I started watching The Plan really skeptical; I read all the reviews here, and thought it was going to be mediocre at best, as all the negative reviews seem to be saying that in unison.
However, I was really pleasantly surprised. I can understand how some people might be disappointed with The Plan, it doesn’t, after all, answer some of the questions left hanging in the air after the series finale. It doesn’t have the space battles or insane intensity of some of BSG’s better episodes. It doesn’t include some of the most important characters (Laura Roslin, Apollo, Starbuck).
But The Plan was never planned or written, I think, as a nostalgia film that is supposed to exploit our feelings for these characters to milk us for some cash. Instead, it has decided to do something bold: to tell an entirely new story that connects with what we already know, happening at the same time as what we’ve seen during the first two seasons of BSG.
It’s the story of how the Cylons, each in different situations and living amongst different humans were in fact influenced by those humans. We see them developing genuine empathy, and utter hate. We see some renouncing their Cylon identity because of what they’ve done. We see them questioning their actions. We see them at their most brilliant, but also at their most incompetent. We see them for what they truly are: the imperfect creations of imperfect creations. In the end, the moral is simple: it’s easy to kill someone from space with a nuke. It’s hard to kill someone looking them in the eye.
If your going to watch The Plan expecting some grand revelations about the loose ends in the series finale, then you will come out disappointed. But if you watch The Plan looking for a really well written movie, with some terrific performances, some new insights into Cylon thinking, or just for a little nostalgia, you wont be disappointed.
So, if you choose to buy this DVD, judge it on it’s own merits.
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Despite being a huge BSG fan, I wasn’t really looking forward to “BSG: The Plan”. After BSG: Razor failed to impress, I wasn’t expecting much from The Plan. Fear not, The Plan, hereinafter referred to as TP, actually works. It plays like a filler episode, exploring various mysteries which the writers never fully explained to the viewers. TP follows a chronological order, beginning before the Cylon attack, going to “33″, “Water”, “You Can’t Go Home Again”, “Litmus”, “Six Degrees of Separation”, and ending with season 2′s finale of “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II”. Kudos to director EJ Olmos and writer Jane Espenson for seamlessly threading in the new scenes and better fleshing out previously thin characters.
Mysteries such as the following are explored…
- Who did Caprica-Six meet with on Caprica, after talking with Gaius Baltar in the marketplace?
- Did Boomer really blow up the water tanks?
- How did Shelly Godfrey escape from the Galactica?
- How did Sam Anders and his Pyramid team escape and form their resistance?
- How did Ellen Tigh survive the Cylon nuclear attack on Picon?
- How did Leoben become so enamored of Starbuck?
- Why did the Cylons suddenly stop their attack when the BSG Marines linked up with Sam’s resistance on Caprica?
We also get to see more of Boomer’s internal conflicts between Cylon and human facets, as well as a deeper insight into the Number Four model, Simon. A Simon model is shown to be sympathetic to the human cause, even marrying a human (played by EJ Olmos’ actual wife) and raising a family. We see Cavil’s machinations as he attempts to orchestrate several Cylons into causing massive damage to the Fleet.
The computer graphics for TP are vastly superior to the shots used during the TV series, and the viewers are shown some scenes from the Cylon attack on the Colonies. Interestingly, TP also has a graphic sex scene, as well as graphic male and female frontal nudity not unlike the infamous scene from Starship Troopers. Some of the nudity felt rather gratuitous and excessive; was it really necessary to show Ellen Tigh and Cavil meeting in a topless bar?
Minus 1-star because President Roslin, aka Mary McDonnell, and Number Three, aka Lucy Lawless, are never shown, either in a flashback or inserted new footage! Starbuck, Lee Adama, Dr. Baltar, and Helo are shown in clips, but no new footage from them either.
All in all, a very good pickup for any BSG fan. EJ Olmos has said that if TP sells well, then we can expect to see even more BSG movies in the future. Other potential story lines might include the origins of the Final Five, what happened to the survivors after they reached Earth, or more about Starbuck’s character, especially her fateful mission where she “died”. TP makes you wish SciFi (aka SyFy) didn’t end BSG so soon.
**A quick word about the Blu-Ray discs; the image quality is solid. The DTS soundtrack sounds great, especially in the Cylon Attack scenes. It’s a treat to hear Bear McCreary’s music again.
Other features; commentary by director EJ Olmos and writer Jane Espenson, 15 minutes worth of deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes look at EJ Olmos’ directorial BSG debut, twenty minute visual effects feature, a cylon primer, and a short with Michael Trucco discussing a human resistance attack.
I am not going to preface this with any grand statements about being a BSG fan from day one. If I am taking the time to write this, you should suspect that already.
This movie really works in that it is a quiet story in a very noisy room. It is about how life finds ways to disrupt our plans but not always in a bad way. It is about reconciling what you think you want with what actually want. It is about learning “the truth” isn’t always in the safe black and white places we create. It is about love in all its forms.
First, about the nudity. It exists. Get over it. BSG was never a “family friendly” show given its themes, so if you were expecting something different here, then you are about to be sadly mistaken. There are no basic cable broadcast guidelines to satisfy, so a story can be told in whatever way the storytellers wish. The nudity is not gratuitous or in your face, so deal with the fact it is just another adult theme that BSG can use without restriction now.
Here is the crux of it: at its heart, this movie is about how the Cylons intended on destroying humanity for their perceived wrongs against the Cylon race, and how that plan changed literally everyone. In the real world, it would have been nice to have been able to film scenes with all of the cast members, but monetarily that was not to be – everyone (including Lucy Lawless, contrary to another review here) is represented through previous footage in some fashion. Jane Espenson wound all their stories together in a beautiful fashion, and Edward James Olmos mixed the stock footage together with the new that it was at times hard to tell which was which. The story was engaging enough that I could suspend the fan’s critical eye for the first running of the movie, and just enjoy the story Ms. Epenson and Mr. Olmos told.
Will you like it? Hard to tell, but only because I don’t know you. If you sit back and let the story unfold, you will most likely find this an engaging work and a worthy addition to the BSG canon. If you are watching this to see (fill in your favorite actor here)’s story expanded, you might be out of luck – and you also might be missing the point. This is a quiet story not always about specific individuals, but rather about how an individual can affect others and how that ripples through even the most well laid out plan. It is an intimate story told on a grand pallette, and thanks to the people in front of and behind the camera, it works beautifully.