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Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 5, 2013 by  



Exciting, action-packed and thrilling from beginning to end, if you enjoyed the re-imagined series of “Battlestar Galactica”, you will enjoy “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition”.  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 1 Hr. 34 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Defiition (widescreen 1:78:1), English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Subtitles: English SDH, Espanol, Francais

COMPANY: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

Release Date: February 19, 2013

Directed by Jonas Pate

Written by David Eick, Glen A. Larson, Michael Taylor, Bradley Thompson, David Weddle

Executive Producer: David Eick, Michael Taylor

Co-Executive Producer: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle

Co-Producer: Mike Gibson, Erin Smith

Content Producer: Erin Smith

Consulting Producer Glen A. Larson

Music by Bear McCreary

Cinematography by Lukas Ettlin

Edited by Ron Rosen, Andrew Seklir

Casting by Heike Brandstatter, Anya Colloff, Coreen Mayrs, Amy McIntyre Britt

Production Design by Brian Kane

Art Direction by Tyler Bishop Harron

Starring:

Luke Pasqualino  as William Adama

Ben Cotton as Coker Fasjovik

Jill Teed as Commander Ozar

Lili Bordan as Dr. Becca Kelly

Mike Dopud as Deke Tombald

Joseph Falsetti as Derek Shelby

Tricia Helfer as voice of Humanoid Cylon

Adrian Holmes as Lt. Decklan Elias

Karen LeBlanc as Jenna

Brian Markinson as Silas Nash

John Puper-Ferguson as Xander Toth

Zak Santiago as Armin “High Top” Diaz

Sebastian Spence as Lt. Jim Kirby

An all-new chapter in the Battlestar Galactica saga, Blood & Chrome takes place in the midst of the first Cylon war. As the battle between humans and their creation, the sentient robotic Cylons, rages across the 12 colonial worlds, a young, talented fighter pilot, William Adama (Luke Pasqualino, The Borgias), finds himself assigned to one of the most powerful battlestars in the Colonial fleet: the Galactica. Though Adama quickly finds himself at odds with his co-pilot, the battle-weary officer Coker (Ben Cotton, Alcatraz), the two men must set their differences aside when a routine escort mission with an enigmatic passenger (Lili Bordán, Silent Witness) turns dangerous and becomes a pivotal one for the desperate fleet.

In 2004, the sci-fi series “Battlestar Galactica”, a re-imaging of the 1978 series would be featured on the Sci-Fi Channel.  From its three-hour mini-series and four more seasons that would last through 2009, the series would receive critical acclaim and would win countless awards.

The original series was about humans who have lived in peace after a war against the cybernetic race known as the Cylons (robots originally created by humans and later rebelled).   With humans living in planets known as the Twelve Colonies, the Cylons launched a sneak attack on the colonies and literally causing devastation and death to the the human population.  Only 50,000 of the billions of humans survive and those who do survive are escorted on civilian space ships.

The series would introduce the Battlestar Galactica, a military capital ship that survived attack but was to be decommissioned.  And the responsibility of taking care of these humans on his ship is Colonial Fleet Officer Commander William “Bill” Adama.

And would feature the adventures of his crew as they would try to find a safehaven for humankind, to find the Planet Earth and to find a way to defeat the Cylons.

To best explain how or why the humans created the Cylons, a prequel that takes place 58 before the events of “Battlestar Galactica” was created and the series was known as “Caprica” (which would last one season) and would feature the father of William Adama.

When there was discussion to make a “Battlestar Galactica” prequel as a video game with live action cut scenes, the plan was to create digital reconstructions of the sets of “Battlestar Galactica” but set around 40 years before the events of “Battlestar Galactica”.  Creating a virtual set, SyFy was pleased with the development of the project and wanted the storyline that was created to be made into a two-hour pilot.

So, in 2011, shooting began for the prequel known as “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” which would originally be planned for an online release.  By November 2012, the series would be released as ten 12-minute acts and was featured on Machinima.com and will be aired on SyFy in February 2013.

A week after it has aired on television, “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” will be released as a full-length film via an unrated version on Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand and Digital Download on Feb. 19, 2013.

“Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” revolves around a cocky young pilot named William Adama (portrayed by Luke Pasqualino, “Skins”, “The Apparition”), fresh out of the Academy and signs up to be part of the crew of the newly built Galactica.

