Battlestar Galactica: The Plan Blu-ray Review
Battlestar Galactica : The Plan is presented in the intended 1.78:1 ratio, and in 1080p resolution. The disc is also region free. However, due to the decision of the filmmakers those expecting a pristine picture will likely to be disappointed. However, as the caption at the beginning of the film makes clear, the disc accurately represents the filmmakers intentions.
As footage from the original mini series are included, and this was shot on film, there is a noticeable difference between the flashback scenes and the newly shot footage. However, the way that the new footage is shot means the contrast is not as great as it might have been.
The major difference is one of sharpness. The scenes from the mini series are not as sharp, not as clearly defined as the rest of the transfer. The black levels are still strong however, and shadow detail is still well defined.
The original (and series) material will look familiar to anyone who has seen the HD broadcasts on Blu-ray or television. Black levels are intense, and shadow detail is deep. Detail levels on face, uniform, and the ship are excellent and really show the designer's work off to full effect. Grain has been added to the transfer to add a gritty, degraded effect, and although some are likely to hate this - it means that the film is consistent with the rest of the series. This is the way the makers want it to be seen, and this disc is as faithful to their vision as it is currently possible to be.
Colour is also deliberately muted, and again this is the way that the filmmakers intended it to be. There is nothing here that will sear your eyes with colourful vibrancy - but BSG is a dark show in more ways than one. Watching BSG on SD, as I first came to it, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate what is going on amongst the murk. But HD really brings the show to life, and this hasn't changed with The Plan.
Battlestar Galactica : The Plan matches the rest of the box set in that it provides a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track. BSG has always sounded superb on Blu-ray and this latest disc is no exception.
The sound-field is incredibly wide and expansive, and the mix brings the world to life in an incredibly realistic way. The dynamic range is superb, with the high frequencies sounding clear and crisp and the sub getting a full workout when needed. The central stereo separation is wide, with ships flying convincingly across the front stage and incidental sound effects well placed and separated.
Dialogue is well anchored to the center and is always clear, and Bear Mcgreary's superb score really soars within the mix. The rear use is restrained but accurate, never kicking in unnecessarily but always underpinning the action superbly. The subtletly of the mix is particularly noticeable. Whether it is the expansive sound of nukes hitting their target, or the whisper of a knife blade fatally wounding a frail human body every sound is beautifully realised.
The Plan has a nice selection of extras, and most of them are also presented in HD which is a really nice touch. We start with an audio commentary with Edward James Olmos and writer Jane Espenson. Their love for the show really shines, and their insight is well worth listening too, whilst never being dry. A superb commentary. From Admiral to Director is a brief HD featurette on the Edward James Olmos. I was expecting a puff piece, but Olmos comes across as a really generous man, prepared to give credit to others and making every member of the cast feel important.
Also HD, and also brief (7 minutes) is The Cylons of The Plan which looks at the Cylon characters. This is a one-watch extra really, as is The Cylon Attact which looks briefly at a scene of a fight between the Cylons and The Resistance on Caprica. This is also in HD but only lasts four minutes.
Much better is the 19 minute Visual Effects : The Magic behind The Plan featurette which looks mainly at the attack on the colonies and is again in HD. The effects are way beyond anything which has been seen in the series before, and it is particularly interesting to see how it is all put together.
The package is rounded off with standard definition deleted scenes which add little to the story, and you can see why they were deleted.
The Plan is perhaps not the revelatory conclusion to the Battlestar Galactica story that some were expecting. It adds no great insight, and provides no clear answers to any of the questions that were left unanswered in the show. What it does do, however, is explore the conflicted nature of the humanoid Cylons in far more depth than was ever done in the show. Stockwell delivers a superbly layered performance as the two facets of Cavil's character and he is ably supported by a host of superb performances. The direction is assured and confident and the disc makes an excellent supplement to a superb TV series.
The picture is an accurate rendition of the director's intentions, with artifical grain and crushed colours being the norm. It fits in perfectly with the rest of the series. The soundtrack is also excellent, being wide and expansive, offering thunderous action and subtle moments with equal flair. The extras package is not as extensive as first may appear, as most of the featurettes are brief, but there is an excellent commentary included as well.
If you are one of those who feel that the series should have stopped after the middle of series three, and if you disliked the more philosophical moments of the show, then you are not likely to get much out of this. If, however, like me you were glued to the series from the first moment to the last, and revelled in the ambiguous universe that Moore created - then you are going to love this film. If you have not seen the series then you should avoid this like the plague (due to spoilers) and start at the very beginning. Get to the end of the series, and then you will know whether you want to add this to your collection or not.
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