Friday, October 30, 2009

Movie Review: Battlestar Galactica: The Plan

First things first: if you are not a Battlestar Galactica fan, or if you haven't seen the series, then this straight-to-DVD movie is not for you. Battlestar Galactica: The Plan assumes that you have seen the series from beginning to end, that you know the characters and pretty much remember the main events.

The movie basically retells the events of the first two seasons from the perspective of the cylons. The central character is Father Cavil (a.k.a. Model One), or rather two Father Cavil's (one on Galactica, the other one on Caprica), as they plot the destruction of those humans who survived the cylon's nuclear attack on the planets of the twelve colonies. One subplot thus follows the schemings of Cavil on Galactica and on the other remaining ships of the human fleet, as he cleverly manipulates those cylons that have infiltrated the fleet to take actions against the humans, even if this is against their will: he talks a reluctant Boomer into killing Adama, and attempts to convince an unwilling Simon to blow up the ship on which his wife and stepdaughter live. Various Sixes turn up, too, in various guises and with varying inclinations to help Cavil.

The other Model One has attached itself to the struggling rebel group surrounding that other cylon, Sam, on occupied Caprica. This Cavil ends up developing sympathy for the humans - a plot point that seems contrived as it goes wholly against the grain of that character, even more so as his 'conversion' comes from a rather silly remark made by Sam concerning the nature of love.

The movie opens with both Model Ones being marched to the airlock, then flashes back to the destruction of the colonies (shown in starkly eerie details), then follows key plots from the first two seasons as the cylons keep sabotaging the fleet from within and attacking from outside; and ends with the truce proposed by the cylons to the humans and the demise of the two Cavils.

Using the rather odious character of Father Cavil as the central figure was a bit risky, but it works, mostly for the charisma of actor Dean Stockwell, even if he has a tendency to over-act at times. It's also nice to see the Simon character (Rick Worthy) getting a bit more screen-time, as this character was shamefully under-used in the series.

The movie uses a large amount of footage from the series and cleverly injects the cyclon subplots into them. Edward James Olmos' direction is fluid, the editing crisp, and the plotting faultness. As said above, this is more an exercise in style (or as some cynics claim, a last attempt to milk the hit sci-fi series now that it has run its course) than a movie that can be valued on its own merits, but it still amounts to almost two hours of good entertainment for those who have enjoyed the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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