Directed by Jeffrey Reiner
Starring Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Alessandra Toreson, Paula Malcomson, Polly Walker, Sina Najafi, Magda Apanowicz
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 21, 2009
“Find those things in life that make you cry.
That make you feel.
Because they’re what make you human.”
What is it to follow one of the greatest shows ever created? That is the task given to Caprica, and it is not an easy one. The show, which is set to air its first season in 2010, is a prequel/spin-off of the now-completed Ronald D. Moore and David Eick brilliance that was Battlestar Galactica. But to ease the waiting period just a little itty bit, the first episode — in the form of a two-hour-ish long movie — has been released on DVD, and I have the ultimate geek honor of reviewing it.
Caprica takes place 58 years before the BSG storyline picks up. It’s much simpler, much more similar to our own time, aside from some sweet technologies (computerized tennis courts with robo-refs? Let’s get on that one, scientists!). The story follows two men, Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and Joseph Adama (Esai Morales), who meet in the wake of severe tragedy involving their families. Daniel, being a super-genius who is working on artificial robot life forms for the military to use, discovers that his daughter Zoe (Alessandra Toreson) was actually a genius herself before the tragedy, and she developed an amazing replication program. Daniel, thinking that he’s found a way to bring back his and Joseph’s family, presents the idea to him. Joseph is appalled by the idea at first, but the offer is too tempting to refuse, so he finds himself in a battle with himself trying to decide what is right, and where the line is drawn. Ultimately, Daniel Graystone’s work lays the blueprint for Cybernetic Lifeform Nodes, or as we know them: Cylons.
The show starts off in the most perfect of ways — by immediately showing some incredibly mysterious and intriguing events. With this, right off that bat, you have questions and wonders galore. Leave it to the uber-genius producer/co-creator team of Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, along with newcomer co-creator Remi Aubuchon, to immediately seduce your soul into investing itself in their show. Well played, sirs.
The drama and situations you’ll experience in Caprica just scream Battlestar Galactica, BUT, do not be fooled — this is a whole new animal. With BSG, there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. All of the politics and wars and problems were all right there among mankind’s last remaining people. If it was important, it most likely affected your life. But with Caprica, mankind is flourishing. The city is massive and buzzing with life, and everyone is happy and content in their own little worlds. If problems arise, they still have the option of seclusion and avoidance; they have the choices and freedoms in life that we take for granted. Another huge difference is the action. Again, this is the beginning of it all — there is no great Cylon/Human war, or epic space battles. This is not even really a science fiction show. Caprica is — as I believe someone describes it in the Special Features — a “family drama” that ties into the mythology of Galactica. But do not let this fact scare you away, because judging by this first offering, this is already screaming to continuously blow our minds on TV.
One major element to the movie is religion. This is something that may worry you or turn some people off, including myself on certain occasions; but because of the way that it’s handled, it doesn’t impede on you in any way. In fact, it’s actually really exciting to me — with this movie, you see the beginnings of the religious debates we saw burning so hot in Battlestar: do you believe in the Gods, or do you believe in the one true God? Within this debate in Caprica, you also see an 11-year-old Admiral Adama (Sina Najafi), and what caused him to loathe it all.
The real-world issues don’t stop with religion, folks. These people met with the damn United Nations, do you think they would extract the power of real-world association? No way! You’ll also see racism, immigration, terrorism, and organized crime. Then there’s the Internet. This movie has a place called the V Room, that is a big part in the story. Basically, it’s a virtual chat room, but it’s so far advanced that you experience it as if you were actually there. The V Room is the it place for teens to go off to; where they can do whatever they want, whether it be fighting, sex, or murder.
When I began the movie, all that I knew was that there was some sort of battle between the Adamas and the Graystones amongst the creation of the Cylons. You can imagine my thrill in discovering so many more layers going on here. I went in actually thinking Daniel Graystone was some sort of evil genius out to destroy the world, and while what he will become is very much yet-to-be-seen, his character in this movie is likable and someone that you may even root for at times. All of the characters for the most part are appealing and likable, to be fair — though some choose lives that require extreme measures and they live them with passion and belief that what they do is right.
To finish it all off, we arrive at the ending of the movie. I’m definitely not going to go and give anything away, but the ending of Caprica is so perfect; it really drops a massive cherry on the sundae that’s sure to become a great TV series. I had to watch said ending multiple times, getting goosebumps each time that I watched it…it’s that good. This movie is a masterful introduction to this whole new world.
I can’t recommend this movie enough to those who are fans of Battlestar Galactica. It may just end up being the best constructed prequel ever to be seen. I say this for one reason: answers. We’ve seen so much in Galactica, but there was still so much that we didn’t know. To be able to see where it all began and unfolded while finding gems of answers and information in each episode that we’ll be able to apply to BSG. This means consistently great content that is as ripe for discussion and debate as it comes. I mean, just think back to the Final Five and what they discovered about themselves and their origins. Things could get extremely interesting there.
For those who have not seen Battlestar Galactica, I would strongly urge you to go out and buy all of the seasons (complete series available soon) and watch those first. It’s all so good, you will not regret it. If you just can’t wait, though, you could absolutely watch Caprica and enjoy it with the rest of us. It’s just hard to describe what the difference would be. When you’ve seen all of Battlestar, you just feel so much more invested in this; everything that happens means something and it all feels important to you, even though it’s completely fictional. These are the marks of a great movie and TV show.
My only one, small dispute would be young Willie Adama. Is there any way we can get Edward James Olmos to play the 11-year-old version of himself? I miss him so.
In terms of Special Features, there’s not a whole lot here. There is a few decent deleted scenes, and there’s also some video blogs with some of the cast giving us a peek behind the scenes.