That is a quote from Admiral Adama himself, Edward James Olmos, and if that didn’t make you eager to see “The Plan,” nothing can. Unfortunately, “The Plan” doesn’t quite live up to Olmos’ hype.
The events of “The Plan” take place over the course of the miniseries and first two seasons of “Battlestar Galactica,” and focus mainly on the two Brother Cavils (Dean Stockwell) who first met in the season two finale, “Lay down Your Burdens.” As revealed in the later episodes of the series, Cavil was Cylon Number One and, for the most part, in charge of the other Cylon models.
The story is split between these two Number Ones, telling the tales of the one who fought against humanity from within the Galactica, the other who became a part of Samuel T. Anders’ rebellion on Caprica. While the story is primarily about the two Cavils and how their respective circumstances affected their feelings towards humanity, “The Plan” also shows what happened to the other Cylon models around the two Number Ones.
What “The Plan” does wonderfully is juxtapose the situation of the Cavil in the fleet and the Cavil on Caprica. Throughout the movie, we see exactly what is going through each of their minds. This works so well because of the outstanding job by Dean Stockwell. Though only in 14 episodes in the series, by the end, there was no doubt that the Number Ones had become the primary antagonists in “Battlestar Galactica.”
Here we have Stockwell playing the villain we know, the child angry at the limitations put on him by his parents while simultaneously playing a character wanting to learn from his mistakes and better understand why he was created the way he was. With Cavil as the central figure, everything was put on Stockwell to move the story along, and he pulled it off.
Being from the Cylons’ perspective, what “The Plan” tries to do is fill in the blanks and answer some of the questions that were left open throughout the series. In that respect, “The Plan” succeeds; it does what it set out to do and answers those questions, while even touching on other aspects of Cylon life after the attack that was previously unmentioned.
The largest difficulty to undertake a project like this is meeting the expectations. For four seasons we heard “…and they have a plan” before each episode and when coupled with Olmos’ quote, fan expectation was high. All of us wanted a grandiose and over-the-top story that fits within the context of “Battlestar,” which is simply not possible.
We understand that the explanation cannot match the setup and how could it? “Battlestar Galactica” was the story of the last 50,000 humans from billions. How could any explanation be as momentous as the holocaust of the human race?
That is where “The Plan” ultimately falls flat. It’s an entertaining two hours, but there is no moment that leaves you awestruck as the series did countless times. There are certainly some interesting scenarios throughout, but nothing truly momentous.
For big time fans, the little things will put a smile on your face, especially the parts about Boomer (Grace Park) in the first season when she’s still conflicted over whether or not she really is a Cylon. Other parts of interest will be how Leoben (Callum Keith Rennie) became so infatuated with Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) and for the first time some actual details about Cylon Number Four, Simon (Rick Worthy), who was probably the least used in the series.
There’s really nothing bad in the story. Everything makes sense and it’s well written; it just happens to be a bit underwhelming. Really, everything in this movie is fairly predictable which takes away from the purpose for creating it. The tidbits are nice, but the plan itself isn’t anything the average fan didn’t already figure out.
When watching “The Plan,” you truly have to commend the job Olmos did directing as well as that of the entire makeup, wardrobe, and editing crew, who fused the new scenes nearly seamlessly with the old.
Using footage that is years old and blending it with new recordings must have been a massive undertaking, but the result is nearly flawless.
Perhaps the only somewhat sad part is that Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, Lee “Apollo” Adama (Jamie Bamber, Gaius Baltar (James Callis) and others don’t have any new footage and are barely in it at all. Even Admiral Adama has little to do in this movie, which is disappointing as fans want to see their favorites at least one more time.
From a technical standpoint, “Battlestar Galactica: The Plan” is close to perfect.
On Blu-ray, the recorded visuals are spectacular. Especially on Caprica, the picture is sharp and the colors are vibrant, which makes for an extremely enjoyable visual experience. The only blemish in this aspect is the parts where they show complete CGI representations of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. It’s only about a minute long, but the cities that were shown in each of the Colonies looked a bit too cartoonish, more like cities in a video game than real metropolises.
Much like the video, “The Plan” sounds absolutely wonderful in five speaker surround sound. It’s a pleasure to hear Bear McCreary’s brilliant music once again.
The extras on the Blu-ray are all enjoyable, as well. Like any self-respecting release nowadays, there is commentary here with Olmos and writer Jane Espenson. Deleted scenes are also present, which is always nice, but they are not in high-definition.
The other features, however, are and include “From Admiral to Director” with Olmos talking about going from an actor on the show to directing the movie and two features that discuss the Cylons (one looks at the individual Cylons in the movie entitled “The Cylons of ‘The Plan’” and another which is about the attack itself called “The Cylon Attack.”)
The best extra is probably “Visual Effects: The Magic Behind ‘The Plan,’” which gives a behind-the-scenes look at how all the fights and the world of “Battlestar” was created. On the Blu-ray version, there is of course the BD-Live feature and a “Battlestar Galactica” trivia game.
Overall, “The Plan” is definitely worth seeing.
The only question is whether or not you should buy it now or wait until it airs on SyFy next year. If you’re a diehard, you pretty much have to have it just to complete the collection; otherwise, you’ll probably want to wait.
The extras are worth watching and this is the only way to get the full experience. There will definitely be cuts on the SyFy version – specifically to the parts with nudity.
“Battlestar Galactica: The Plan” isn’t the missing link in the story everyone wanted it to be, and many will see it as an unnecessary addition to the Battlestar mythos.
With that said, the movie is a nice excuse just to sit down and get taken back into that universe that you fell in love with six years ago. “The Plan” is a good movie, and if you don’t expect too much, you’ll surely enjoy it.