Case Number 25292

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: BLOOD AND CHROME (BLU-RAY)

Universal // 2013 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 15th, 2013

The Charge

So say we all?

Opening Statement

The Battlestar Galactica franchise continues with yet another installment of prequel action. Blood and Chrome follows the adventures of fresh-faced Viper jock William Adama (Luke Pasqualino, BBC's Skins) during the dog days of the First Cylon War.

Facts of the Case

Violence is raging across the galaxy as the Cylons are now in full rebellion, intent on wiping out their human creators. With the war effort flagging, the humans needs a shot in the arm more than ever. Enter William Adama, who's more like a hotshot in the arm! It's not long after he's been given his form-fitting jumpsuit that he's issued his first mission: escort a mysterious agent who promises a mechanism to cripple the Cylons.

Together, with his smart-ass co-pilot, Coker (Ben Cotton, Slither), Adama journeys from the hangar to a full-scale war with a Basestar to a Cylon base on an Arctic planet, where more surprises await him, not the least of which is a robot snake! Yikes!

The Evidence

Okay fellow Battlestar Galactica fans. What are we dealing with here? Have we finally found something that can measure up to the quality of the original (2004) series? It's been a dry spell for sure, with only the disappointing post-mortem TV movie Battlestar Galactica: The Plan and the meandering and tonally off prequel series Caprica left to satiate the BDG faithful.

But I'm a buyer of the property so I'll give anything birthed from the franchise a spin. The verdict for Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, however, is mixed. You'll get much of the sound and fury you've come to expect when Cylons and humans go at each other, as well as a surprise or two, but, frankly, the acting and storyline leave much to be desired.

The big hook for this endeavor is the CGI nature of the show. The entire thing is filmed on a virtual set. That's a risk, considering the amount of money the filmmakers have to play with is certainly a far cry from similarly-minded Hollywood productions. The gamble does not pay off.

The visual effects struggle throughout. Everything is glaringly CGI (so fake-ass, yo) form the background settings to the ship-to-ship action. How the space battles look worse than their counterparts from almost ten years ago I have no idea. The killer metal snakes are especially lame, which would explain the director's smart call to keep them largely obstructed from the field of view.

But that's not the most distracting aspect of the all-green-screen route. Where BSG was known for its gun-metal gray, washed-out military-industrial color palette, Blood and Chrome goes the opposite, unleashing a hyper-stylized fuzzy camera and a color scheme not dissimilar to Ming's internal décor in Flash Gordon. The over-saturation is so intense at some points, it rendered the on-screen action nearly indecipherable. If this sucker goes to series, fixing this needs to be priority one.

Then again, I'm not that interested in the non-CGI stuff either. Adama is a boring, one-note character who follows the tired arc of hotshot-flyboy-to-sober-war-veteran. Coker offers a bit more color, but Cotton frequently strays too far into scenery-chewing mode. As for the Cylon mythology? Decent little stinger at the end, but nothing like the finale of the original miniseries.

The Blu-ray does what it can, pushing out a 1.78:1, 1080p transfer but, through no fault of its own, the HD fidelity can't overcome the baffling video style. Good work from the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which pumps out the familiar, throbbing BSG score and punches the sci-fi bombast. Extras: deleted scenes and a featurette on the visual effects.

Closing Statement

If this goes to series, it will require intensely positive word-of-mouth from trusted sources to get me to commit. As it stands now, Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome is a middling extension of the fiction.

The Verdict

I'm having a hard time giving a flying frak.

Review content copyright © 2013 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 80
Audio: 90
Extras: 70
Acting: 70
Story: 70
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile
Studio: Universal
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)

Subtitles:
* English (SDH)
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Deleted Scenes
* Visual Effects
* BD-Live
* DVD Copy
* UltraViolet Download

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1704292/combined