Sunday, November 25, 2007

battlestar galactica razor

, it has been too long since we got together like this, to talk about last night's Battlestar Galactica. And I've missed you. Really. Okay, maybe the last time we spoke, things were a little chilly. It was me, not you. But here we are, with the only new Galactica we're likely to get for a long, long while. Good thing it was awesome.

The battlestar Pegasus is a ghost ship, haunted by the mistakes of the past. Her first commander, Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes), was a stern taskmaster, forced by circumstances to make decisions as she saw fit, decisions that are judged by the Galactica crew (and, by extension, us) to have been disasters. Then came Commander Fisk (Graham Beckel), her executive officer, who let greed pull the shining battlestar further into the muck. And then Commander Garner (William Heard), an engineer who, seeing the machine but not the men, couldn't right the ship.

Razor follows two stories, both of which revolve around a young Pegasus officer named Kendra Shaw: Admiral Cain's experiences during, and following, the Cylon attack on the colonies, and newly minted commander Lee Adama's first mission at Pegasus' helm. (There's also a mini-detour further back in time to peep at Bill Adama's first mission as a Viper pilot.)

And we pick up Razor as Lee Adama takes command of the Pegasus. He says to his new crew, ''We can't always choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we handle them.'' As if these people hadn't already learned that lesson the hard way. We can see the price they've paid on Kendra Shaw's (easy on the eyes) face, as she stands in front of her new commanding officer. She's worn, beaten ― and not just a little bit high ― and surprised by Lee's offer of a promotion to XO. Especially after her priceless ''Your daddy just gave you a battlestar'' line. If Lee's learned one thing under his father's command, it's that you need to have someone willing to tell truth to power.

Scorpion Fleet Shipyards, 10 months ago. A scene we've seen in almost every space opera since classic Trek: the officer getting his/her first look at a new commission.

So many little character touches. The introduction of Cain's executive officer, Colonel Belzen, as a man with a wife and kids ― a family that knows Cain well enough to want to see her on shore leave. It only makes it that much more devastating when she shoots that XO in the dome for not following an order. Just after he tells her, ''Once in a while, it's okay to get off the treadmill,'' she starts to run even faster, a tacit rebuttal of that very concept, that it's okay to ever relax when you're in command.

A Cylon as a network administrator. Fitting, considering they would use those very networks to cripple the fleet. Gina's last name, Envierre, means ''resurrection.'' Again, those little throwaway things. God, as they say, is in the details.

So, that's what the Cylon attack looked like. There are times, and this is one of them, that I'm amazed at what BSG's effects dudes (and dudettes) can pull off. To not only render the scope of this all-out attack on the shipyards ― complete with Raider carpet-bombings ― but to do it in a faux hand-held style ― man, that's tough.

Say what you will about Cain, she's good in a crisis. Her choice to order a blind FTL jump underlines the idea that, sometimes, what matters is not that you made the right decision, it's that you made any decision at all. If the choice falls between certain death and possible death...well, that's not much of a choice, is it?

Okay, now we're back in the ''present.'' (You'll have to forgive these blunt little way markers; there's so much temporal shifting in these two hours that keeping it all straight requires some bluntness.) Adama gives Lee his first mission: a search-and-rescue operation, looking for some missing scientists. (Before we get any further, I just want to take a moment to say how refreshing it is to see Edward James Olmos again. After a fall TV season full of man-boys ― Reaper, Chuck, The Big Bang Theory ― it's nice to see a real solid hunk of maturity again. Sometimes, I just wanna hug him.)

(Too much with that last bit there? I get that. Sorry.)

Back in the ''past,'' we learn the defining ethos that separates Cain from Adama. She tells Shaw, ''Hold on to that anger, and you keep it close. It'll stop you being afraid the next time, and it'll tell you what to do.'' The mark of Cain is anger. The mark of Adama? Duty. When push came to shove, Cain gave free rein to her anger and lashed out, while Adama circled the wagons. (It also helped that Adama ― and he admits as much ― had President Roslin perched on his shoulder.) ''War is our imperative...payback.''

(And I'm not gonna mention the purportedly rousing but actually pretty cheesy ''So say we all'' rally. No, sir.)

And when Cain dropped her anger, just for a moment, to find solace in the arms of Gina Six, Gina's treachery only encouraged Cain to wear her anger as a shield, to wield it as a weapon. Alas, I'm getting a little ahead of myself. If it wasn't clear before, it seems the Six model was created for the express purpose of seduction. (Six is, after all, just one vowel away from sex.) Caprica Six seduced the secrets right out of Gaius Baltar, and Gina Six made with the hot love to get in good with C
Executive producers Ronald D. Moore, David Eick and their co-writers have used the series to explore the sustaining and destructive power of religion, the ways in which crises bring out our best and most deplorable instincts, and how far we'll go to survive.

