A human civilisation, light years away from our own planet,
is on the verge of brokering a peace with the deadly Cylon
Empire. It is a critical time for humanity, but one which
is doomed to catastrophe.
the triumph of Star Wars: A New Hope, big-budget sci-fi
became a bandwagon that everyone climbed onto and hitched
a ride. Plenty of what followed in the trail of Lucas' success
was risible pap, but Battlestar Galactica stands as
a little piece of history in the annals of TV.
DVD release is the TV pilot, and what a tremendous, if flawed,
pilot it is. However, the flaws are not so much in the script,
or the acting, or the direction, but in the production values.
This may seem odd considering how lavish Battlestar Galactica
is visually. Indeed, John Dykstra, who revolutionised the
special effects industry with his work on Star Wars,
also handled the miniature work for Battlestar Galactica.
There are also some mightily impressive sets, of which the
piece de resistance is the bridge of the Galactica.
No, the flaws are in the details.
at the time, Battlestar Galactica was an expensive
production, with many dollars spent on the special effects.
Those effects needed to provide good value for money, so to
achieve that what better than to recycle shots, varying them
with a little bit of editing or by flipping them left to right,
or vice versa. Fans of the show will be all too familiar with
the shot of three Cylon fighters flying away from camera as
laser bolts reach out for them. The middle ship is destroyed
and its wingmen peal away. This shot appears repeatedly in
the pilot, and would make regular "guest" appearances in the
are similar instances of reused footage, which undermine what
is otherwise a rich experience. Even footage of live shots
is occasionally reused, which really is penny-pinching!
aside, Battlestar Galactica is a robust foray into
action sci-fi, and presses all the right buttons. The script
seems clumsy and basic when compared to many of today's sophisticated
character-focused screenplays, but it does what it says on
the tin, and does it well. There is a wonderful operatic feel
to proceedings, and the Cylon warriors are powerful pieces
of design - truly fantastic, if a little slow in combat (think
Cybermen in the original edit of The Five Doctors and
you will understand what I mean).
this DVD release is not the original edit, being instead the
abridged theatrical version. While this is tolerable, the
soundtrack is not. Through my Dolby-Digital decoder I heard
only the centre speaker and the subwoofer. I had to change
to stereo in order to activate the speakers left and right.
Without them, the sound was, of course, less than stellar!
only is the sound a disappointment, but the picture ratio,
while of a widescreen format, is not anamorphic. Owners of
widescreen TVs will have to use their zoom option.
re-mastered, full-length release of the pilot would have been
better, but for now this will have to do.
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