Blood and Chrome
The rebooted Battlestar Galactica returns in the form of a made-for-TV movie that failed to become a series. It’s a prequel following a young Bill Adama on his first mission during the original Cylon war.
This Bill is not the tempered leader that we know from the progenitor series. Here, he is described (often) as skilled, but cocky. Beyond that, we don’t really learn much more about him over the course of the movie. To be fair, this was intended as a pilot for a new TV series, so you can’t expect much in the way of development; but it would have been nice if he were a bit more than a cardboard cutout.
The story is likewise simple. The film opens with Bill arriving on the Galactica and instantly receiving his first orders. He, along with his new co-pilot Coker, a man who’s tired of war and is anxiously awaiting the end of his tour (damn, I was just four days from retirement), are tasked with transporting a beautiful but mysterious woman close to Cylon space. They all end up on an ice planet with a guy named Toth; which is probably a thinly veiled reference to Star Wars‘ ice planet Hoth.
Blood and Chrome does not have the depth of Battlestar Galactica, or even its spin-off series Caprica. Again, that might have changed over time had this gone to series; but you don’t even see the beginnings here. This is a one-note character going through the motions of an action/adventure story. Perhaps that’s the fate of a series when the audience knows how the war will end and the fate of the main character, or maybe it just means they should have tried harder.
It also looks a little cheap. The special effects are a bit too clean and crisp, and the video is too sharp. It doesn’t have the documentary look of the original, instead, it looks like it was assembled on a Mac. Making matters worse, the director had a mad fetish for lens flare. Part of what made Battlestar Galactica work was its gritty realism; this one, by comparison, feels incredibly artificial.
Blood and Chrome is not a bad movie in its own right. If you think of it as a stand-alone sci-fi B movie, it’s actually quite enjoyable (certainly better than most of the original movies that end up on SyFy). But with the kind of pedigree this film had, I was expecting a lot more. This doesn’t feel like a fully fleshed-out BSG, it’s more like a web series that was done on the cheap in between seasons (isn’t it appropriate, then, that SyFy decided to premiere it online).
So, it’s an okay movie; but it’s not the second coming of a great series. If you’re desperate for a taste of more Galactica, you’ll like this, but you’ll still be hungry when it’s over.