on 28 July 2007
This could have been very good, but sadly it is merely mediocre. Even the talents of director Mike Vejar can't hide this. Gone is the wonderful dialogue of the original B5 series. All we get is the loyal patriotic babblings depicted here. Andreas Katsulas was wasted in this pilot, it would have been better if he had never appeared in this at all. The designs in the cgi are pretty naff too. None of the brilliant ron thornton based on chris foss alien craft. The Hand ships look pretty tame compared to the old shadow vessels of yore. The script is reminiscent of a regular episode of star trek which is not a compliment. There are regular episodes and good episodes.
The knowledge of the ancient alien race the hand is given too quickly and we get no suspense as we did with b5 and the unfolding of the shadows. This comes across as being put together very quickly with very little thought to characterisation and overall arc let alone storytelling. Disappointing JMS!!!
on 8 March 2006
I think the other comments were maybe a little harsh. It was only the pilot! I thought Babylon 5 was great but I don't think anyone can describe its pilot 'the gathering' as cracking sci-fi! It's a shame we didn't get to see a little more of some interesting characters. Oh I dunno maybe I'm just a little nostalgic for the good old days when we had a new B5 episode each week! Worth buying to catch a glimpse of a different take on the B5 universe and good to see Andreas Katulas back on screen as G'Kar. Fingers crossed for another more successful B5 spinoff in the future!
on 20 July 2006
Unfortunately the Babylon 5 franchise has always been at the mercy of the studio/network executives. Although Babylon 5 ran its full five years, it came mighty close, at least once, to being cancelled.
The first attemted spin-off was Crusade. It is fairly well known now that the 'powers that be' constantly badgered the creator JMS to change things durin production of Crusade, which he generally tried to do, only to have them pull out and cancel the show after 14 episodes. (a decision which appears to have been already pre-determined.)
Not to mention the hollow promises he was given to get him to do a commentary for the DVD set, which was then edited without his permission. (that's why you wont see a comentary on Legend of the Rangers)
Anyway, with all the previous problems, I was hopeful for a fresh start with Legend of the Rangers. Unfortunately it was not to be. Problems behind the scenes arose again, this time over who would own the property, which resulted in no extra money being available to finish the new weapons system sets. The weapons sequences had to be thrown together at the last minute. Sadly this makes it almost impossible not to laugh at the sequence, and ultimetely, this is what people tend to remember about the film. Not the good parts. And there are good parts.
The CGI for example is the best we've seen to date in the Babylon 5 universe, and it looks pretty slick. And to correct a previous reviewer, the White Star had not been changed. It was a different class of ship, a blue star I think.
Anyway, the action does not take place on a state of the art White Star, or Excalibur, but on an old clapped-out Liandra Gunboat. The ship is in disrepair which makes for a more interesting setting than the usual spic-and-span starships we've become used to seeing in recent years.
The make-up is also worth a mention which has vastly improved since the early B5 days. And, as others have mentioned, it's great to see G'Kar in this film. Especially as Andreas Katsulas died recently, and this is the last time we will ever see G'Kar again.
Well the final nail in the coffin for Legend of the Rangers was being shown opposite the Super Bowl which clearly effected ratings of this pilot and ultimatley the series was not to be. As pilots go, its not that bad. Considering the way the creator JMS likes to write in multiple layered story arcs, which build up over many episodes, This was an excellent beginning. It clearly had lots of potential.
I should also point out that due to the unexpected sales of the Babylon 5 dvd boxsets, JMS was given the green light to begin a big budget Babylon 5 feature film last year. Sadly, you guessed it, it was scrapped. But the dvd sales were the key. And there is always the very real possiblity the film may still happen somewhere down the road. If you are a B5 fan, and you want new stuff, the answer is simple. By this DVD !!
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.
on 3 January 2006
This is a difficult one to review. As a standalone yarn, it's quite enjoyable, and feels like a strange hybrid of Blake's 7 (the UK's 70's cult TV series) and Star Trek the Original Series. Dylan Neal plays the part of Captain David Martell more like James T Kirk than a member of the Anla-Shok. In fact the bridge of the Liandra is almost instantly recognisable as a clone of the original Enterprise. And there the problem lies - when a member of the crew states the "jump engines are offline", you hear "warp engines"; the helmsman is a Sulu-clone; and the Narn in Engineering is an odd mixture of Scotty and Geordi LaForge. And how exactly did Turk the Drazi get to be a Ranger? The Anla-Shok have really relaxed their recruitment criteria! In fact every member of the Liandra's crew has a little green Ranger Badge, and yet none of them "feels" like a Ranger. Remember Marcus Cole?
In fact(getting to the point of my Review Title), LOTR seems like a parody of an earlier non-existant TV series (a la Galaxy Quest). It's got all the right ingredients - a maverick Captain, an immediately recognisable generic starship crew (Minbari make good Vulcan clones, and Drazi do Klingons quite well), and even a bunch of shouting Ambassadors. It's just a shame it rides on the back of the B5 universe, paying lip-service to it, but adding nothing new or inovative to the mix.
G'Kar's in it though, so worth buying for your favourite Narn!
on 5 November 2005
This pilot episode for a new series set in the Babylon 5 universe is about as bad as Sci-Fi can get: little in the way of plot development, one dimensional characters and laughable lines and set pieces.
Where Crusade felt like a different direction for the B5 universe, this feels more like the result of several fans getting together and writing a script for people who didn't understand the bulk of B5 episodes.
on 8 November 2005
I’d like to start off by saying what a huge fan of B5 universe but to be honest I’m not really sure where to start with this TV movie/Pilot episode. After hearing some buzz about this a few years back about this movie I was intrigued and hopeful for a new show based on the B5 universe but after Crusade was wrongly (I thought the show was great) cancelled the way it was I wasn’t holding my breath. So to the movie, I wasn’t sure what to expect so when I was disappointed it didn’t really bother me that much. First off the acting is poor; it’s not up to the quality of the previous shows or TV movies. I’m not sure where the previous reviewer is coming from but the special effects are not as good as those in crusade or the later parts of B5. The story I’m afraid to say was also pretty poor. As part of the B5 universe this is not worthy to be honest and unfortunately can’t recommend it BUT as it is B5 and if you have the other B5 shows/movies etc it might be worth getting just to add to that collection but on it’s own it doesn’t add anything new to the B5 universe.
on 9 November 2005
A lukewarm plot, below average dialogue and defrosted old quotes from the (otherwise magnificent) series makes this film one that I would gladly have missed had someone warned me. The Tae-Bo weapon systems in particular will give you a few good laughs but, ultimately, even the presence of G'Kar doesn't save this.
on 13 January 2009
I am normally a big fan of this show, but this release seems ill concieved. It seemed to me to be a re-hash of the Shadow war with some really iffy CGI. There seemed to be two unrelated stories happening. One with the general crew and another with ghost crew which really does not enhance the storyline. The CGI sequences of how the weapons were fired was unneccessary and was quite frankly rubbish.
On the good side - The acting is generally good, and the basic story has its merits. Its a shame really as it could have been a lot better than it it is. Its a spin off that B5 fans will want to watch as part of the universe of B5 and in this context it is worth watching.
On another good note. Andreas Katsulas was his brilliant self as G'Kar and he ultimatly saved the film.
on 28 December 2005
I'm a huge Babylon 5 fan. This ' Legend of the Rangers' is as bad as Sci Fi can get. Sadly this film ignore the background of B5 and appear to be aimed at a different type of audience. I like to add after I saw it, the dvd went straight into the bin.