Sunday, December 06, 2009

High Definitions: Battlestar Galactica: The Plan

And they have a plan...

“The plan is, everything blows up a week ago, the humans are dead, and we Cylons all download, and the universe basks in justice...” - Cavill

What “Battlestar Galactica: The Plan” does is less an explanation of what the original Cylon plan was and is more of an exploration of the Cylons themselves with particular attention on Dean Stockwell’s Cavill. Those people looking for a detailed outline of what the Cylons originally had planned will not find what they’re after here. What is here is a fantastic coda to Ron Moore’s sci-fi epic.

“The Plan” gives more insight into the thoughts and methods of the Cylons and how some find themselves questioning their decision to commit galactic genocide. The main focus of the story is placed on Cavill and his own personal agenda against humanity and his Cylon mothers and fathers. Two Cavills depart for the colonies, one to make final arrangements for the nuclear holocaust to come, the other to witness it beside one of his mothers, the unknowing Ellen Tigh.

The Cavills find themselves in very different aftermaths of the destruction and their trajectories eventually collide in a sequence from the series. These two trajectories lead the Cavills to very different conclusions about their great plan of revenge. Along the way, gaps from the show are filled in and characters such as Sam Anders and the Cylon model known as Simon get some depth added to them.

The performances are top notch by the actors returning to their roles. Dean Stockwell plays an excellent man divided against himself with a divide that is measured in light years. Tricia Helfer plays the Cybil-like Six across many different versions of herself and doesn’t seem to have aged a bit since the show’s beginning. The other returning cast members slide perfectly back into character and deliver on all points.

There is some fantastic fan service to be had as well. We get to see the attack on the colonies up close and personal. Also, original footage from the show is woven almost seamlessly into the new narrative, the only issue being that not all of the actors aged as gracefully as others (Edward James Olmos, I’m looking in your direction). I do not hold that against “The Plan” because Olmos does well to direct in a fashion that doesn’t linger too long to create much of a disjunct between new and old material.

There are some BSG elements missing such as the overt discussion of religious models and sadly Mary McDonnel is nowhere to be seen. These are not shortcomings though, just my own personal feelings of nostalgia for the series. “The Plan” stands on its own legs but is not a place I would recommend new comers to the series go to. This was made for fans of the show and could almost be considered a love letter to them.

Edward James Olmos has stated that Universal would probably support more BSG pieces if “The Plan” does well, but I think anything more than what’s been done would be overkill. With “Caprica” waiting in the wings, I would hope that full attention is put to its quality. As much as I love Battlestar, I don’t want to see it become a shambling zombie of a franchise that Hollywood seemingly loves to create these days.

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