two hour Babylon 5 film will start the story for Crusade.
Featuring various members of the Babylon 5 cast (Bruce
Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Tracy Scoggins, and Jeff Conaway.),
it tells the story of the failed attack on earth and the
consequences of a shadow-tech disease being spread on
earth. Much will take place on Babylon 5.
The InterStellar Alliance (ISA) president,
John Sheriden and his friend, Michael Garibaldi, inspect
the ISA's newest ships, the Exclaibur and the Victory,
whci are based on Human/Minbari/Vorlon technology. Little
do they know how important they will be.
The former Shadow servants, the Drakh, are
in a terrible situation. Without their masters, they have
little power. So they decide on becoming independent and
are in need of a new homeworld. They decide that taking
Earth would be a powerfull gesture, since it was a human
who had caused them so much grieving (and who destroyed
their former homeworld, Z'ha'dum).
Galen, a young Technomage, knows about the
Drakh plan. He has secretly been watching Sheriden and
decides to warn him.
Two other people also had dreams about the
planned attack: Dureena Nafel, a thief, comes to Babylon
5. Captain Anderson of the Charon, who commands a destroyer,
also sets course for Babylon5.
With combined forces, the Drakh attack utterly
fails, and they are forced to abandon their plans. However,
before they retreat, they release a virus onto earth,
a leftover of Shadow technology. The doctors of earth
say that it will take the virus 5 years to adapt itself
to the humans, and then become lethal.
Review: "Babylon 5: A Call to Arms"
the time comes to pick your target, be sure pick the right
one, because you will only get one shot." - Galen
me start out by saying that in my opinion "A Call to Arms"
is the best Babylon 5 movie yet. The first movie (not
counting the pilot), "In the Beginning", was solid storytelling,
but it tried to do too much for a two-hour movie. Also, being
aimed at new viewers, it contained few surprises for a regular
viewer. The second movie, "Thirdspace", had an interesting
setup, but the last hour was very weak, where the plot deteriorated
into nonsense. The third one, "River of Souls" was good, but
did not elaborate on the overall Babylon 5 story-line, it
felt almost like a "filler" episode - a good one, but still
a filler. And here comes the latest (and presumably last)
Babylon 5 movie, "A Call to Arms". Where the other
movies rehashed or strayed from story arc, "A Call to Arms"
is the first movie to really continue the story.
movies story takes place four years after the events in "Objects
at Rest", fifteen years before the Babylon 5 final episode,
"Sleeping in Light". While Sheridan and Garibaldi are inspecting
the prototypes of the new destroyers that are nearing completion,
the Excalibur and Victory, Sheridan starts to
have ominous dreams about an imminent attack on Earth. He
is drawn to Babylon 5 to meet with others who have
had similar dreams, and together they must find out what the
Drakh are up to and stop Earth from certain destruction.
liked the mystical, quest-like feel the first part of the
movie very much. It gave the move an almost mythical atmosphere,
and the dreams/visions were very well done. The second hour
brings us some exploration and quite a bit of action. The
first encounter with the Drakh is particularly well done,
and the final battle is set up nicely. The plot stumbles a
bit during the final battle, though, when there is a long
strategy discussion during the heat of a massive battle. Those
scenes should have been played with more urgency, it destroyed
the momentum of the previous scenes. It also made Sheridan
seem surprisingly indecisive, which seems out of character.
The post-battle anti-climax was well done though, but I would
have wanted to see more reactions. Personally I would also
have replaced Sheridans final discussion/explanation in favor
of a ending voice-over/epilogue showing the Excalibur
starting her crusade. Overall "A Call to Arms" was very well
written, however, and it served its purpose as a bridge between
Babylon 5 and Crusade quite well.
Boxleitner plays Sheridan very well, as usual. He looks older
and wiser, but he is still the old Sheridan, both tongue-in-cheek
and serious when he needs to be. He has some great moments;
just witness the grin on his face when he first sits down
in the Excalibur's captain's char - classic,
and don't forget his hilarious answering message. :-) Jerry
Doyle is in great form as Garibaldi, he and Sheridan have
some great Vorlon-esque dialogue on the Whitestar. Zack and
Lochley are also in "A Call to Arms", but they have such little
screen-time they might as well have been cut out altogether.
Todd plays Captain Anderson, a good character that should
have had more screen-time to flesh out his personality. But
he does have several great moments, and his delivery of the
line "Outstanding!" was certainly great. ;-)
new characters are introduced, however, that will be regulars
in the upcoming Crusade. Peter Woodward plays Galen,
a "technomage" who against the wishes of his peers contacts
Sheridan and others to warn them about the Drakh. I was very
impressed by Galen, his mysteriousness and playfulness was
great fun to watch. Carrie Dobro plays Dureena Nafeel, one
of the few surviving members of her race (if not the only
one), since her home-world was devastated by a shadow planet-killer
during the shadow war. She is a confident woman, able to take
care of herself quite well. I found her character to be very
likable, sort a mix between Delenn and Ivanova, but still
unique. Both Galen and Dureena will make great characters
for Crusade, and I'm now really looking forward to
seeing the rest of the new cast.
area in which "A Call to Arms" is a big improvement over previous
movies and episodes, is the production design. They have really
done a great job with the Excalibur sets, in comparison
the Babylon 5 sets look very cheap. The ships bridge
layout is great too, and it makes sense, while not copying
from Star Trek too much. In my opinion, the relatively cheap
looking sets was always the biggest weakness of Babylon
5, so the future looks good for Crusade.
effects are great all around, in particular the new jump-point
effect. Wow, very neat! :-) The Excalibur and
Victory look wonderful, very cool-looking ships. The
battle is great too, but like many recent battles it suffers
slightly from confusing editing. It was hard to get a good
picture of the strategies involved. The Shadow planet-killer
was not realized very well, it was very difficult to get a
grasp of its size and structure. Otherwise the effects keep
getting better and better. Just as Babylon 5 broke
new ground in special effects, Crusade should do the
biggest complaint with "A Call to Arms", however, is with
its soundtrack, which this time is not composed by Babylon
5 regular Christopher Franke. JMS opted for another composer,
Evan Chen, to give this movie and Crusade a new and
different feel from Babylon 5. He succeeded - but not
in a good way. That doesn't mean that I think the score is
completely worthless, it worked well as a suspense builder
(a good example is the first Drakh encounter), and it also
complimented the "downbelow" scenes well in generating an
exotic and alien atmosphere. But Evan Chen does not seem up
to the task during the dramatic and climactic moments, in
scenes that just BEG for a majestic score. Just watch
"Endgame", "Z'ha'dum", "And the Sky is Full of Stars" to see
how a good scores can elevate a dramatic climax to new emotional
heights. The battle for Earth was just as important as the
Battle of the Line, the sacrifices in "A Call to Arms" just
as heroic as in previous battles. So why didn't I feel
anything? Had the score complemented and enhanced the climactic
battle properly I would have rated this movie as almost perfect.
As it is, it's still a very good movie, but it's depressing
to think about how much better it could have and should
have been with better music. If JMS keeps Evan Chen as a composer,
I'm sure his music will improve, and it will probably grow
on me too. But right now I hope that JMS chooses another composer
"A Call to Arms" is definitely a very solid movie, and although
it is far from flawless, it is a must-see movie that really
wets the appetite for Crusade. So bring on the new