In the last of our Experiment 626, it is time for Head of Film Cookie to explore a film she hasn't watched. Given by none other than Editor in Chief, Will.
For Cookie from Will
I picked something that, for me, is a fantastic piece of work both in cinematography and writing. It's a film I return to whenever I sit to write a substantial script and serves as a handbook for how to create a compelling, isolated, organic drama that really drags you in. It's so rich in it's execution and attention that I'm sure you'll love it too.
I have to let tell you something. It’s not a big thing but something you should know about me. I don’t actively seek science fiction space movies. Even the big ones. I can put my hands on my heart and truthfully tell you that there are four sci-fi movies that I actively went to seek; Blade Runner, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Galaxy Quest and Terry Gilliam’s latest, The Zero Theorem. The rest seem to have just fallen into lap like “there you go, and here is some added dystopia.”
It’s not that I don’t enjoy science fiction because I do. I like watching spaceships, and galaxies, aliens and a vast universe world. But it doesn’t ignite passions that it may do in my companions. Much like an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, it is comfortable but doesn’t make you excited as it used to. Hell, it has taken me this long to get into Doctor Who and the episode that hooked me was more of a human interest story.
So with that in mind, Will introduced me to Battlestar Galactica (a decision he made after pawning over movies that I may or may not have watched and quite sneakily, I might add.) A semi-cheat as this is a movie made from a mini television series where both episodes were an hour and a half long. Battlestar Galactica revolves around a ship of the same name. Based on a 1978 movie, the “film” is set in a future and Galactica, being an old ship, is being prepped to become a museum. However, a race of robots named Cylon’s are rising again. The Cylon’s were once enslaved by humans but revolted against them. Nearly fifty years later of tense and uneasy relations, the Cylon’s return bigger and better than before to topple the human race. And after wiping out most ships, it rests on Galactica to beat them.
A lot of it is to do with the vast array of characters. There is so much diversity here that it feels like a Whedon expedition. And it’s not that you should focus on that because it doesn’t offer it up in tokenism. It’s just it wasn’t thought of because that is, accurately, how people are. Actually, it is in this aspect that the movie triumphs. Instead of focusing too much on the future and it’s toys (although special effects are fantastic,) it is the drama between characters that drives it forward. Here, the script makes us engage with them and their array of personalities.
It is also a pleasant surprise to see some British actors pop up and yes, when Baltar was on screen I couldn’t help thinking “come the fuck on Bridget.” The best character here though being lead Cylon Number Six who leads the battle. Played by Tricia Helfer she is an honest, open but brutal villain who still haunts after her destruction.
And let's not forget the twist that took me by surprise.
I don’t know whether it is a problem with me or the movie and it’s ridiculous length but it isn't overly important to stick with it. There were times where I drifted off and my attention wasn't held for as long as it should have been. This movie could easily be cut in half and be an action packed thrill ride. Instead, there were a lot of points that were unnecessary. It also doesn’t make me want to pursue the television series or re-watch over and over again. Still, I appreciate that it was a movie sorely missing from my history and it is an enjoyable movie for, perhaps, a lazy Sunday afternoon. That being said, it is a lot better than a lot of stuff on Syfy, or even in the cinemas and will be watched again another day, when the science fiction taste gets me.
Will, I thank you dearly for the film.