“Battlestar Galactica” is the gift that keeps on giving. First, we learned that its prequel/spinoff, “Caprica,” will debut on Syfy in 2010, and this Tuesday “Battlestar Galactica: The Plan” hits the shelves. It’s a 110-minute look at the planning, execution and aftermath of the Cylon attack on the colonies, completely from the Cylon point of view.
The film’s timeline spans from about two weeks before the attacks all the way through the initiation of the human-Cylon truce. It revolves around two copies of Number One that develop two very different perspectives. The original plan was to annihilate the human race completely, but when that plan fails, “Brother Cavil” orchestrates a Plan B as part of the fleet, interacting with and directing Leoben, Doral, Boomer, a couple of Sixes and a Four. The film re-visits a few key moments of the series, including the initial attacks, Boomer’s failed assassination attempt and subsequent murder, as well as Kara’s visit, incarceration, escape and return to Caprica.
The story jumps ahead and around, and it takes a good understanding of the “Battlestar Galactica” mythology to keep up. Newbies who are considering jumping into the series should not — I repeat SHOULD NOT — start with “The Plan,” for three major reasons: 1) this was meant as an epilogue, not a prologue, 2) it could be extremely confusing, and 3) there are way too many secrets that would be revealed in one fell swoop. Don’t do it.
Since the Number Ones really came up with the plan, Dean Stockwell sees a ton of screen time and carries it beautifully. It’s interesting to watch the embedded Cylons, sleeper agents and Final Five interact when only the embedded Cylons really know what’s going on. They try to manipulate the humans and Final Five, with varying degrees of success. The straight-to-DVD version is uncensored so there is some gratuitous nudity and a sex scene. It’s so gratuitous that it feels completely out of place.
Qualms aside, “The Plan” is a compelling look at a big part of the series run and is a must-watch for those fans who want to see some of their old friends once again.
In addition to filmmaker commentary, special features include a featurette that follows director Edward James-Olmos around for a day, a series of interviews with the actors who play the key Cylons, a behind-the-scenes look at the planning and execution of the special effects behind the Cylon attack on the colonies, and a featurette that explores some of the visual effects added during post-production of “The Plan.”