Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Battlestar Galactica Razor, or How I frakking missed the cylons

Battlesta Galactica: Razor (Silverscreen edition in NYC!)
Set somewhere in late season 2 of the beloved sci-fi show, Razor follows Kendra Shaw - a former Pegasus crew member that Ronald D. Moore & co have introduced as a way to unravel some plot strands that let us peak into Pegasus' history prior to encountering Galactica, meet a young Admiral Adama, and follow a mission to die for (literally!).
After what has been an unwelcome hiatus it was nice to see the crew back: I missed the political allegories, the dizzying camerawork, the blond-girl power and the Brit eye-candy that make the rebooted BSG one of the best show to hit tv in the last while - I still believe that "33" (season 1 first episode) is one of the best written/directed hours of television...EVER!
But I digress.
In one of the final scenes of the 2-hour event, Admiral Adama tells Lee that he can't judge Admiral Cain or Kendra's actions because, had it not been for the fear of facing Lee, the moral standing of Tigh, and the liberal political mind of Roslin he doesn't know whether he would have made different choices. Razor plays like an exploration of the 'dark Galactica': Pegasus, which ever since it was introduced in season 2 worked as a foil for Galactica. If the Pegasus crew - after Cain, are 'razors' (hence the title) one has to wonder what the Galactica crew are (I want to say swiss army knives but I suppose something less witty like "just humans" is what Moore was going for).
Telling the story of Kendra Shaw as she takes on the XO position to Lee's Pegasus and remembers her time under Cain's command, Razor also works as a story about the choices we make and the burden we carry for having made them. Socio-politically aware, Razor shows us a world (or the possibility of a world) where we fight because we are fueled by anger; because we'd rather sacrifice our troops rather than bear the thought of 'getting off the treadmill'; a world where after being hurt we go for the pain and not for the kill...
Keeping this spoiler-free requires me to stay now within the confines of a stylistic and purely production-based review: structurally I was impressed by the way new characters were introduced, old ones were recovered and our favourite ones given a piece to work with (except for dear Ms President Roslin who was relegated to a cameo and Baltar, who only makes an aural appearance in the episode). If nothing else, Razor is a master class in sophisticated tv production. Maybe it was seeing it on a big screen but I really appreciated the editing, the art direction and overall cinematography each of which added to the creepy bio-tech mood of the cylon ship, created a cold environment in Pegasus and gave us the staple 'documentary-style' camerawork for the scenes out in space.
The only thing that bugged me a bit was the 'Matrix-like' scene with Kendra and the 'hybrid' - I was waiting for Keanu and Carrie-Ann to burst into the scene any minute while the new BSG mantra was being introduced yet again: "This has all happened, and all will happen again..."
Other than that, it was fun ride full of surprises, revelations and teasers for what is coming as the Galactica prepares for its last run starting 2008 (WGA strike permitting...)

Favourite moment: Old School Cylons!

Best revelation: Cain and Gina? Lesbian Power couple that could rival Portia and Ellen had one not been a psycho Razor-Admiral and the other a cylon-spy...
Oh and there's that one regarding Starbuck...

Best Line: "I can't believe you found an XO meaner than Sol" Adama to younger Adama

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