Thinking that he will be piloting the Viper, instead he is assigned to pilot a Raptor transport ship known as the Wild Weasel and must work with a co-pilot named Coker Fasjovik (portrayed by Ben Cotton, “The Chronicles of Riddick”, “Slither”, “Walking Tall”), a man who is more interested in leaving the military and has only a month left of military duty left.  Coker, easily irritated by Adama’s cockiness, gives Adam the nickname of “Husker” and the two are briefed on their mission, to develop cargo to the Scorpia Fleet Shipyards and return with supplies back to the Galactica.  They must also bring Dr. Beka Kelly (portrayed by Lili Bordan, “Cherry”, “A Love Affair of Sorts”), a civilian software engineer, to the location.

While the two fly out and prepare for their basic run to deliver supplies, Dr. Beka Kelly hands a letter to both men from their Admiral and explains that their mission has changed.  Their new mission is to rendezvous with the Archeron, a battlestar in an area bordering Cylon space.  Also, they must take orders from Dr. Kelly.

Upset that their mission has went from safe to highly dangerous, Dr. Kelly also reveals a bombshell to Adama, that she worked for Graystone Industries, responsible for the Cylons and responsible for upgrading the Cylons “brain” chip.

As the two arrive to rendezvous with the Archeron, they find the whole fleet has been wiped out by Cylons and immediately, Cyclons begin attacking their Raptor. Fortunately for Adam, his excellent piloting is able to keep the crew alive and when they reach their coordinates, Dr. Kelly mutters her husband’s name in front of Adama.  Her husband is Ezra Barzel, a famed marine known for taking out many Cylons and is an inspiration and big hero to the Academy.

When they arrive to their new coordinates, they are greeted by allies, but not friendly.   They find out that the coordinate is for a ghost ship of a Battlestar known as Osiris that was assumed as destroyed in battle but is actually hiding in Cylon Territory.  With Dr. Kelly now aboard, a small fleet is created to help bring Dr. Kelly, Adama and Coker to Djerba, a former winter resort located in Cylon territory which Dr. Kelly must get to.  But when Coker overhears the commander of the Osiris calling the mission personnel volunteers (ie. for a suicide mission), Coker is not sure what mission they have him involved in.  He just wanted to go back home and live the last month of his service.

As Adama, Coker and Dr. Kelly leave in their raptor to go to Djerba, immediately a Cylon Basestar has appeared out of nowhere.  The commander of the Osiris tells the crew that the fate of the war depends on Dr. Kelly reaching her objective.  So, a battle between the Osiris and the Cylon Basestar begins and Cylon ships taking on the Osiris’ Vipers.

But what will happen to Adama, Coker and Dr. Kelly once they reach Djerba?

VIDEO:

“Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 widescreen).  The film was 90% pre-production, so a lot of what you see on screen is visual effects.  Cast was shot with green screen and the visual effects team worked their magic to make this film look good.  And I have to agree, the visual effects were fantastic!

From the look of the “Battlestar Galactica” and its interiors to compliment the timeline of a younger William Adama to the look of a chilly frontier or battles in space, the film/online series benefited from today’s technology to make things integrate with the cast members and nothing looks fake when we see the characters and the backgrounds/visual effects.  Everything looks real, well-lit and for the most part, looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

I didn’t see any artifacts, banding or any negative issues during my viewing of the film.  “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition” looks great on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  The overall film sounds very good with directional audio being used during the fight scenes through the surround channels.  I was hoping for a bit more immersion with the surround channels and also LFE, but for the most part, the lossless soundtrack was good.

Subtitles are in English, Espanol and Francais.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition” comes with the following special features:

  • Deleted Scenes – (29:22) Featuring 13 deleted scenes (note: deleted scenes are with green screen and not with finalized visual effects).
  • Blood & Chrome: Visual Effects – (22:58) A featurette on how “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” came to be and how the series/film became 90% visual effects and more.

EXTRAS:

“Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition” comes with both the Blu-ray version and the DVD.  Also, included is a UltraViolet code that allows you to put your movies into the cloud to instantly stream and download to tablets, smartphones, computers and TV’s.  Also, a slipcover case.

