Forget Dirk Benedict poncing around in a beige anorak, this is the business.
Filmed almost entirely straight this starts from a bit of a weird point of view that confused me a little at first, but hey, I’m easily confused! Commander Adama, played brilliantly by Edward James Olmos, is in control of the soon to be retired Battlestar Galactica which has been partially turned in to a museum (complete with a converted docking bay gift shop). Adama’s reluctance to network his ships computers certainly pays off in the later stages of the series, but at the start provides a bit of anchorage for fans of the old series.
It’s forty years since the Cylons turned against their human masters and things have been pretty quiet. That is until they manage to get hold of some top secret stuff and decide to blow the shit out of humanity, it’s from this point that things really start cooking! The Cylons devastate humanity and by the end of it all we’re back at the point the original series started at, Galactica searching for the mythical Earth.
Which brings me round nicely to the inevitable comparisons that will take place between this and the original. It’s not the original and thank goodness it isn’t. The original was badly acted and was hamstrung by appalling storylines, flying motorbikes anyone?
The mini series takes all of the salvageable bits of the original, adds whizzo CG, good acting, a couple of proper laughs, mixes in a bit of surprise sex changes (Starbuck’s a bird!) and tops it off with a cracking storyline and manages to pull it of with aplomb!
The effects, oh boy, the effects! All the space ships are straight out of Japanese comic books and video games, they’re great! The new Viper looks almost exactly like the Vic Viper from Konami’s Gradius series of games and is super cool by association.
The effects bods have managed to shy away from the Star Wars style pulsing lasers the original series used, instead going for ultra cool rail guns with tracer rounds. It’s a brilliant touch that lends an air of credibility to the space fighting scenes, something the original never had. The temptation to go with lasers must have been fairly strong mind.
To finish I’ve got to say that it’s well worth shelling out a tenner for the DVD, the three hours of modern sci-fi you get in return is without doubt some of the best I’ve seen in a long time.