Actors: Edward James Olmos, Dean Stockwell, Tricia Helfer, Michael Hogan
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 1
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
Run Time: 95 minutes
Slice of SciFi Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
A must-see for “Battlestar Galactica” fans
“The Cylons were created by man. They evolved. They rebelled. Some look human. Some are programmed to think they are human. There are many copies and they have a plan.”
While the series finale of “Battlestar Galactica” did a nice job of answering most of the questions raised by the series, many fans will say there was one essential question that the series never really answered–just what exactly was “the plan” the Cylons were working under for so many years.
Thankfully, the latest direct-to-home-theater installment of “Battlestar Galactica” has come along to provide audiences with a better understanding of what that plan was and how it evolved over the course of the show. “The Plan” is a re-examination of the history and story of the first year of the re-imagined “Battlestar Galactica.” Working for a script from long-time Mutant Enemy and “BSG” staff writer Jane Espenson, “The Plan” doesn’t go back and radically re-write the history of the show so much as it puts in a few new brush strokes to the overall tapestry.
The result is a fascinating, compelling two hour experience that will have long time “Battlestar” fans recalling why we fell in love with this series to begin with and may make you want to re-examine the first two seasons again on DVD as soon as you’ve watched the DVD and explored the wealth of great extras on the disc.
“The Plan” begins a few days before the Cylon attack on the Colonies and follows the lead-up to and the fall-0ut from the destruction of humanity from the Cylon point of view. Espenson’s script centers on Brother Cavil, expertly played by Dean Stockwell, and follows two copies of Cavil in the days, weeks and months following the destruction of humanity. If you wondered why Cavil met the fate he did in the final episode, what you see here will add a lot of texture to that final moment.
On one level, the film works in that it fills in some gaps in the series’ history, including a fascinating look at the Cavil that was with the fleet. This Cavil is one who is hell-bent on the destruction of humanity, seeing the humans as little more than cockroaches that need to be exterminated. As the story unfolds and this Cavil appears solely focused on the ultimate goal of wiping out all humanity and seeing how he cajoles, manipulates and intimidates his fellow Cylon models to carry out his vision is a fascinating and compelling journey.
Events also unfold on Cylon occupied Caprica with a Cavil there, working with the rebels and undergoing a significant change in motivation and his devotion to the plan as the story unfolds. Of course, this Cavil knows who the final five are even if they don’t yet, so there are some great scenes with those characters that take on a deeper meaning within the context.
Director Edward James Olmos expertly weaves in new footage with snippets from old episodes of the show. This is no clips show, but is instead a re-examination of the history of one of the best shows of the last decade. And while it’s easy to say the entire cast is superb, the movie itself is a showcase for veteran actor Dean Stockwell. Stockwell’s work as both Cavil’s is compelling, fascinating, chilling and it will keep you rivetted to the best of the spin-off movies from “Battlestar Galactica.”
Released months before it will air on SyFy, “The Plan” is an extended and unrated cut of the film. Much like this year’s “Caprica” release, the movie does include some nudity. The film also runs longer than it might on basic cable, but yet none of what we see here feels like filler or wasted time. It will be interesting to see what is edited out for the broadcast release.
Even at close to two hours, there are still a wealth of deleted scenes on the disc to enjoy after you’ve seen the film. As with most deleted scenes, they fill in some gaps but aren’t essential to the flow or progression of the film. There’s also a commentary by Olmos and Espenson about the film that is remarkably revealing and worth listening. Hearing how the two worked together to find this new take on the familiar story is compelling. Espenson has been a treat on other DVD commentaries and she continues that trend here.
Also on the disc are some documentaries about the cast and crew working with Olmos and, of course, a preview for the entire series run on DVD and BluRay.
One word of warning though–if you’re a “BSG” novice, this may not be the best place to start. The film covers a lot of ground and assumes you know certain events, moments and beats that are coming up. (Watching as Cavil turns the fleet Boomer on and off to carry out his will is fascinating, but takes an even greater nuance if you know what Boomer will do at the end of season one.)
We’ve heard that SyFy may want more one-off films set in the “BSG” universe. However, we’ve not heard any plans for such films so this may be our last look on a favorite universe. If that’s the case, then “The Plan” is a triumphant departure to the universe and a solid coda on one of the best series not only of the last decade but all-time.
If you’re a “Battlestar” fan, this is a must-see.
To break bread with Edward James Olmos, known to the vast legion of Battlestar Galactica fans as “Admiral Adama” is an occasion as rare as the Eye of Jupiter! However, one lucky Battlestar Galactica fan will be granted this very special opportunity, should he or she prove worthy! Go to www.ugo.com/battlestarcontest for details on how you can share a dinner table with the Admiral himself, Edward James Olmos!
Sounds Great- I cannot wait. I will watch it the minute I get it.