The will to survive is the story's spine, personified in every episode by the stalwart Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos), President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), the headstrong Kara Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) and Adama's driven son Lee (Jamie Bamber).

But Adama and Roslin wrestle with Galactica's priorities more than the others. Their job is to ensure the survival of the human race, but each challenge forces a struggle to maintain their humanity in spite of desperation and temptation.

Sci-Fi Channel
"Razor" offers more insight into the ruthless Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes), but makes her no less unsympathetic.
Thus our second season introduction to Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes), the ruthless leader of Battlestar Pegasus, shocked the system of "Battlestar" watchers. Cain, whose command at last receives a close examination in the two-hour extended episode "Battlestar Galactica: Razor," was everything Adama is not. She cared nothing about being loved, seeing fear as a more effective leadership tool. She did unspeakable things, without hesitation, to her own people as well as the Cylons.

The darker side of will is a lot of things, but in "Razor" it is fueled by Cain's need for vengeance. Cain, in her limited time on the series, left wounds that never quite healed.

"Razor" does nothing to soften the unsympathetic portrait of Cain. If anything, the episode makes a more permanent cast of her as a cold, unyielding leader in peacetime who exploded into a singularly focused despot after the Cylons destroyed Caprica.

Cain was similar to Adama in one sense, however -- survival was all that mattered. Her priority was to wage war on behalf of a race the Cylons nearly extinguished, and if atrocities had to be committed, so be it. Every war has its collateral damage.

This is what it means to be a Razor. Cain at one point explains to her obedient protege Kendra Shaw (Stephanie Jacobsen), "Sometimes we have to do things that we never thought we were capable of if only to show the enemy our will." Her voice breaks as she adds, "This war is forcing us all to become Razors, because if we don't, we don't survive."

But the chilling truth is that by the end, you'll have a better understanding of why Cain did what she did, both tactically and emotionally.

Shaw survives Cain, but not the toll she took on her conscience. When Shaw becomes second in command to Lee, she continues her former leader's uncompromising legacy while wrestling with her grimmest memories.

"Battlestar Galactica" has presented a number of influential auxiliary characters throughout its run, but none as complex and compelling as Shaw. In spite of the actor's pixielike appearance, Jacobsen believably hardens the office into steel as "Razor" develops. Never a clear hero or villain, she's a tortured shade torn between vendetta and the fear-driven culture of Pegasus and Galactica, with a crew Admiral Adama considers to be family. Shaw's inner turmoil gives "Razor" its tragic bites and crags.

And "Razor's" best service, beyond reminding us why "Galactica" is one of the best television shows on the air, is in filling in the story's historical gaps -- particularly a deeper examination of the lives of the demoralized crew.

In addition to seeing what happened on the Pegasus and getting a first-hand look at a rumored war crime, writer Michael Taylor and director Felix Alcala also segue into the final season by dropping in a nostalgic visual treat that might as well be a red-eyed love letter to longtime fans.

Surely we deserve something for going for a year without new episodes. Season four of "Battlestar Galactica" won't start until April (although "Razor" is, technically, part of it). But it's better to think of "Razor" as a bridge between the seasons rather than a sustaining, hunger-curbing snack. This will not hold you over -- no, not in the least. On the contrary, "Razor's" revelatory conclusion makes the waiting more difficult to bear.

But for "Galactica" fans, it probably goes without saying that "Razor" is not to be missed, even if watching will make April seem a lifetime away.

Battlestar Galactica: Razor
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Battlestar Galactica: Razor

Developed by Ronald D. Moore[2]
Directed by Félix Enríquez Alcalá
Starring see below
Composer(s) Bear McCreary
Language(s) English
Running time 88 minutes
Original channel Sci Fi Channel
Original run 24 November 2007 �
Preceded by Crossroads, Part II
Followed by Season 4
External links
Official website
IMDb profile
Battlestar Galactica: Razor is the title of a television film of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica television series which premiered in the United States on Sci Fi Channel[3] and in Canada on Space channel[4] on November 24, 2007. It will premiere in the UK on Sky One on December 5, 2007.[5] Leaked copies of the movie began appearing on bit torrent sites at the end of October 2007.[6]

Sci Fi Channel confirmed on March 21, 2007 that part of the show's renewal for a fourth season of 22 episodes includes a television film to be released sometime in the fall of 2007. The film will comprise two of the 22 episodes.

