The Battlestar Galactica series finale, such a controversial end to one of the best true Sci Fi TV series in recent memory.
I was quite excited to follow the progress of his edit and now after a bit of a delay I can finally take the chance to post my thoughts on the experience.
I watched the DVD version from my HTPC, and technically the edit is very well put together; the video looked great for SD quality and the audio featured a nice 5.1 track that is always welcome. A deserved 10 for AV quality.
Now in terms of editing I only have to point out that I found a couple of the transitions including a fade here and a cut there to be somewhat jarring, but considering the intention behind them and the fact that there is not much choice in how to implement them I'd say they can be overlooked. Because of this its 9s all around for the editing scores.
It's been a while since I last watched this flawed piece of entertainment - since it originally aired back in 2009 I think. And I was amazed at how easy it was to jump back in and feel all the excitement at the truly awesome first part of this extended episode.
I'd have to watch the original version again, but I believe that Menbailee has left the first half completely untouched, and that's a good call in my book. The Galactica and her crew's final mission intertwined with those character development flashbacks provide a pure gold final cap on a great series and remain a "by the edge of your seat" type of quality television.
Now, the controversy comes along right after that is when things got murky in the original version and is of course where this edit really mixes things up.
First off, I really liked how final moment for Starbuck is handled this time around. It went from something extremely vague to a proper final scene that brings close for the character while still leaving a reasonable amount of lingering questions about who she is and what really happened to her to personal interpretation. Nicely done :)
Also, added that, trimming the final hour to focus on the protagonists was a very smart choice. By focusing on Adama's final farewell for Roslin; added to Baltar and Caprica Six's realization and Lee the chief's somewhat clean slates at the end of the journey provide a satisfying conclusion.
As much as I feel that many of the editing choices were very spot on, I can't say that I agree with all of them. Particularly the rest of fleet's fate as teased in the special features caught me by surprise and I'm still torn on whether it should have been handled somewhat similarly to the original ending or not... however it did feel like a plot thread left just dangling.
Because of this last issue I give 8 for Narrative; and a solid 9 for overall Enjoyment.
To sum things up, this edit is a very smartly condensed and improved version for the 2000s version of Battlestar Galactica. One that many fans of the series would likely enjoy more than the original.
Congrats and thank you to Menbailee for taking the time and effort.
Now this is what I was hoping for the first time around! Menbailee has given us the BSG finale we were hoping for, instead of the ragged end full of loose threads we were given the first time around. No longer does the most engaging character with the most complex story simply vanish with no explanation; no longer does the shepherd abandon his flock. And when it ends, your first thought won't be WTF?! The change made to the final destination is major, but if you really think about it, it makes perfect sense. It's actually so appropriate that it makes past events which were never fully explained in the series proper look like clues to this very outcome. Plus, it helps flesh out the "Starbuck mystery." I also really love the flashbacks re-appropriated as final character beats and the more thoroughly realized opera house prophecy.
This is a very professional and elegantly realized edit that will now act as my preferred ending whenever I re-watch the series. And if you have never seen the original closing episodes, consider watching this instead. It's much more satisfying, and you can always go back and watch what was aired as a frustrating, inferior "director's cut."
The DVD was nice with some fun extras. The sound and picture were consistently good, except for the scenes which were either re-sized or re-inserted from an unmastered source. These bits are few and far between, though, and they serve the edit, so they are forgivable.
I haven't watched the finale of BSG since it aired and I recently bought the Blu Ray as quite frankly I've never seen better TV.
I thought that rather than watching the original finale I'd just watch this one and see if it all hung together properly. I didn't mind the original finale, except for Starbuck vanishing and everyone disappearing off to do their own thing, which was kinda depressing. It ending with Baltar and Six....meh.
So this edit is pretty damn good. I only noted at one point where I felt something was a little off and this was the final Lee/Kara scene when Lee turns around.
The opera sequence, I can't recall how that played out in the original, but it certainly works here.
This version feels far more optimistic...and make sure you pay full attention. When Starbuck jumped BSG, I happened to be texting someone and completely missed the line of VERY important dialogue there.
Because there are a lot of flashbacks in this, the ending with Kara made me wonder if she'd gone back or I was seeing a flashback. It prob didn't help that I'd drank some wine and wasn't fully picking up on all the narrative elements.
The extras were pretty good as well. I loved the 'what happened to the fleet?' that made me laugh!
Upfront, I did not notice glitches or problems with any technical elements. For some reason the DVD was not smooth in my BluRay, though it was fine in the computer and backup DVD player.
I have viewed the BSG series multiple times. Once I even watched the whole thing in reverse order. The finale I must have watched 4-5 times. Moore's commentary, too.
I very much enjoyed Menbailee's cut. Truth to tell, I did not notice major changes in the narrative up to and during the assault on the Colony. I wanted to see this edit, however, for Menbailee's alternate endings, and these did not disappoint.
Closure points were much better this time, though arguably sadder. Bittersweet. Starbuck's exit was no longer "magic" but simply uncertain. Likewise for other character arcs. The series always embraced dark realism over happy fantasy. The original ending always felt, to me, like Moore had fallen back to his old Star Trek days and had punched the optimistic reset button.
Highly recommended to long time fans, though rookies to the series may be lost.
Life has a melody, a rhythm of notes which become your existence once played in harmony with God's plan.