Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Babylon 5 The Legend of the Rangers|
Actors: Dylan Neal, Andreas Katsulas, Alex Zahara, Myriam Sirois, Dean Marshall
Director: Michael Vejar
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers is a two-hour television movie created by J. Michael Straczynski (original creator of the Babylon 5 series) for the Sci-Fi Channel. The telefilm takes place in 2264 after the wars are o... more »
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Patrick B. from CARY, NC
Reviewed on 6/30/2010...
The pilot for a Babylon 5 spinoff that didn't sell. Disgraced Ranger David Martel gets a second chance when he's given command of the twenty-year-old ship Liandra, which is small, obsolete, underpowered, and possibly cursed. His crew choices include some of the first Ranger recruits from races other than Minbari or human. Assigned a simple escort mission, Martel uncovers a threat to the Interstellar Alliance from a previously unknown enemy. Cut off from any hope of rescue and with Liandra's weapons disabled, Martel has to outwit this ancient and powerful menace in order to save his crew. Andreas Katsulas guest stars as G'Kar.
It's a shame this series wasn't produced. The elements of many good stories are already in evidence: a ship and captain with checkered pasts, a crew of oddball and misfit Rangers, and a mysterious new enemy that must be investigated. (Oh, and Liandra seems to be haunted by the ghosts of its previous crew, who may be trying to help.) Sadly, we'll never know what those other stories would have been.
Not Quite as Bad as I Remembered
Mark Baker | Santa Clarita, CA United States | 06/15/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ranger David Martell (Dylan Neal) has committed a horrid offense - staying alive. The Ranger code strictly states that at no time shall a Ranger back down from a fight. But with his ship out-gunned, David doesn't force a fight, thereby living to fight another day.
A funny thing happens on the way to his court marshal. Saner heads prevail, and he is allowed to stay in the Rangers. He was in line to be given command of a new ship just coming off the assembly line. He does still get to command a ship, but he is given command of a 20-year-old Minbari ship rumored to be haunted.
His first assignment is to provide support for a larger ship taking a group of delegates to an undisclosed location. Even with all the secrecy, they still fly into an ambush, and David and his crew must use every trick up their sleeve if they are going to survive this encounter with an ancient race.
I had only watched this movie once, the day it first aired. I was less then impressed. I bought it mainly so I could complete my Babylon 5 collection. The movie was actually better then I remembered.
The story presented here is entertaining. It had been long enough since I had seen it that I couldn't remember much about it and was pulled into the action again. The acting by a group of unknowns is top notch, and the characters are interesting enough that I wish the series had been picked up so we could learn more about them. Fan favorite Andreas Katsulas (who unfortunately passed away recently) returns as G'Kar, the only character from the original series to appear. His performance, as always, is great. And the dialog is witty. I was laughing out loud at many of the lines. This is some of the sharpest writing series creator J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) has done. This is all supported by great special effects.
Unfortunately, the flaws I remembered were still here. If this had been the pilot for a new series, it would have worked well. It introduces us to a new danger and sets a potentially interesting story in motion. However, since this was all we got, it feels empty. Adding to this is the sense we've done this before in the original series. I'm sure a series would have gone in a new direction, but here "The Hand" just felt like a retreat of original series villains The Shadows.
The almost fatal flaw of this movie, however, is the weapons systems. I mean, seriously, what was JMS thinking. In order for this ship to fire, the ammunitions officer must go into a virtual reality chamber and use Kung Fu moves. I'm not kidding! She has to punch and kick at pictures of the ships in order to fire the weapons. While the visuals are unique and interesting, the idea that a ship would have a weapons system like that is laughable. It pulls me right out of the movie.
This movie was never popular with fans, and in keeping with that, this is a bare bones release. We get the movie in widescreen and surround sound with nothing in the way of extras. I'm a little disappointed. I would have loved to hear JMS attempt to explain the stupid weapons system.
This is not the place to get introduced to Babylon 5. If you are interested in a great science fiction show, start with the season sets. This is a movie only a fan will love, and even then, most fans don't."
It might have been a good series. But it's not that great a
Esther Schindler | Scottsdale, AZ USA | 01/28/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you're as much of a fan of Babylon 5 as I am, you'll be compelled to check out this movie, which was a pilot for a follow-on series. The pilot didn't sell the show. (Crusade also took place in the same general timeframe, after the Shadow war and other events of the 5-year B5 series. Crusade was destroyed by TV network stupidity, not by the creator's vision or a lackluster script--a subject that I go into in my review of that box set.)
I'm not sure who's at fault in The Legend of the Rangers, but this doesn't work very well as a standalone movie. If you love the universe already, you're going to watch this no matter what I tell you (and it's definitely worth seeing _once_). But if you're trying to catch up to learn what the shouting is all about... cast your eyes aside. This isn't the best of what the Babylon5 universe has to offer.
It's important to remember that this was a pilot, so there's a lot more exposition than in an ordinary movie. The characters stand around with an uncomfortable amount of conversation in the "As you know, this is What Has Gone Before," and make rather bald statements meant to convey "This is my role in the show; don't you think I should keep the part?" That makes any storytelling awkward -- a rule that applied equally well to the original Babylon 5 pilot, which had something like 18 characters to introduce in a 90-minute show. The Legend of the Rangers doesn't have quite as long a casting call, but it somehow (and not very smoothly) has to bring you up to date on the whole B5 history, and introduce the bad guys who our crew will be battling with, presumably, throughout the proposed Season One.
The only character in the movie to bridge between old-and-new B5 stories is (the late, sigh) Andreas Katsulas as J'kar, who at this point has spent several years on his own universe walkabout. The movie switches from "okay" to "darn, this is good after all" in nearly every one of his scenes.
Despite my criticism of the storyline, I think this might have made a good TV show. The premise of the rangers is still a very cool one -- spacefaring knights of the round table -- and we all do like to watch the "captain with an attitude, who somehow engenders incredible loyalty among his crew." (A bad guy says, "A ranger wouldn't kill me." "Yeah, well, I've been having disciplinary problems lately," replies the ship captain.) If it had been approved, I would have given it a chance.
Bottom line: worth watching once. Maybe twice."
Serious Problems, but . . .
Matachen | TX | 04/19/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Worse than Infection? That's saying quite a bit. I have to agree this film has some serious problems, for example, the Kung Fu weapons sequence is literally embarrassing, even if you watch it alone. Yet even the idea of a gunner immersed in a VR system (sans the kicking and screaming) was interesting -- with some work it could have been interesting. Moreover, the chemistry between the crew was much better than that in the original pilot, especially between the captain and his second in command.
Rather than chronicle the flaws in this movie -- and they are legion -- I will just say this: the critics of this film are correct in every detail. I cannot find a single particular where you would be wrong (right down to the quality of the video); however, if you step back and see the totality of this pilot (and what it could have become, warts and all) it becomes more enjoyable. The story is predictable, but that was exactly the the technique used by JMS in the original B5: to give the audience a predictable story, with stereotypical characters, and then slowly have them begin to behave and evolve in ways you never would have expected.
There are even a few moments which, far from being embarrassing, bring it all back (the last scene where G'Kar says his famous line about B5, and they show the Babylon station, actually got an emotional reaction from me and the people I was watching the show with.
Deeply flawed, but as G'Kar would say, not without hope."