like one of the men. Katee Sackhoff's portrayal is excellent and she puts her all into the performance, genuinely coming over as a very masculine, confident and determined woman. Apollo is Captain Adama's son and he is a rather uptight kind of guy with the reason for this clearly concerning his difficult relationship with his father. This father-son conflict is an interesting plot arc which drives the human aspect of the story.
Mary McDonnell plays a member of the goverment who suddenly finds herself having to take a commanding role with the survivors. McDonnell is an awesome performer who draws you into every scene with her intense and realistic acting. Other notable performers are James Callis and Tricia Helfer. Helfer is established as one of the Cyclon characters early in the show. Her stature and beauty make it difficult to fathom that she could be machine and as a viewer it's a strange notion to get your head around, but that is the point, I think. Her connection to Callis's character Doctor Baltar reveals that there may be more than simple brutality and a need for warfare when it comes to the Cylons. Are they so thoughtful that they could be considered to have a soul? That question is later posed to Captain Adama by a strange stowaway who enjoys questioning human nature and philosophy. Callum Keith Rennie's disturbing portrayal of a second Cylon model makes us realise that the difference between human beings and these machines is perhaps not as great as we might have thought. Rennie's character Leoben addresses issues of identity, faith, Gods, of human dominance and the rights of any species to exist and to be free. It's these issues that clearly define storylines in the upcoming series.
I was susrprised at just how intense this mini-series is. I actually felt very moved by some scenes, excited by others. I also laughed a little, surprising given the gravity of the story, and was also highly impressed by the quality of acting. This mini series may not be everyone's cup of tea - it's outer space sci-fi with lots of CGI space ships and lots of scenes of space battles. However, the characters are so well established here that the story feels so human and real. It's very easy to feel part of the action and to want to know what happens next. I have already started watching the first series and I would heartily recommend this as one of the great television events of recent years.
The DVD is available in a region 2/4 coding. It's 2 hours and 55 minutes long and there is scene access. The disc also contains a behind the scenes making of documentary which I found enjoyable. It is certificate twelve.
Summary: A wonderful intro to a great T.V show.