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The 100




Battlestar Galactica
(1978)
Reviewed by Roger M. Wilcox
Rating: 4.5 Beans

eff DeLuzio's review of this failed-series-pilot-turned-movie does a more thorough job of skewering its many problems than I ever could. But Jeff had one big flaw holding him back: He's Canadian. He didn't get to see the American theatrical release of this film.

You see, after the series totally failed to draw the millions of rabid viewers it was supposed to, Glen Larson and company decided to try and recoup their losses by cutting the series pilot down to 125 minutes and releasing it to theaters. But even Glen "Knight Rider" Larson knew that the theater-going public wouldn't pay money to see something they'd seen for free on TV a year earlier. Not unless there was *something* they could add to the theatrical experience that you couldn't get on TV. So, Universal Studios added their new, exclusive, patented process ... a process used in such cinematic masterpieces as _Earthquake_ and _Rollercoaster_ ... a process that marked every second-rate film to come out of Universal in the late 1970s. Yes, friends and neighbors, _Battlestar Galactica_ appeared in American theaters, in -- hold onto your hats here -- SENSURROUND!

Sensurround was one of those movie gimmicks that caught on about as well as 3-D glasses or scratch-n-sniff. The studio supplied the theaters with enormous subwoofer speakers, which the theaters stacked next to the screen and plugged into their sound system. A secret handshake hidden in the movie's soundtrack told these giant subwoofers when to turn on and when to turn off. When on, the subwoofers would emit these really loud rumbling noises that drowned out all other sound in the film and were powerful enough to cause your seat to vibrate. It had all the romance and drama of standing too close to a Saturn V rocket launch. The movie _Earthquake!_ was the first to use this ground-breaking (pun intended) technique. And we ALL know what an artistic masterpiece and box-office smash _Earthquake!_ was.

And so, armed with this new (ahem) technology, we moviegoers could now feel the theater shake every time a Battlestar flew past on the screen. Even though sound isn't supposed to propagate through space. We could feel our bowels vibrate loose whenever a Cylon Raider got shot down. We could feel the exprensive bridgework pop loose from our teeth when the Cylons attacked the colonies. And we could sue Universal Studios for hearing loss when the Cylon Base Star and the Ovion's planet Carolon blew up at the end.

The Sensurround feature -- which, sadly, isn't available in the home video version -- provided the final 1970s touch to this film. It already had 70s hairstyles, 1970s disco music, 1970s pick-up bars, and 1970s social mores ... all perpetrated by "lost tribes of humans" who had supposedly been out of touch with us for thousands of years. Parallel evolution in action, folks.

Oh, and one more thing: At least _Star Wars_, which Galactica ripped off, didn't have to resort to using "Centons" and "Felger Carb".53483_diane


Other reviews for this movie:

Jeff DeLuzio




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