1978 TV series Battlestar Galactica was
one of those love / hate affairs - you loved it as
a kid and hated it as
an adult! I mean, come on! Those 'Seventies hairstyles! That cutesy robot
dog! The overuse of special effects stock footage!
So it was ripe for a remake -
Well, not quite. Despite its many faults,
Battlestar Galatica holds a special place in my heart. It may have
been a Star Wars rip-off, but there was something dark, ominous and gloomy
about its storyline of twelve human colonies being wiped out by
misanthropic chrome-plated robots called Cylons and a group of "rag-tag"
survivors trying to outrun the Cylon Empire. Besides, childhood would have
been a lot duller without the series because then we would have been stuck
with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century only . . .
So does that mean that I hate the 2003
Battlestar Galactica "update"
as a mini-series for the Sci-Fi Channel?
Well, not quite. Despite being the type who
always goes on about Hollywood senselessly remaking classics such as
Planet of the Apes and
Solaris, I must admit that this is one re-imagining that
actually works out and deserves to be called that instead of a remake.
Enough imagination and creative thought went into this mini-series
to make one feel as if one is watching something brand new instead of a
pointless nostalgic rehash.
I kinda missed the Battlestar Galatica theme song and the new
hardware looked a bit too Wing Commander-ish at
times. Let's face it: special effects wiz John Dykstra (who also worked on
the first Star Wars) was, well, a wiz at
creating the illusion of size when it comes to his models of spaceships.
To understand what I mean you should have seen Battlestar Galactica
on the big screen back then (outside the States several Battlestar Galactica
episodes were strung together to make full-length movies, one of which was
the dreaded Conquest of the Earth which
consisted of the Battlestar Galactica 1980/The Night the Cylons
Ironically Battlestar Galactica 2003's visual iconography looks
more generic in this post-Space: Above and Beyond era, whilst the
original Battlestar Galatica's visual style looks quite unique
nowadays even though Lucas famously took the Galactica producers to
and lost: after all, he had been doing his own fair amount of
ripping off other movies!
Also, Battlestar Galactica 2003 takes its sweet time to
finally blast off. But when it does, it is gripping stuff indeed. Add
great special effects and some decent acting and the truth is that only
the most die-hard Battlestar Galactica geek wouldn't find something
to like here. Recommended.
DISC: This is one of those awful
double-sided discs. The three hours or so feature fits in on Side A along
with a rather dry (as these things tend to be) audio commentary by
writers, producers, the director, etc. On Side B there is a rather neat
Making Of documentary with lots of footage from the original
Battlestar Galactica for us nostalgists. The deleted scenes are mostly
of the redundant plot expositional type with incomplete special effects
and it is easy to see why they were dropped.
Personally I don't like double-sided discs since one has to be so extra
careful while handling them and can't imagine why they didn't make it a
two-disc set. After all, it wouldn't have been that much more expensive to
print a second disc, could it?
WORTH IT? This mini-series was only now finally released to
coincide with the launch of the series itself on the Sci-Fi Channel.
Thanks to a pirated version floating around on the Internet it feels as if
everyone has seen it by now except me! But take my word on this: this DVD
offers much more than any pirated *.AVI file ever would. Besides
kids, downloading flicks from the Internet is just
RECOMMENDATION: If you haven't seen it before, now - with the TV
series kicking off on the Sci-Fi Channel -
is the time to check out
Battlestar Galactica 2003. If you're a die-hard Battlestar
Galactica purist holding out on seeing it you are simply doing
themselves a disservice. After all, I have a nagging suspicion that
the blurb proclaiming that it is "superior to the original" on the DVD
cover just might be correct . . .