Battlestar Galactica (remake)

The Quote:

“KILL ALL HUMANS!”

A toss up between: “I’m not a cylon” and “He/She’s a cylon!” — Uttered by pretty much everyone at some point.

The Review:

Battlestar GalacticaThe creators of the Battlestar Galactica remake first had to figure out the series long over-arching plot.  This part was easy: “Cylons try to kill all humans.”  Simple, to the point, exciting.  Done and done.  Then you add in the extras like why are they trying to kill humans, what the gritty details are, who is a cylon, and so on.

The next part was tricky because they had to figure out how to stretch the story into four seasons and still keep people interested.  Lost has this very same problem (which will only get worse because of the series length and growing absurdity).  The Battlestar Galactica creators came up with a system to deal with series fatigue.  The system is as follows:

  1. Hook people with overarching story, cylon attacks, and mythology.
  2. Spend 15-45 minutes having characters drink themselves under the table.
  3. Add (sometimes dull) flashback episode that has nothing to do with overarching storyline.
  4. Have a character be accused of being a cylon, sleep with a cylon, or be revealed as a cylon.
  5. Add tense episode where X character kills/fucks/marries/pisses off/punches X other character with no real consequences that ultimately has nothing to do with overarching storyline.
  6. If in doubt have more drinking.
  7. Go to #1

The reality is you could probably pair down the series to 40% of the episodes and still not miss anything from the main story.  I liked the “filler” for the most part, but sometimes it could get dull, preachy, or predictable.  What really bothered me is how little the filler actually changed the story.  Characters often painted themselves into corners and would do something almost unforgivable but within two to five episodes all would be forgiven and everything went back to normal.

I admired the show for broaching topics on suicide bombers, abortion, religion, law, military rule, and resurrection, but at the same time was overly preachy and formulaic with the big court drama during season three. Overall the show pushed buttons, broke some new ground in television, and was generally enjoyable.

Then the final episode aired.

To be honest the second hour of the finale of Battlestar Galactica ripped the soul out of the show.  The sugar coated fluffy ending went against everything BSG built up over the four seasons.  On top of that the big mystery of the opera house was poorly resolved with much of the religious aspect butchered to a simplistic and frankly insulting conclusion.  Add a dull ending that treated the audience like children and you’ve got one of the worst conclusions the show could have.  Because of the ending I can’t see myself watching the series ever again.  Battlestar Galactica, for me, was about how destructive but passionate the human race is and the ending ignored all that was built up through the four seasons and gave us a pathetic feel-good finale.

What you should take away:

If you plan to annihilate the human race, save the time, man power, and resources and leave us alone.  We’re more than capable of destroying ourselves; just give it some time.

Breaking the rules, laws, and even murder generally is acceptable as long as you spend a few days in the brig (in most cases).  Especially if your character is important or popular.

God’s Angels are made up of a baby killing robot and a smarmy selfish traitor.  Good to know.

If you are seeing things you are a cylon, or crazy… or both.

The Rating through the first hour of the finale:

The Rating for the second hour of the finale:

(Yes I hated it that much)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)The Quote:

“…” (Any time Keanu Reeves seems like he should be saying something but does not)

The Review:

Keanu Reeves could have been replaced by a nice potted plant and the movie would have stayed pretty much the same.  I almost imagine the director, Scott Derrickson, telling the cast “What I want is dull!  Mind numbing dull.  If you feel emotion creeping in while acting pretend you just went into a coma”.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is a remake of the 1951 classic with similar themes, but instead of focusing on nuclear weapons they focus on environmentalism.  The end result, as the special effects kick in and the obligatory destruction of New York City starts, you really wish everyone would stop trying to convince Klaatu to save the planet and just get the movie over with.

With miscasting, over-the-top military acting, a really obnoxious child, and oddly misplaced giant robot special effect, The Day the Earth Stood Still manages to epically disappoint and be ultra dull.

What you should take away:

If a secret branch of the government shows up at your door and says your mad military/science/technology skills are needed immediately you are likely going to be dead within 24 hours (unless you are hot).

If you are ripping off borrowing swarm special effects from the 1999 movie The Mummy, relying on the visual “wow” effect to keep audiences engaged instead of story, acting, or action is unwise.

Tip when building liquid-goo-Ark-bubble-things: Do not just take two of each animal because you are going to end up with some seriously inbred creatures.

Apparently if you have the power to destroy and save the world, move objects with your mind, and create electricity you  will still need to hitch a ride back to the city from some Mom and her kid.

The Rating: