Battlestar Galactica: The Plan full movie review - Thorough Reexamination of Battlestar Galactica
The cylons were created by man. They rebelled and evolved to appear human and even think as humans.
These robotic machines in the universe of Battlestar Galactica destroyed an entire civilization of fictional humans in a quest to right the wrongs of their creators' sins. The moral question of justice has always been a backdrop of Battlestar, but The Plan really brings it to the forefront. What reasoning is there for genocide and mass destruction? What moral imperative drives devastating loss of life? Such are the massive questions the show endeavors to resolve, or at least, question. The Plan examines what it means to be human.
In the Battlestar universe, the cylons have always had a plan. We just never got to see or understand it as viewers. The Plan examines pinnacle moments during the Battlestar show and present clips of the events with supplemental scenes to further extrapolate details about the characters. The destruction of the colonies is witnessed first hand by several members of the Final Five cylons who provided the technology for human emulation, one of the critical innovations the cylons made to infiltrate humanity once and for all. Sweeping shots of glistening cities are replaced with apocalyptic images of mindless destruction through waves of nuclear air strikes. The effects are mesmerizing on a visual and intellectual level, as the viewer is left to ponder the massive outcome of military damage to defenseless civilian targets. The emotional impact is overwhelming.
The cylon plan for human genocide derives from the conniving plans of Cavil, labeled One as a cylon model. Dean Stockwell provides a provocative characterization of a somewhat schizophrenic character. He "chews the scenery" a bit as the evil mastermind, but Stockwell emanates his decisions with such moral clarity, such disdain for opposing sides, that he fills the megalomaniac shoes very well. The performance is simultaneously campy and brilliant in his provoking mannerisms. Mixing the personal with the theatrical, he conveys a sensational villain with insistent motives that question our understanding of human morality.
Few of the revelations give any provocative insight into the original plots of BSG, but the impact of the reexamination triggers a strong nostalgic and inquisitive response. Boomer's actions as a sleeper agent are thoroughly scrutinized. The additional scenes extrapolate while leaving some questions open to interpretation and imagination. The fun part of The Plan is reconsidering all of the original conflicts of the Battlestar universe and reinterpreting them, either through the on screen situations or through our own imaginations. The movie encourages the imagination to question the original story-lines, a profound achievement for a movie presented through a format akin to a clip show. It is a "re-imagining" of the clip show and of Battlestar Galactica as a whole, and the result is thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking.
The DVD is chock full of extras, from extended deleted scenes with accompanying soundtrack to special extras which offer insight into the BSG creative process. The special effects team has a feature offering some understanding into the complex creative enterprise of realizing the detailed and realistic visual effects of the series. Edward James Olmos has a feature describing his transition to director and what the process means to him. The extra content enhances the understanding of the creative process and provides additional story lines through the deleted scenes, making for a cornucopia of juicy material.
Most of all, The Plan provides a means of observing our moral universe and the underlying philosophical principles of our existence. Battlestar Galactica has always focused on moral conflicts, and this most recent movie expounds upon Ronald D. Moore's vision as well as human morality. It is a triumph of creative television and moral exploration.
Highs: Exemplary special effects nicely complement a compelling storyline; Dean Stockwell's scenery-chewing brilliance; poetic direction by Olmos; casual confidence of Espenson's dialogue; exciting DVD extras; innovative re-imagining of the clip show.
Lows: Somewhat campy; Cylon evil-ness reduced occasionally to comic slapstick (see Six's wig switch in the middle of the movie).
The Verdict: A, Haunting, nostalgic presentation of the war between man and cylon.