As a fan of the original “Battlestar Galactica” and also even more of a bigger fan of the first three seasons of the re-imagined “Battlestar Galactica”, watching “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” was a positive and enjoyable experience because it made me remember why I enjoyed the re-imaging to begin with.

One thing that made me angry about re-imagining was where the writing went in the fourth season.  Having come out strong in with the first three seasons, I felt cheated with the fourth and with “Caprica”, it was not what I was hoping for.

“Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” was exciting, action-packed but also featuring a storyline that is not too convoluted with characters.  The original kept introducing people and not knowing how to keep those characters going and it became a matter of “who do we kill of” and “Who should we make into a Cylon”.  And unfortunately, those situations were the sign of the times (mid-2000’s) and we saw it with “Heroes” and “Lost”, introducing too many characters and not knowing what to do with the.

So, the efficacy of “Battlestar Galatica: Blood & Chrome” is that it’s essentially about three characters.  Sure, there are many other characters introduce in the series, but the writers use these characters as a base for the three primary characters.

William Adama is an ensign that is so full of himself.  Macho playboy fresh out of the academy and is so cocky, you can see what his son in the future, Lee Adama, was able to inherit from his father.  But for this film, it’s about how a character grows and most importantly, seeing close-up of how the war was nothing like he expected.  Things that you were taught at the Academy were not necessarily true.

Opposite to Adama is Lt. Coker Fasjovik, a man who has come close to death many times and with a month left on active mandatory service, he just wants to live and see his wife.  But he has been pulled into this mission which was supposed to be routine, but ends up being his most deadly mission that he has ever experienced in his lifetime and now he’s not sure whether or not he will survive.

And then you have Dr. Becca Kelly, the beautiful engineer that help create the Cylons.  A woman who is determined to complete her mission which hundreds and thousands of people would sacrifice their lives in order to make sure she achieves her mission.

But what is that mission?  That is what audiences will find out as writers set the audience up for something surprising but also a fitting ending of this film that makes you craving for more.

The Blu-ray release features the unrated version not seen online and I’m not entirely sure how many minutes are added to the unrated version and what the primary differences are but there some visuals that may be a little gory or a very short steamy love scene which was nothing to watch your back over.  But I would assume it’s the former and what the three characters find inside of this ski resort, now being used by Cylons.

Picture quality is fantastic, considering that the series is nearly all created in post.  The film is pretty much using current technology to showcase visual effects without using actual sets.  And a lot of acting within green screen.  And what I liked about this film is that the visual effects integrate with the characters remarkably well.  There is none of that fake background scene look that you often see in films, the crew behind the visual effects did a great job of making things look real.

And it’s a shame that the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series didn’t have the same technology that they do now (or perhaps they did but it was too expensive) because the visual effects team really did a magnificent job.  May it be the flights in outerspace and the battles that take place.  To the overall look of the Battlestar Galactica, looking robust and new as it was featured 40 years ago with interiors that look fresh and new, not like the decommissioned, old version that was featured in the TV series.

But the picture quality on Blu-ray for “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition” is fantastic.  I didn’t see any artifacts or any problems whatsoever.  Lossless audio was also well-done.  Maybe not as immersive as I would hope but there was still good directional sound coming through the surround channels but was looking for more immersion during the fight scenes and a bit more LFE.  Special features included nearly a half hour of deleted scenes but also a cool featurette on the visual effects.  Wish there were more special features (perhaps I have been spoiled by the previous “Battlestar Galactica” season box sets which included many extras) but for the most part, this Blu-ray release is quite solid!

Overall, “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition” was fantastic.  It captured the spirit of what I enjoyed about the re-imagined series (the moments I enjoyed from the first three seasons) but most of all, keeping things simple for the pilot, focusing on three primary characters without trying to bulk up the story with convoluted storylines of other characters.

So, the pilot was fantastic, acting was also well-done and visual effects were stunning.  I really do hope that a TV series does happen for “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition”. It contains the magic and also the action of what made those first three seasons of “Battlestar Galactica” so fun and exciting.  Wonderful storytelling and I hope that “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” does become a TV series or even an online series, because the SyFy channel needs more quality sci-fi shows and this film showed promise.

Exciting, action-packed and thrilling from beginning to end, if you enjoyed the re-imagined series of “Battlestar Galactica”, you will enjoy “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome – Unrated Edition”.  Recommended!

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