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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Tale of Two Cavil's

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
Dir. Edward James Olmos

Those who read this blog know that I feel that Ronald D. Moore's BSG is the best television series ever made. That said, it did have a lot of loose ends which bothered some people a lot more than myself, so no matter how you look at this quasi-prequel, this is a creative piece of Retcon.

Warning: the slightest of spoilers, in that if you don't want to know anything about what's in this film don't read further.

The original parts of the film are quite strong, and challenging. It tells the story of the two Cavil's airlocked on the Battlestar after the occupation of Caprica. The two Cavil's, through similar experiences, come to different realizations about the Cylon's failed attempt at annihilating humanity, and the nature of love and forgiveness (or lack of). The film also finally shows us more of Simon, in fact gives us two parallel stories of Simons which play foil to the two Cavil's. Rick Worthy (who plays Simon, aka Number Four) gives a teriffic performance, and the best scenes in the film are those in which he and Dean Stockwell (Cavil) pontificate and ruminate.

The weak part, and for some people the deal-breaker in this film is the re-use of scenes from the TV show to re-position them in a new framework. The feel is little better than a fan-edit of a film, and isn't nearly as engaging as the original material.

Does the film answer all of the unanswered questions? Nope, and those looking for closure will be heavily frustrated. But the film is another entry into a show that was great because it was philosophically and structurally challenging, adding an explicit playing out of the depth of implications which inform generic archetypes. It does however, give us a new light to look at the dynamics of the various Cylon models, the role of the centurions, gives us a wider view of the 12 colonies, a tiny bit into Tory's back story, a lot more into Sam's back story, and in my favorite development, gives us insight into Leoben which really complicates things in a satisfying way.

It's a must for fans of the show. If you haven't seen the show don't bother, you won't know what's going on. In some ways, in how it explains Cavil's motivations, this would have been better as a prelude to season 4 had it not given away the final five. So, maybe it would be best viewed after "Sometimes a Great Notion." It doesn't really add closure to the show, and I don't see how anything could improve upon the finale, but it is a welcome addition.

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