Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming Reviews

A slick film presentation.

The trailer was terrific. One of the great trailers of all time.

The fans stood and applauded before begging to see it again. A professional looking and feeling advertisement worthy of a summer blockbuster. Only George Lucas seems to put this kind of heart into a story before committing it to film.

The product generated by Hatch and company is pretty amazing. Effective, intriguing, intelligently assembled and surprisingly well produced. The narrative suggests a complexity of story which is rather refreshing these days. Lots of nice details, little moments, and strong indications that the sensibilities of the people assembling this trailer had their brains and hearts firmly grounded in the right place. It made me want to see more.

It was THE HIGHLIGHT of the weekend! It was simply incredible and when it was over the entire audience was on its feet roaring its approval. It was a five minute standing ovation. Unbelievable. As soon as they went to the audience for questions the very first one was, " Can you show that trailer again?" the entire audience was again on its feet... At the end of the panel they showed it again and everyone just went crazy.

Only a Trailer...BUT WHAT A TRAILER! Although it was produced on a shoestring budget the trailer is sleek, professional-looking presentation with incredible CGI and good acting. Thrill to the new Scarlet-class Vipers! Shiver when the new Cylon baseships "unscrew" into their dual disc shape! Stand and applaud madly when it ends!

I have to admit to being one of the skeptics when it came to reviving Galactica. I was wrong. This trailer was magnificent, even moreso when you consider the limited funds he had to make it. What is really magnificent are the space battle scenes. These shots easily blow away all of the space battles we saw in the original series.

Galactica Soars majestically once more. Fans of the original series won't be disappointed.

I finally had the pleasure of seeing that long-imagined next chapter at Main Mission: 2000, a wonderful convention in New York City honoring the 25th anniversary of Space: 1999 and the 22nd anniversary (or thereabouts) of Battlestar Galactica. As the auditorium went dark, I began to contemplate how the trailer would look. How could a self-financed production even hope to attain the level of Battlestar Galactica 's still extraordinary special effects? I wondered if I was about to witness a waterloo, a failure, a noble but botched attempt at revival. I knew that I respected Richard Hatch, but could he pull off a miracle? These thoughts raced through my head, as the program began... Five minutes later the trailer was over, I picked my jaw up off the floor, and I tried hard to recover my senses. When I failed, I tried again. Beside me, my wife whispered something in my ear, and only later did I realize she said that she had "goosebumps." On the other side of me, a professional writer and long-time friend (and Galactica fan), had tears in his eyes. He still had tears in his eyes an hour later... We watched the trailer again, and -- amazingly -- it seemed even more impressive the second time around, as our minds registered more of the details During Richard Hatch's comments (which followed that viewing), I felt my journalistic instincts taking over, and, rather bluntly, I asked him how much The Second Coming had cost because, quite simply, I had witnessed something amazing.

This was no half-hearted amateur production, but a professional, beautiful, even poetic re-imagining of the entire Galactica mythos. It was a stunning bit of work, and I just had to pin the guy down about it. How had he accomplished something that surely would have cost 10 million dollars in Hollywood? In answer, Hatch looked at me with infinite, Adama-like patience, as if he had heard this kind of question a million times before, and he explained how he had inspired his artists to do their best, even on what in Hollywood constitutes a shoestring budget. It was that simple. Okay, I'm no fawning fan (in fact, I fawn for no one!) but now I was really impressed. Things like this don't happen every day, folks! This guy loves Galactica so much that he put up his own money to help resurrect it. And, delightfully, that money was obviously well-spent. So let's talk about the trailer. We can start with the special effects. I'll be candid about something (and face the wrath of fans everywhere...), but I have always despised CGI special effects. To me, they look cartoony and far too clean. That's one reason I've never been able to appreciate Babylon 5 as others have. Somehow, CGI seem insubstantial to me...maybe because I grew up with the gritty, highly-detailed miniatures of Space:1999, Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars. Being equally honest, let me state that the CGI effects (mixed with miniature work as well, I am told), in The Second Coming are positively the best I have yet seen, on silver screen or television. Bar none. Better and more convincing than the Phantom Menace and Star Trek: Voyager by quite a lot, actually. And amazingly, the effects are thoroughly integrated into the trailer, with spaceships lifting off, explosions rocking, beautiful landscapes beckoning...all with Richard Hatch and company ensconced in the foreground! Green screen on a budget, apparently, but amazing work. Visually, The Second Coming is nothing less than stunning.

In particular, I was fond of one battle sequence which indicated three-dimensional space combat, because a pet peeve of mine about the original show was that the viper vs raider combat was always very two-dimensional. I was also impressed that the CGI artists had thought to "dirty down" the look of the viper crafts and such, making them more substantial-looking than I would have imagined possibly. Nicely done as well. What struck me most, however, was the manner in which Richard Hatch and his cast and crew were able to convey a pretty coherent storyline, even within the short confines of a trailer. We saw a malevolent Baltar declare that a Cylon Civil War had occurred. We saw Captain Apollo bracing against an arrogant representative of the Council of Twelve, and even facing criticism from his own sister, Athena. We saw cadets training to face a new "and more evil" brand of Cylon, and then we saw incredible space battles, a gunfight with tank-like Cylons (did I imagine that?), and much, much more. Quite a lot of imagery to get into one short picture, but this trailer managed to be exciting and intriguing at the same time. It was a road-map to the franchise's future. Also, I must send my most sincere compliments to the editor of this piece. Editing is an art form not often lauded by critics today, but it can make or break a picture... or a trailer. Fortunately, the editing in The Second Coming is top-notch. The pace of the piece is pulse-pounding. (How's that for alliteration?) Honestly, it would be quite foolish to review this Trailer as anything but what it is. It is not a film. It is not a TV pilot. It is, purely and simply, a coming attraction designed to raise interest in what looks to be a very provocative re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica.

It accomplishes that mission in spades, and I tip my hat to Richard Hatch for having the courage to put his money where his mouth is. So often in Hollywood, people are afraid to do anything creative or controversial. This Second Coming is not about a climate of fear, worry, money or legalties - but about possibilities. What Hatch has established with this production is that he sees and understands the possibilities of a new Galactica franchise, one with the right kind of leader at the helm. Obviously, Mr. Hatch inspired a lot of people to do their best work here...and that makes him a rare commodity in the industry, indeed: a producer whom people actually like. Regardless of what happens next, The Second Coming is a calling card, an announcement that Richard Hatch (and his production company) are ready to guide a new franchise (either Galactica or Great War of Magellan) onto our TV screens. I, for one, will be watching the next, next chapter, with great interest. And I didn't even mention that incredible, stylish first appearance of the diabolical Cylon warrior braced by fog and mist, his strobing red eye catching the light...Nice stuff. Very nice stuff.