Babylon 5 is back, but is it back as it was during its five year run, back as it was for Legend of the Rangers, or something in between? I’ll tell you know that it falls in between, but you’ll have to read on to find out which end it’s closer to.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Bruce Boxleitner as John Sheridan
Tracy Scoggins as Elizabeth Lochley
Peter Woodward as Galen
Keegan MacIntosh as Prince Vintari
Bruce Ramsay as Simon Burke
Alan Scarfe as Father Cassidy
Teryl Rothery as ISN Reporter Chamber

Written and directed by J. Michael Straczynski

Premise

This release is, effectively, two thematically similar episodes edited together and set at the same time (9 years after the second last episode of the series). In the first, Lochley calls in a priest to deal with what appears to be demonic posession. In the second, Galen encourages Sheridan to kill a Centauri Prince to avert a future in which said Prince devastates Earth as part of an attempt to bring the Centauri republic back to its former glory.

High Point

Of the movie itself, Sheridan’s confrontation with the reporter demonstrates so many of the elements that made Babylon 5‘s writing so effective, including planning, probing into the emotional cores of the characters and the societies they represent, small moments on huge landscapes, and effective wit. Of the entire DVD release, the “In Memorium” features about Andreas Katsulas and Richard Biggs are extremely well done, and say more about the closeness of the crew that they chose to produce featurettes instead of simply putting their names in a dedication in the credits.

Low Point

The green reflection so often visible on the actors as they played on the virtual sets. The sets themselves were very well done; if not for the green reflections, I wouldn’t have known that some of the sets were virtual until I watched the bonus features. This is part of the reason the visible green was such a problem.

The Scores

This is original in the sense of telling a story not previously told in this universe. However, it’s still another addition to the Babylon 5 universe. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were, all in all, pretty good. The green reflections were an irritant, but they were often the only sign that the sets weren’t really there. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is excellent. Of all of the post-series movies, this is easily my favourite. We’ve got two well written stories with a common theme, both of which feel like they belong in this universe. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is just as it was before. Woodward, Boxleitner and Scoggins slipped back into their roles fairly quickly. (Scoggins was a little hesitant in her second scene, but the rest of her performance was all there.) The guest stars delivered their performances well. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is great. The first story has some genuinely scary moments. The G’Kar opening and later references to G’Kar and Dr. Franklin delivered resounding emotional responses, as they were perfect tributes to the actors involved. The second story delivers what we’ve come to expect from the universe: resiliance, hope and determination in the face of impending doom. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production was fairly well done. I wonder about why some choices were made in the first conversation between Father Cassidy and Lochley, as Lochley spent a lot of time delivering her dialogue while viewed from behind, but that was soon overcome. The first meeting with Burke was interesting to watch largely because of the production. It’s the third scene in a row that is little more than conversation among unmoving characters, so the camera moves frequently to make up for that. I suspect Straczynski’s accumulation of comic writing experience, in which he had to “direct” action a panel at a time, helped him improve his visual style in ways that help his live direction, as well. I don’t remember seeing any camera work like this in any of his other directorial work. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a worthy addition to the universe of Babylon 5, and much more enjoyable than some of the other movies. Fans should be very happy with the final result. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Babylon 5: The Lost Tales – Voices In The Dark receives 34 out of 42.