I have a memory like a sieve. I'm bad with names when I meet people, have issues remembering objects proper names (so I tend to make them up) and have a tendency to instantly forget anything not related to what I'm doing. So I write everything down. The point I'm getting to (eventually) is that there are too many films, TV shows, and games with 'battle' and 'galactic' in their titles.
Battlestar Galactica, the mini-series, was on two weekends ago, and the number of times I miss-named it Battlefield Earth (as we have just acquired Battle for Middle Earth) would probably horrify anyone involved in the show. Battlefield Earth was a scary movie that was so laden with religious undertones that no one could ignore them.
Battlestar Galactica, on the other hand, is a new look at an old series. I've not seen anything of the old show that I can recall, so I came to this with a fresh perspective. First impressions last with a series, and BG's first impression was very positive. Opening with a brief text history of the human/Cylon war, and the Cylon's subsequent disappearance, we are taken to the ship where the delegate has gone to meet the Cylon representative who has never shown since they disappeared.
For a TV mini-series, BG's effects are fantastic. They've gone for quality rather than quantity and what they have is brilliant. There aren't any fuzzy backgrounds nor any stand out CGI characters. The old style Clyon drones are impressive and rather intimidating.
The robots have become advanced enough to have human replica spies, which means they have a great new paranoia plot to run with and also means it's not just big clunky "bad robots" as the big bad.
The catastrophic destruction of all twelve human worlds was, as we would hope, very traumatising for the characters, and thankfully mini-series melodrama was nicely avoided. The nuclear bomb shower of Caprica was one particularly impressive sequence.
The subsequent hunting down of all human vessels by the Cylons was rather nasty, and the way the BG is involved in this is executed well. The ascension of the Minister for Education to President of the Colonies and the struggle for power is a thread which will surely be a regular feature in the series.
The great battle and escape that ends the mini-series was one of the best space battles I've seen. Intense and chaotic. A very subdued sound design meant that we were able to focus on the human aspect of it rather than the sounds of ships whizzing by. It was like they were aware of the fact that there isn't any air in space for noise to travel.
For anyone who has seen Joss Whedon's Firefly, you will be aware of the unique CGI 'hand-held' shots. Out-of-focus zooms and close-ups of over engines. BG used these to their advantage and it added another layer of craziness to the battles.
The mini-series really did seem like a very long pilot for a TV show. Not a bad thing, but it would have been very disappointing to spend that much time setting up these characters and their relationships, to have it end after 4 hours.
I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to a sci-fi classic and eagerly await the start of the weekly show on Wednesday.