Saturday, November 24, 2007

Razor doesn't cut it

Caution: some Nerd Rage imminent. Also, spoilers if you haven't seen Razor yet.

It should come as no surprise to people who read this blog that I love Battlestar Galactica. I love dark futures, I love survival scenarios where the heroes are massively outnumbered, I love retro-tech, and I love military hardware. I love this show so much that I've even done some work for QMx on BSG material.

That said, I don't love Razor.

I'm going to skip past the part where I say that, as the only new BSG programming we're getting this year, it should deliver a lot of bang (it doesn't) and leave us on the edge of our seats for season 4. Instead, I'm going to concentrate on what I didn't like about this movie. If you accuse me of nitpicking, you're probably correct; such is the stuff of nerd rage.
  • The movie introduces us to a new character, Capt. Kendra Shaw. She is haunted by the ghosts of the past, and in an effort to put her past misdeeds behind her she lashes out and does drugs and yadda yadda yadda. Not only is this cliché, it is practically shorthand for This character will die before the end of the movie. Seriously, did anyone not see this coming? Please, let me know. I promise I won't mock you. I just want to know if anyone was caught by surprise by this.
  • Admiral Caine has a lesbian affair. This bothers me, but not for the reason you probably think, for I have no problems with straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or any other kind of sexuality so long as it isn't done to children, animals, or nonconsenting adults. No, my problem here is that by making Gina her lover, they once again fall back to stereotype: that any strong-willed military woman must be a ball-busting dyke to succeed.
  • Speaking of Caine, what is up with her hair? Forgive me for getting all girly on you here, but why does the Admiral's hairstyle go from dark and wavy -- -- to lighter and straighter ---- in the span of three months? Yes, I suppose she could have changed her 'do, but putting aside the possibility that the Pegasus has a beauty salon aboard to straighten and lighten her hair, please realize that she is an Admiral at war. Officers, especially those at the top of the chain of command, simply do not do that sort of thing, because they have to project the image that they are consistent in thought, action, and deed -- in other words, unchanging. I know this because my father is a career Army Colonel. Say what you will about Adm. Cain (and believe me, a lot can be said), she never once stopped projecting a constant "I am in total command here" vibe.
  • The movie is told almost entirely in flashback. That in itself isn't an indictment against it, though; some movies, such as Pulp Fiction, make good use of it. This one doesn't, though, because 90% of the flashbacks are of things we already knew happened. What this means is that we spend so much time dealing with needless backstory that by the time the movie is 3/4ths finished, very little has actually happened plot-wise. As a result, the next 30 minutes are resolved in a rather half-assed fashion, and the truly interesting questions the show raises (What did Sharon mean by "evolutionary dead end?" Were the Guardians rogues, or simply left to die by the rest of the Cylon race? Did Jaycie die from her injuries? Were the things that Husker saw on the ice planet simply products of his imagination, or was the hybrid communicating with him in some way?) simply aren't answered.
In summation: too much backstory, not enough plot. I realize that some backstory was necessary to introduce us to the character of Kendra Shaw, but I feel that it was dwelled upon excessively and to the detriment of the story.

Things I did like:
  • The way they used some original-series BSG stuff (Cylon raiders, Centurions, Colonial Warrior uniforms) to highlight the difference between the First and Second Cylon War.
  • Three old-school Cyons in a Raider, speaking in classically cheesy synthvoices. Excellent!
  • One of the marines is named "Hudson," in an obvious nod to Aliens.
  • The Razor Flashbacks which detail the adventures of Bill "Husker" Adama in the First Cylon War.
Oh, one more thing: the constant advertisement of the DVD release of this movie on December 4th, "with deleted scenes," really began to bug me. It's sort of like saying, "This movie you're seeing now, for free? It's incomplete. If you want to get the WHOLE story, you need to buy the DVD, sucker!"

Who knows, maybe it'll be better. Maybe it will provide a better framework on which to hang the story, or the deleted scenes will answer more questions. But as it stands now though, Razor is just... dull.

*ba dump bump*


  1. Y'know, I wish I liked this sort of stuff, because I'd like to be able to gab about it, but I just can't seem to make that jump. Oh, I suppose if I sat down to several hours of it, I'd get involved. Such is the nature of narrative. But I just can't seem to make that initial commitment to anything of a "space marine" sort of nature. Heck, even in the "old days" of watching the original BG, I was only interested in the "Galactica 1980" episodes, and that's because the characters had some degree of superpowers. I guess I'm just a capes & tights guy at heart, and it's hard for me to get into the uniforms and intrigue and such of things like this.

  2. "Razor is just... dull." Hah-ho!

    nBSG and I fell out of love with each other a while ago, so I haven't seen it in months. Too bad that Razor isn't the hawtness.

    But, hey, it could be worse! It could be Flash Gordon!


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