Hmm, I disagree. I thought it felt very much like a clip show, despite the new scenes. The whole narrative is disjointed and there’s very little suspense since we know all of the characters’ fates. It’s almost like a fan fiction story, filling in the gaps that the real show didn’t have time for. I think it could have worked better as webisodes or a comic series.
I also question the need for gratuitous nudity. The camera made me feel guilty as it and I leered at the naked breasts that had no purpose whatsoever for being shown other than that it didn’t have to be edited for television.
The writers missed an opportunity here to have a pre-attack Caprica City television broadcast in which they say the made-up word “f*ck” because the censors wouldn’t allow them to say “frak” on TV!
In general it just all felt very ad hoc, like a game for the writers to see what they could cook up that would fit in with what was already shown (like I said, fan-fic). It’s really only required viewing for the biggest BSG fans, and it won’t tell them much that they didn’t already know.
Screw you Trevor! I bet you are one of the ******* that thought the original BSG was the height of TV Drama!
Night Marshal says
BSG: The Retcon would have been a better name but I think we all knew that going in.
Heh, thank you for that intelligent and reasoned response.
I did like the original BSG, yes, but I love the re-imagined version as well. I simply thought “The Plan” was poorly executed and unnecessary.
That said, it’s not without its bright spots. The back story on Anders is quite interesting–although it might be telling that the most interesting part of the film is a part that doesn’t directly involve the cylons’ plan. The way the cylons learn from the humans is also interesting, but the retrospective humanizing of them feels a bit forced given their brutal actions as we first saw them in the series (apologetic even). The brilliance of the series was how it showed the shifting loyalties and shifted our perceptions over the course of several years–to have that happen chronologically all during the first season also runs contrary to the series.
Calm Down Michael this is not a Town Hall Tea Baggers meeting. Have you seen it? If not, read the reviews then make up your own mind after watching it.
I have to agree with Trevor, as an episode midseries this would have been interesting but as an eagerly awaited next installment of a show this was a huge dissapointment. I didn’t feel it added anything to the story.
I must also add that i wasn’t too sure about Olmos’ directing and the opening was awful.
Bill Cameron says
I, with heavy heart, have to agree with Trevor also. The whole plan seemed to be a Cavil show or Battle Cavil! Too little new scenes from the MAJOR characters. No Diana Biers Cylon #3 (Lucy Lawless)? No Roslin? The President surely would have had to come into the Cylon plan at some point. Oh, Mary McDonnell wasn’t available? She didn’t need to be since they just clipped and edited in past performances of most Human performances. What about Apollo? Frak! He ran Pegasus, was a major political figure and he didn’t even get mentioned. Some other oddities. The protracted story of Simon’s wife and Chief Tyrol. I understand they were trying to show the fracture of the Cylon movement and how “love” made things “complicated” but this set of scenes felt unnecessary.
I watched this in bluray. High quality player and TV. The fly overs of the planets in the beginning was embarrassing. It was just bad CG mixed with really bad miniature models. The buildings looked like CG touched up toys. Really bad. Some of the disaster scenes, especially with water, looked seriously as bad as a 6 year old computer game. Not convincing at all and even caused me to laugh out loud at how bad it was.
I have the whole series, webisodes and all. I will place this into the collection but I am not pleased with it. I am not a videophile nor audiophile. Wait til that gang gets a hold of this movie. It really didn’t have to be that bad. The Audio was superb but the video was poor (Just CG).
I am going to re-watch it on a different set up tomorrow night just to check to see if the CG rendering was the movie and not a problem with my primary A/V set up.
1st bad BSG review I have ever written. 🙁
BSG: A Tale of Two Cavils. That’s essentially what it was, but I still really enjoyed it.
Night Marshal says
thank you k9 for sharing your intolerant political views in a thread that has nothing to do with them.
That out way, to round out my thought I ways felt “the plan” was bigger and universe changing. But kinda like how how Oprea house turned out little more than where people would stand. This just reinforces my Meh from the last few years of BSG. But that first season and a half that is some darn good TV and always will be.
Shayne Artis says
Personally I didn’t think The Plan added anything that we needed to know to the BSG universe, ok it filled in some small gaps and showed us even a cylon can love but it felt more like an effort to cash in on a much loved series than a proper expansion of it’s storyline.
If this is the end of the franchise it was a disappointing one.
The Plan – The Cylon Plan
I was hoping to learn about the Cylon “parents” ie Ellen and also about Baltar ending up as a reborn; evaluating human society.
This didn’t happen for me.
I also really hate the time shifting things.
For all the Cylon focus to be on the human was also poor when the Centurians could have played a large Cylon role in The Plan.
Imagine thinking organic fighter ships.
and what about the see’er Cylons that ran the base ships and were prophetic?
This missed the boat on them too.
What did it tell us then?
It told me that the Cylons had a plan they failed to agree on and a level of communication that frankly was unbelievably ineffiecient and ineffective for their level of technology.
Sorry Ed – a disappointed fan here.
Piece of crap film. Revisionist and unintelligible. 50% of the footage is clips from the series.