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Musings and Meanderings

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Battlestar Galactica

Well.. where do I start. Of course I am referring to the SciFi re-do of the show not the original cheesy Richard Hatch show from the 80's, or was it the 70's. In a word I thought it was magnificent.

So if you have not seen it stop reading, because the rest will be full of what we call "Spoilers". If you have no interest tune in to the blog tomorrow and stop reading now.

Ok anyone left? Hmmm...

Premise. It's 40 yrs since the last Cylon wars. Unlike the TV show this one was fought to a truce of such, and the Cylons went off to their own planet and disappear from history for 40 yrs. Those silver robot dudes with the neat red light going Vmmmm Vmmmm back and forth, you remember them. Well... they have evolved. The special effects people did a magnificent job with a newer and scarier looking silver robot. But the surprise of the story is that the Cylon race has designed human looking Cylons.

Casting: This worked very well. I am sure, and frankly hope, that the die-hard Battlestar Galactica fans were probably appalled by what this new miniseries did. All the names were there, starting with Adama played very well by Edward James Olmos, doing a more mature version of his Miami Vice persona. Don't laugh; he was one of the saving graces of that show.

Now for the surprises. Starbuck was a Caucasian woman. Boomer not only was a woman, but an Asian to boot. And we find Boomer to be a *spoiler* as well! Colonel Tigh was cast as a Caucasian and an alcoholic. Balthar was there too, but a young English computer genius. He is fooled by one of the "human" cylons (she becomes his lover) and allows them to find out all the Defensive secrets of the 12 colonies. Then the Cylons proceed to nuke the human race to near extinction.

Getting the picture? This was pretty gritty. The cinematography was very interesting, using the muted and filtered colors that are fairly popular these days. Different camera angles, and no attempt to make the camera "incognito". Sometimes it bumped and jerked. Especially the outer space scenes. None of that smooth Star Wars like gently arcing space crafts. We actually watched the camera adjust and zoom in via a somewhat herky motion. I liked it, it was refreshing.

Remember Alien. In space no one can hear you scream right? Well you don't hear the sounds of spacecraft in space either, and the sound people did this so well. There was a hushed silence during the fighter scenes that worked very well. In the plot, the Cylons have used the aforementioned defense secrets to jam the computers of all the new technology except OF COURSE the ancient Battlestar Galactica. And yes they roll out the old Starfighters modeled to be identical to the original series' ships, as the newer models get jammed by the Cylons and every one in them dies.

There are frankly not too many laughs in this, having a species nearly exterminated by robots, attractive or otherwise, is not a funny topic. Especially if it is your own. But in the retirement ceremony of the Galactica, as the old Mark One Starfighters are zooming around the ports, while the dignitaries were sitting inside, they were playing the old theme song from the original show.

The bottom line is this mini series took the original concept, and made it serious and believable instead of camp. They took the original characters and recast them with frankly more interesting characteristics and actors. And of course when you fast-forward 20+ years you get some pretty hoopy special effects.

If you missed it you can catch the whole thing again on Saturday. Sci Fi fans really should catch this one. It is in the tradition of Sci Fi's Dune series, and NOT in the tradition of their butchery of the Riverworld story.
posted by Mike 10:28 PM

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The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind