Fans should recognize the above introduction from the opening credits of the 'Battlestar Galactica' series when it launched shortly after the franchise reboot with the two-part miniseries in 2004. But once the first few episodes aired on television, series producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick ended up having feelings of regret regarding that ambiguous last line, "…And they have a plan." (They actually provide some amusing comments about this in the season 4.5 supplement of the same name, so be sure to check it out if you can).
Initially, the plan of the Cylons was blatantly obvious--to eradicate the entire human race that had built and enslaved their kind. But when their genocidal agenda left a small fleet of survivors, much like the Cylons themselves the plan was destined to evolve. Of course, this opened the door to dig deeper into what exactly was driving the Cylons, and so what was originally deemed a mistake morphed into 'Battlestar Galactica: The Plan.'
I love it when a plan comes together.
Directed by Edward James Olmos and written by series producer Jane Espenson, 'Battlestar Galactica: The Plan' revisits the timeline that takes place during the miniseries all the way through the end of the second season's finale. Except this time, we get to see things mostly from the Cylons' perspective. 'The Plan' also incorporates older footage taken directly from the episodes and expands on them, connecting many of the dots and revealing a few other surprises along the way. In BSG terms, the movie is basically a cross between 'Battlestar Galactica: Razor,' the season two episode 'Downloaded,' and a clip tribute episode.
To tell you anything further about the plot would only open a can of spoilers, since it does involve a group of humanoid Cylon models that some viewers may not have encountered yet if they haven't seen those episodes. Besides, part of the fun of the show is when an infiltrator is exposed, so it's best to not even go there. But there's plenty of new content with these Cylons, Anders and the other C-Bucs survivors on Caprica get more screen time, and the film introduces a new arc centered on Giana (Lymari Nadal), one of the background mechanics on Galactica.
'Battlestar Galactica: The Plan' also had a bigger budget for the special effects, and they are definitely one of the highlights of the production. Previously, we've seen bits and pieces of the Cylon attack on the Colonies, but most of what was shown was the aftermath. Olmos made sure to show the brunt of the assault in epic detail, and it looks fantastic. Lesser effects are noticeably sharper, too. The Centurions have a more metallic appearance and now their feet kick up dirt when they walk. It's all very impressive.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed 'Battlestar Galactica: The Plan,' that doesn't mean the film is completely devoid of any problems. For one, stringing together old and new footage from the miniseries through the first thirty-three episodes does result in a choppy presentation. There are places where it just doesn't flow as smoothly as one would hope, but considering the fragmented structure I was surprised that it works as well as it does to be honest.
This in turn leads to my final point, which is that 'The Plan' should only be seen by fans after going through the entire series. I really need to stress this fact, as there are some pretty major spoilers, and not just from the first two seasons, either. Plus to top it off, those who go in cold will likely just find themselves totally lost by the storyline.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Just like all the other previously released 'Battlestar Galactica' Blu-rays, 'The Plan' comes on a dual-layered BD-50 Blu-ray platter, but this time the movie is housed in a standard blue keepcase and my copy came with an attractive foil-embossed slipcover. The U.S. version of this Blu-ray is also reported to be region-free and should play properly in all PlayStation 3 and standalone machines.
As expected, 'Battlestar Galactica: The Plan' features a 1080p/VC-1 (1.78:1) encode to preserve the intended look and maintain consistency throughout the series.
I stated in my review for the complete series on Blu-ray that 'Battlestar Galactica' is tough to judge visually due to the artistic decisions made by the filmmakers. The same goes for 'Battlestar Galactica: The Plan,' as it weaves together older footage with brand new content.
Again, it's the scenes from the miniseries that aren't quite as sharp as the rest. In those instances, black levels are generally strong, and skin tones are nicely rendered even if they are softer in places. There are still mild cases of artifacting, banding, crushing, and edge enhancement in those frames as well, but there aren't any major distractions.
The series and the new footage in 'The Plan' were filmed in HD, and those scenes do appear crisper. Fine detailing in facial features and ship plating is a noticeable improvement. Black levels are deep and inky, and with the varying contrast manipulation whites can be extremely intense. Artificial grain has been added for a gritty look, and there are scenes that are noisier than others. Even newer content like when night falls for the resistance fighters Caprica or in darker quarters on Galactica have a heavier veil of graininess. Other cases are very striking, having lush and vivid colors and a nice three-dimensional "pop."
On the whole, fans should be pleased as 'The Plan' is basically on par with the previous 'Battlestar Galactica' Blu-rays.
Also as expected, 'Battlestar Galactica: The Plan' includes an incredibly engaging DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack just like its predecessors.
The updated 'Battlestar Galactica' always had a very broad soundfield, and 'The Plan' continues this trend, sporting excellent dynamic range and impressive directional movement. The action sequences really shine, whether it's the massive planetary destruction by the Cylons' nukes or the guerrilla tactics used by the resistance survivors in the Caprican forest. Explosions, gunfire, and Centurion footsteps have a strong and convincing presence. Bear McCreary's thunderous percussions heighten the intensity of suspense, and his score pleasantly engulfs the entire soundstage. The quieter scenes replicate the subtler effects well and have great acoustics. Once again, dialog is clear and nicely prioritized, although it can sound a hair distant at certain points. That said, one of the best sounding shows on television is now one of the best sounding direct-to-video releases.
The Blu-ray also includes optional English SDH, French, Spanish subtitles.
'Battlestar Galactica: The Plan' includes a nice helping of supplements, and the bulk of the content can be found on the DVD as well. However, most of the bonus features are presented here in high-definition.
They say it's tradition for the captain to go down with the ship, so in a way it's fitting that Edward James Olmos helms the final voyage of this exceptional series. Although this Blu-ray delivers an accurate video representation, an outstanding audio soundtrack, and a fair assortment of supplements, 'Battlestar Galactica: The Plan' really isn't recommended for casual viewers. The structure of the movie will be hard to follow unless you've seen the miniseries and first two seasons, and even then major spoilers sneak in from later on (i.e. the identities of the Final Five). So as much as I love the show, this one is only for dedicated BSG fans.