Saturday Movie Review – “Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers”

When I got to my hotel room last night, I realized that I’d forgotten to pack a network cable along with the laptop. Thus, today’s articles are getting posted from my work computer. Today is expected to be a busy day, so the “Smallville” review may not appear until very late in the day. (If the review looks funny, that’s because my templates aren’t on the work computer.) In the meantime, here’s the Saturday review, which will finish off all existing live action Babylon 5 for review. Come back in July or August for more, assuming JMS’ call to jury duty doesn’t slow things down too much. (At least we can rest assured of a fair trial, though. Man, would I love to be in that jury deliberation room…)

Cast and Crew

Dylan Neal as David Martell
Andreas Katsulas as G’Kar
Alex Zahara as Dulann
Myriam Sirois as Sarah Cantrell
Dean Marshall as Malcolm Bridges

Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Mike Vejar

Buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.

High Point

“BOOM!”

Low Point

The remarkable similarities between this captain and James T. Kirk.

The Scores

This is probably the least original production that has the B5 name. At this stage, it felt like a shot at Babylon 5 again, complete with an ancient evil that has just woken up. (Referring to the Shadows as “insects” to make these guys seem scarier does more to downplay the original series than to beef up this one, from my perspective.) Include cast members that don’t seem very far removed from those of other franchises, and you’ve got a problem. I give it 2 out of 6.

The effects look like those in the other movies. They clearly have a lower budget than they should have had, and it shows in the effects more than anywhere else. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story has all the structure elements it needs, and it’s definitely intended as a pilot rather than a complete package. As a result, we’ve got sci-fi adventure, but there’s little or no sign of the deeper messages and meanings we’ve come to expect from JMS. Apart from the lack of originality, there’s nothing really wrong with the pilot (except perhaps the world’s least efficient weapon targeting system, and a stealth and espionage expert who gets very flustered when he gets caught), though it doesn’t reach the depths of JMS’ more complete works. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting from Andreas Katsulas was always great. The rest of the cast definitely needed to grow into their roles. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response was limited. It’s entertaining enough, but it doesn’t live up to the expectations I’ve developed from something with the Babylon 5 stamp. I give it 3 out of 6.

The production is second only to the visual effects for revealing the lack of budget. It’s a good attempt, but not quite good enough. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s hampered by my expectations of the series. I suspect that my second viewing, while perhaps not any more enjoyable, will be less dissapointing. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers receives 24 out of 42.

9 replies on “Saturday Movie Review – “Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers””

  1. AveryRegier says:

    Relationship to Crusade
    So this is essentially the first episode of Crusade? And what is the relationship to the other B5 movie that has President Sheridan in it? I was given Crusdade for Christmas, and am just getting ready to start watching it. What is the canonical order of these shows?

    • Jethro says:

      Re: Relationship to Crusade

      So this is essentially the first episode of Crusade?

      Nah, wasn’t that Call to Arms? I think Legend of the Rangers was the movie/pilot/whatever for a show about the rangers. Which ended up never happening.

    • Damien says:

      Re: Relationship to Crusade

      So this is essentially the first episode of Crusade?

      This has nothing to do with Crusade. LotR (urk, bad initials) was yet another attempt to milk the B5 universe and boy did it suck. I honestly though it was worse than the episode TKO (which was utter drivel). Andreas was the only good actor there and he seemed a pale rehash of his former self, "bad guys are coming, wooooh!" The worst part IMHO was the self-congrations JMS posted online in an attempt to drump up fan support, I felt sorry for him. As for the weapon controls system, that was laughable, especially firing off The Big Weapon it looked like she was aiming to take a dump on them or something – truly horrid.

      Lets hope the new movies are better.

      Damien

      • y42 says:

        Re: Relationship to Crusade

        LotR (urk, bad initials)

        What, it just reminds us of where they stole the Rangers idea :)

    • Erf says:

      Re: Relationship to Crusade

      So this is essentially the first episode of Crusade? And what is the relationship to the other B5 movie that has President Sheridan in it? I was given Crusdade for Christmas, and am just getting ready to start watching it. What is the canonical order of these shows?

      As others have said, the pilot movie for Crusade was "A Call to Arms". You don’t need to see it to enjoy the series, though, IIRC. I think the main thing you get out of the movie was the experimental and extremely high-tech nature of the ship they’re in. (IIRC it was built with the help of the Minbari using recovered Vorlon tech, but it was a human-led effort. There are limitations with their power system that inhibit the use of the Big Gun.)

      As for the rest of the series, the canonical order is listed at the The Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5 (which I highly recommend for anyone watching any B5 stuff anyway, for all the analysis and the JMS commentary collected from newsgroups etc). Note that the "canonical" episode order is not the broadcast order and is probably not the order on the DVDs (I don’t remember); all the TNT interference messed up the sequence. There’s also some funny business with the uniforms and sets as a direct result of TNT execs micromanaging the show. (JMS pokes at this a bit in the show.)

      I loved this show, and wish it had been allowed to continue.

      • Damien says:

        Re: Relationship to Crusade

        There’s also some funny business with the uniforms and sets as a direct result of TNT execs micromanaging the show. (JMS pokes at this a bit in the show.)

        (clang) (clang) (clang)
        "What’s it doing to my ship?"

        Damien

  2. obiwan says:

    Acting was awful
    Apart from Andreas, the acting was _awful_, especially from the female 2nd in command. Maybe they needed to grow, but heck, this is the worst pilot of all the B5 series.

  3. Tekzel says:

    Juuuuust horrid
    I loved B5 when it was on. I tried to watch this thing quite a while back (can’t remember when, perhaps I blocked it out as a traumatic memory?) but couldn’t finish it. Just terrible from start to finish, in fact I couldn’t find one redeemable quality in it.

    • Damien says:

      Re: Juuuuust horrid

      in fact I couldn’t find one redeemable quality in it.

      Andreas Katsulas and G’Kar. However, the lines he’s given are pretty terrible.

      Damien

Comments are closed.