Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome (Unrated Edition -Two-Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) (2012)

Actors: Luke Pasqualino, Ben Cotton, Lili Bordan, Mike Dopud, John Pyper-Ferguson
Director: Jonas Pate
Producers: Jonas Pate, David Eick, Michael Taylor
Format: AC-3, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: All Regions
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Run Time: 188 minutes




Pity poor Blood and Chrome, the would-be series intended to redeem Battlestar Galactica after the widespread disappointment of Caprica.

The latter show opted for a thoughtful, cerebral approach that served it well. It took its damn time getting to the point, but the questions it raised made for marvelous conversation pieces. (And even the harshest critics must have gotten excited by those last ten minutes; think of what might have been . . .)

Blood and Chrome attempts to compensate, stressing action over philosophizing and getting us right back into the thick of the war. Unfortunately, it overplays its hand rather dreadfully: turning a sure-fire hit into this glorified also-ran.

The show runners initially hoped to deliver a portrait of the Admiral as a young man. Edward James Olmos’ William Adama becomes a hotshot fighter pilot here (and really, is there any other kind)? As played by Luke Pasqialino, he displays none of the steeliness or calm resolve that we expect from the character. He’s just a Top Gun clone, and with his predictable over-enthusiasm, our rooting interest in him drops like a lead weight.

The storyline doesn’t do him any favors, with the first Cylon War raging and the legendary Battlestar Galactica serving as his first assignment. He soon takes on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines, aided by a pair of friend-or-foe buddies and allowing for the kind of combat scenes we expect from a run-of-the-mill Syfy original movie. The technical details are flawless; unfortunately, they come at the expense of story and character. The dogfights begin with a lot of flair, but soon settle into the routine, and with Adama guaranteed to survive, we can’t find a reason to invest in the ultimate outcome.

Blood and Chrome also makes the fatal error of cleaving too closely to BSG’s overall tone. It wants to convey a sense of desperate heroics, with the war going poorly and humanity’s leaders lying to everyone about their chances. But again, we already know how it’s going to go, and as bad as it gets here, it can’t be half as bleak as it was in BSG. By trying to copy that tone, Blood and Chrome feels curiously disingenuous: playing the notes but never truly feeling the music.

Add to that a lot of stock supporting characters, less than scintillating dialogue and a final twist that elicits more shrugs than gasps, and you have a recipe for disaster. Blood and Chrome conveys enough energy to make for decent casual viewing, but as a pilot for a TV series, it promises nothing but by-the-numbers storytelling and monotonous effects shots. Syfy took quite a grilling when they failed to pick this one up. As much as it hurts to admit, they probably made the right call.

THE DISC: Universal clearly doesn’t have a lot of faith in this, with a middling image marring the otherwise copious effects. The behind-the-scenes material betrays the series’ flaws as well. We get nothing but a few deleted scenes and a lengthy documentary on the show’s effects. The hardware evokes plenty of oohs and ahs, but only further emphasizes Blood and Chrome’s lack of storytelling fundamentals.

WORTH IT? Blood and Chrome originally appeared as a series of webisodes, and you can probably find them floating around online somewhere. That makes the Blu-ray purchase a superfluous option at best and a flat-out waste of money at worst.

RECOMMENDATION: Strictly for BSG completionists, who will have to wait a while longer to find a truly worthy successor to their beloved re-imagined series.

- Rob Vaux



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