Battlestar Galactica (2003) The Pilot Movie

It is debatable whether Battlestar Galactica is a war movie or not. Considering that even experts of the field (I’m talking movie historians and critics) think so, I thought I might include it here. Whether you think this is justified or not, is totally up to you.

I started watching the series with the three-hour long pilot movie. I’m not familiar with the old series and haven’t seen any other episodes so far but the pilot made me want to watch at least a few other episodes.

The pilot takes a lot of time introducing the characters and I found some of them to be quite interesting. We also have many conflicts that we usually see in war movies. Leadership is a theme, insubordination, taking responsibilities, going to war or trying to avoid it. In a certain way I found that it combined two war movie subgenres that I usually like, namely air combat and submarine combat. The battleship, although flying in space and really huge, isn’t so much different from a submarine.

Now, what’s the story? The 12 colonies of mankind have last heard from their robotic creations, the Cylons, some 12 years ago. It seems as if the war is definitely over. The old museum-piece battleship, the Galactica, is about to be decommissioned for good and turned into a full-time museum when the unthinkable happens. The Cylons, who have developed into human looking creatures by now, strike again. Number six, an extremely attractive and sexy-looking Cylon, has tricked Gaius Baltar, a scientific genius, into telling her about the human’s defense systems. Without his knowing, this opens the door to one huge strike in which all the colonies are blown up. The Galactica and a few smaller ships, plus some 50’000 humans survive.

Lead by Commander Adama, the Galactia now goes on a mission to find the 13th colony, the Earth. The Cylons will try to destroy them and follow them wherever they can and they have also managed to have one of their own among the crew of the Galactica.

The crew is a group of very composite and quite flawed characters. We have Commander Adama, a wise and thoughtful commander but also a person who is guilt-ridden as his second son has died as a pilot. Capt Lee Adama aka Apollo, his son, a gifted pilot, hates his father’s guts because he thinks he is the reason for his brothers premature death. Lt Kara Thrace aka Starbuck was the girlfriend of Adama’s late son. She clearly has issues with subordination and anger management but she is the most gifted pilot. Starbuck is the type of “soldier” you would never find in a real war movie and she certainly is one of the reasons that makes me like this series. She is gutsy, ballsy, courageous and highly talented. Col Tigh is second in command. Maybe not a bad soldier but someone with an alcohol issue. Aboard are also the newly appointed president of the colonies who has just heard that she has cancer, the sleazy Gaius Balter who is constantly haunted by Number Six and many other more or less interesting characters.

I was surprised to find it this entertaining and will gladly go on watching it.