Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Plan: Reviewed

Following up on the post below, reviews are coming in for Battlestar Galactica: The Plan. Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits gives the film a B+ and highly recommends the Blu-Ray release. Ron Henriques for The Latino Review notes:

We were never actually told the details of the Cylons' ultimate plan to annihilate humanity when the series began. The made a dramatic reappearance after vanishing for forty years and with the destruction of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, nearly wiped out the human race. Now with this new film all is revealed. The story opens 281 days after the destruction of the colonies during the season one episode 'Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II' where Brother John Cavil (Dean Stockwell) has just been exposed as a Cylon by another model of himself. This is the story of two Cavil's: Fleet Cavil, who has infiltrated the surviving fleet as a minister, hoping to break it from the inside and Caprica Cavil, who gets involved with a group of resistance fighters led by Sam Anders (Michael Trucco) and begins to question whether the Cylon attack was justified. Flashing back two days before the attack we finally get to see the destruction in full detail (thanks in part to an increased visual effects budget).

Yet Battlestar Galactica is not about visual effects, but rather character and story. Graduating from supporting player to central character, Dean Stockwell puts in some brilliant work playing not one, but two versions of the same model. When revealed to be one of the final five in season four, Ellen Tigh (Kate Vernon) described him as a spoiled child, yet he is something far worse. Cavil yearns for mankind's destruction because they created the Cylons and though they are near perfect machines they are still limited. The final five are their creators as well yet no matter what they do as long as man survives they will love them more. We get to see exactly what each of the five were doing when the bombs dropped and how Cavil infiltrated the fleet and was responsible for many of the dilemmas throughout season one.

...If you are a fan of this series, both the blu-ray and dvd are highly recommended. This film will no doubt be edited down for length (and a surprising amount of sex and nudity) when it is broadcast next year so if you decide to wait, you may find yourself missing out.

Other reviews from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Eric Goldman for IGN, Chris Chiarella for Big Picture Sound, Kenneth Brown for, and Scott Chitwood for Coming

Check out stills from The Plan, here and here.

Win a copy of The Plan.

Also, you can win Dinner with the Admiral, just sign up at UGO for a chance to dine with Edward James Olmos.


Sausage Snappers said...

I guess I'm the only one who thought The Plan was awful. I couldn't keep my eyes open. It's nothing but a bunch of talking and filling in holes that we had already mentally filled in as we watched the mystery unfold on BSG. It's something we can all easily pass up. The only scenes worth watching are the ones involving the apocalypse.

j said...

Well, I wasn't too impressed either. It's poorly directed, doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know and it feels like a collection of deleted scenes spliced together with some new material.

Work said...

Very disappointed in The Plan.

Filler, pure and simple - a bigger version of a clip show. Big disappointment.

Sander said...

Same here. The special effects in The Plan were a far cry from the miniseries, which had the most realistic space effects ever.
The story doesn't add anything, and the acting is uninspired.

The only good thing is the 5 minutes or something just before the destruction of the colonies, because of the tension.

The Plan was made to make more money out of a series that was basically a finished product.

Publius said...

I was "meh" about The Plan. The score was frakkin' awesome, maybe Bear McCreary's best work ever. And the first 10 minutes were great with the leadup to the assault on the Colonies, and the attack itself.

Then it turned into a clip show with a bunch of simply unbelievable plot contrivances to retcon the Cylon plotlines that had me scratching my head during the series - plotlines that didn't necessarily need to be answered. For example, did we really need to know that Boomer was turned on and off by a wooden elephant? Wouldn't it have been better simply to know her as a "weak model", as Cavil described her in the series, someone who was struggling with her love for Tyrol while her Cylon identity broke through?

I estimate that The Plan was about 60% old clips and 40% new material - and of that 40%, 75% of it was Cavil and Anders & Team. I think Adam and Tigh had maybe 1 minute of new footage. Roslin was completely absent, even in old clips, which left a giant gaping hole as we were all left to wonder how Tory went from Colonial holocaust survivor to Presidential chief of staff.

It was apparent to me that the film was done on the cheap. Zoic did not do the CGI - the credits say that it was done by "BSG In-House Effects Studio" or something like that. There was nearly nowhere as much CGI as there was in the series, and what there was didn't look anything like Zoic's work (though it still wasn't that bad).

There was absolutely zero new footage from key members of the cast - no Starbuck, no Roslin, no Gaeta, no Zarek, no Cally, no D'anna, none of that. The implication I got was that all Universal could afford was a couple of minutes of Tory, Ellen and Saul Tigh, and Adama, a few more minutes of Leoben and Doral, still more of Boomer, Tyrol, and the various Sixes, and then a whole lot of Cavil, Anders, and Simon. And then there was Eddie Olmos's wife, of course, who was a complete retcon and lent little to the film except to have an exotic accent, give Simon a spouse, and explain why Tyrol started to dream of suicide.

I guess it was nice to see more of Simon's character. I felt that he got really short shrift during the series, and it would have been nice in the series to see Simon working to quietly sabotage the human race's survival through his medical "skills". Instead, we got 100 minutes of Simon struggling with his own love for his wife and airlocking himself in the end.

Oh, well. BSG has gone out with a whimper. My only hope now is that Caprica is as good as the pilot was.

Toranaga said...

The name should be changed to
"THE FRAUD" the plan was horrible.
I already knew cavil was behind everything.This was a blatant grab for money. i wasted 15 bucks. Everyone should wait for the broadcast next version next year.

radii said...


glad i took io9's advice and skipped it

Slides said...

I was absolutely disappointed as well. It felt like a mish mash of Deleted Scenes strung together with scenes from the Series. It felt horrible to think this is the last pieces of BSG that will stay for me. I bought the Blu-Ray box set of the entire Series and I am actually glad they didn't put a sleeve to hold the Plan as this is one BSG film that I would not want anywhere near the original Series. The new Special Effects also looks horrible. I agree with the othr poster that sited it as "The Fraud"

Disgraceful in every sense. Don't waste your time watching this.

Lyubomir said...

Silence, everyone! The Plan is a great addition to the series, and any true fan will appreciate it.

The movie is great because it did something that the series forgot to do - focus on the villain. Reveal a bit of his inner workings, the feelings and desires that drive him.

I was not disappointed. Not at all. Maybe I am the only true fan around here...

Artemis Thlon said...

Ron Moore sold the birthright when he let Jane Espenson take the BSG helm. Am I the only one that thinks that Jane Espenson may the the bona fide harbinger of doom, taking them all (BSG episodes for which she was responsible) to their destruction? It seems to me that when Ron Moore was at the helm, the vision for the series was clear and the plot lines jibed; however, Espenson's episodes-by-committee approach leaves a loose, unpolished feel to every episode which is best exemplified in "The Plan". I prefer to think of BSG the way it was: tight, sharp, and poignant.