Thursday, December 11, 2003

Mike on Battlestar Galactica

Go over to Naked Villainy and read your Maximum Leader's commentary on the Sci-Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica" miniseries.

I saw the two parts last night; very slick. Like Mike says, the human drama was what made the whole thing work.

The 70s gave us a ton of disaster flicks, but since the 90s we seem, as a culture, a bit more obsessed with the Man vs. Machine concept-- cf. "Terminator" and "The Matrix" as recent examples. The slogan for the "Galactica" miniseries is "Don't create what you can't control." Creepy.

My brother Sean walked in on my late-show viewing of "Galactica" and pronounced himself very annoyed by the actor who plays Apollo. He and I also concluded that the musical score is "all over the place," with very contrasting themes. But I liked the score; it had a sense of fun about it. The TV-movie's ambience was more subtle and gloomier than the original series'; it felt like a combination of "Enemy Mine" and "Starship Troopers." The show's art directors did a great job of conveying the vastness and coldness of space-- something the Star Trek people never managed, in my opinion.

I can't imagine where this might go, if "Galactica" gets turned into a series. Earth has already been declared mythical (even though Commander Adama offers it as hope for the unknowing masses)... if the people of Kobol, with their already-Earthlike fashions, were to reach Earth, it'd be a little awkward. I remember that "Galactica 1980" wasn't able to handle the Kobol-Earth meeting very well (and might I add that, despite my love of Edward James Olmos, there's no replacing Lorne Greene as Adama), so I think that, if the new "Galactica" gets off the ground, Earth should remain mythical-- or be handled the way it's handled in Asimov's Foundation series.

One thing I found myself missing: part of the charm of the Vipers from the 1978 series was that huge Batmobile-style jet of blue flame whenever they'd use those awesome afterburners (turbothrusters?). But this was compensated by the new series' constant use of original footage for every moment of each hyperkinetic battle scene, instead of the annoying, repeated cut-togethers of old battle footage that marked the old series and kept us 1978-era elementary and middle schoolers joking. And I almost forgot: missile contrails are gorgeous. Too bad that, in the Galactica universe, you can't say, "Shields on full!"


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