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DVD Review: Caprica

The long-awaited pilot for this prequel series to Battlestar Galactica is finally here, a year before the series is set to debut and this provides quite a meaty appetizer for hopefully what is to come in the full series.

Taking place about fifty years before the start of the Battlestar Galactica mini-series and before the unification of the twelve colonies, Caprica follows the lives of two men in particular, super-industrialist Daniel Graystone and lawyer Joseph Adams (Adama), the tragedy that brings these two together, and what will give way to the conflict to come and the birth of the Cylons.

This is quite a bit different than what might be expected, and at least in the pilot, doesn’t rely on some of the more crowd-pleasing aspects that Galactica did, being primarily the gung-ho action of that. But what’s here, is some really powerful drama, and a lot of great ideas that should lead to something that has the potential to be just as special as Battlestar Galactica is.

This film is directed by Jeffrey Reiner, who’s best known for his work on Friday Night Lights and apparently producers Ron Moore and David Eick have been trying to get Reiner involved in Galactica for quite awhile, with Reiner having turned them down as far as the main series goes, but having finally jumped on board by getting an opportunity to be more at the main helm (I guess along the same lines that Michael Rhymer was with Galactica) and getting to shape a new series rather than being an important cog in an existing franchise. Reiner’s a good choice here, and he certainly does bring something different to the table with a different look to this series as well as a greater emphasis on the personal drama.

Eric Stolz and Esai Morales head up this cast, respectively playing Graystone and Adama, and man, they’re both just absolutely terrific here, individually for sure, but in the scenes that they’re in together, having some real nice chemistry. They’re just great, and offer up a lot of weight, and yet they’re almost outshone by two young actresses, Alessandra Torresani and Magda Apanowicz, who play Zoe Graystone and her friend Lacy Rand, who are both just as instrumental in the future to come. Both of these young ladies are really tremendous here, and they certainly hold their own with the bigger names of the cast.

I watched this film and was just immediately taken with it, especially after a certain key moment happens, that’s basically the catalyst for what’s to come, and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest, and if this way-early release of the pilot was supposed to get you further fired up for the new show, well then, it certainly did it’s job with me, and though it might seem that knowing the ultimate end of what’s to come could hamper this for some, I’ve got enough faith in Moore and Eick, to think that they’re going to make this a hell of a ride along the way and probably nowhere near as conventional as it could be.

The DVD extras include four video blogs, a handful of deleted scenes, an episode of Ghost Hunters and a commentary track from Moore, Eick and Reiner. I’ve watched all of the extras except for the Ghost Hunters episode, which doesn’t really interest me. The blogs are basically fluff, but certainly inoffensive as well. Better though are the deleted scenes and the commentary track, and seeing the deleted scenes after watching the whole movie, I certainly can understand why they were deleted, though they are good scenes. The commentary track is excellent, and there’s a lot there talking about the behind-the-scenes, the philosophy of the new show and hints at things to come.

For Battlestar Galactica fans, this is must-viewing and I think for most it will get you fired up for the new series, even though it’s still a year away from premiering. For those that were more casual viewers, well, I still think there’s a lot of meat here, though it doesn’t have the action/adventure trappings (yet) of the prior show, but still worth you’re time if you want to watch some very smart science fiction. Caprica is the good stuff, and highly recommended.

By Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

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