Since original series creator Glen A. Larson still holds all film rights regarding the show, "Razor" will be aired first on television but will be quickly released to Region 1 DVD on December 4, 2007, 10 days after the airing on cable television,[7], while the Region 2 DVD will be released on December 26, 2007.[8] The DVD versions will feature an extended cut and include extras such as the cast members discussing their favorite episodes. also allowed fans to choose the cover art for the DVD release. The winning cover was announced on September 14, 2007.[9]

1 Plot
2 Details
3 Cast
4 Notes
5 References
6 External links

[edit] Plot
The film takes place during Apollo's first days as commander of Pegasus and uses flashbacks to show Admiral Cain's first missions following the Cylon holocaust, as well as events during the end of the first Cylon War. A new character, Kendra Shaw, links the past and present, as she witnessed many of Cain's actions.

Apollo's first mission as Pegasus commander involves rescuing a science team from a squadron of early Cylons who are guarding the original hybrid, the link between the robotic and humanoid Cylon forms. This forces Admiral Adama to reflect on his own experiences during the war, which involved finding a Cylon lab where they experimented on humans.

[edit] Details
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Please update the article to reflect recent events, and remove this template when finished.

According to IGN, "the movie will indeed focus on an untold story about the Battlestar Pegasus, and feature Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes) ... While this story with Cain occurs before she and the Pegasus crew joined up with Galactica, the entire cast of the regular series will appear in the movie, as the Pegasus portion is portrayed via flashbacks".[10]

Ronald D. Moore has stated, "The story will be set on the Battleship Pegasus and will take place in the past, relative to where we are in Season 3. But the events set up in that story will then pay off in Season 4."[11] He added, "One of the story lines everyone had really liked was the Pegasus story and the character of Admiral Cain, so we decided to go with that."[11] Moore has also said, "We'll try to reassemble most of the Pegasus cast."[10]

The show includes flashbacks to the original Cylon War, complete with original series Cylons, Raiders and Basestars. The homage even includes a golden Centurion commander, and another Cylon saying "By Your Command."

Steve Bacic will guest star as Colonel Jurgen Belzen; the original Pegasus's Executive Officer,[12] who (as Jack Fisk said in an earlier episode) was shot in the head by Cain for daring to question an order. The film depicts this incident, as well as Cain's orders to shoot civilian families to coerce compliance with her effort to strip civilian ships of usable parts and crew.

Pegasus' "Cylon Interrogator" Lieutenant Alastair Thorne will also return, as can be seen in the Sci Fi Channel's online trailer.

"Razor" will also reveal that Cain watched her parents and sister be killed by Cylons. Also, Cain's utter hatred towards the Cylon prisoner Gina will be revealed as the fallout of a lesbian relationship between them and Cain's feelings of betrayal.[13]

The main portion of the story is set during the second season, shortly after "The Captain's Hand," after Lee Adama takes charge of Pegasus and deals with his attempts to restore order to the ship with his new executive officer, Lieutenant (later Major) Kendra Shaw, and their first mission together with the Pegasus.[14] Because of the flashback structure of the story, the episodes fit nicely into the season two continuity, between "The Captain's Hand" and "Downloaded."

The SciFi Channel and Microsoft partnered on a special early screening of Razor in theaters two weeks before it airs on television. Screenings took place on November 12, 2007, in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, and Seattle.[15] The screenings were interrupted in the middle with 2 Microsoft-related advertisements.[citation needed]

The primary theme of the film is the effect of war on a person's instincts to survive. The title refers to the steel resolve needed to do what must be done for the greater good, and is symbolized by a knife passed in the film between several different characters.

[edit] Cast
Edward James Olmos - William Adama
Mary McDonnell - Laura Roslin
Michelle Forbes - Helena Cain
Grace Park - Number Eight
Katee Sackhoff - Kara "Starbuck" Thrace
Jamie Bamber - Lee "Apollo" Adama
Tricia Helfer - Number Six, Gina
James Callis - Gaius Baltar
Michael Hogan - Saul Tigh
Fulvio Cecere - Alastair Thorne
Stephanie Chaves-Jacobsen - Kendra Shaw
Nico Cortez - Young William Adama
Steve Bacic - Jurgen Belzen
Campbell Lane - Hybrid

[edit] Notes
In the original design of the DVD cover the Battlestar Pegasus is shown to be part of Battlestar group 75 (BSG-75), which is actually Galactica's group. Pegasus's group is BSG-62. This has since been corrected.[16]
In a previous attempt to relaunch Battlestar Galactica, before the current reimagining, a movie was proposed


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