Let me start this review by saying i'm a HUGE Babylon 5 fan. It's not only my favorite sci-fi of all time (and i'm a huge trek fan too) but it's my favorite television series of all time. So you can only imagine the kind of excitement that I felt when I heard news that new Babylon 5 movies were being produced with the old cast. I was delighted, espescailly when I found out that Sheridan was going to be returning to Babylon 5 for a reunion. I did NOT expect this to top any of the series or prior films (execpt legend of the rangers) and my hopes weren't set ridiculously high. I expected a small, fun story involving Sheridan familiarizing himself with similar sights, sounds, and smells -- and at the same time some sort of threatening situationtion to develop that Sheridan would help solve. That's all I expected. Pretty much just another 'episode' in the grand scheme of things. The trailer seemed to have confirmed this for me - but I was dead wrong.
First of all, it turned out that there was no 'movie' at all, but rather two small mini episodes. This didn't turn me off, though it did get me confused. Watching them however, really left me feeling disappointed - for MANY reasons. I'll get into them point by point - but first let me state the overall vibe these episodes left me with - Two mediocre stories that hardly took advantage of the characters and rushed simple plots for the sheer sake of showing something happening. Not to mention it didn't even feel like it took place in the Babylon 5 universe due to production values. I'll explain why i'm disappointed with the most important piece of the DVD, production values aside - the writing.
1) The stories. Like I said earlier, I wasn't expecting some ground breaking story that would change the whole Babylon 5 universe. I was just hoping to see one more adventure involving the station and it's characters. It's true, The Lost Tales DOES include Babylon 5 and Sheridan and Lochley. The plots didn't have a terrible basis, and they were both in a shared context - the shared context being Sherridan returning to the station. That's the first point that bothered me. This becomes nothing more then a plot device, a plot device that's completely unnecessary - and it's hardly even developed! There were two more plot points however, and i'll start with the second.
- The second story, from Sheridans point of view was the better of the two. It entails an issue of morals : Is killing one life to save billions the right thing to do? Like I said, not a terrible basis. However, it's handled very poorly. 34 of the story is exposition - meaning the characters talking back and forth for the sake of giving information to the viewer. You hardly see Sheridan give it any thought at all - not to mention through all the exposition all you get is a brief summary, which leaves you feeling a bit empty. Even when it does come time to make the decision, it's just made and done with. That's it. The plot remains loose, underdeveloped, and cliché. Far below what Babylon 5 is capable of.
- The first story has a lot worse problems then the second. This story is from Lochleys point of view, where some sort of demon from Earth possesses a crewman. Lochley calls in a priest to help. This story has all the same problems as the first. To much exposition, not enough thought, and a very quick blunt solution that just 'poof' ends the story. HOWEVER, what's really bad about this one is that it just takes religions side and ignores science completely. One thing Babylon 5 was Extremely good at doing was exploring science vs religion. Espescailly with things like the Soul Hunters. It gave thought and credit to BOTH sides, and never answered the question - letting the viewer decide. This story has Lochley preaching about God and the Devil not even giving a second thought to science. Could it be an alien presence? An alien pretending to be a human? Some sort of weird space plague? No, none of these are considered. The guy is a demon, no questions asked. The story has a good premises - espescailly exploring the loss of religion in the future. But it's unfair to ignore science, and not just that it's BORING to ignore science. I'm not saying to ignore religion, i'm saying that Babylon 5 always has, and always should include BOTH. Not one or the other. It's a shame that the story didn't get to do so.
2) Character Devlopment I was really looking forward to seeing Sheridan again, and even though I disliked Lochley during the series, I was looking forward to seeing her again too. Sadly, I saw very very little of either characters. Although it may have been the actors there, playing the characters - the writing simply didn't allow them to be them. There were times that we did get to see the characters as themselves, peculiarly in the ISN interview with Sheridan, however the characters always came after the plot, and were never developed with the plot. We either saw a brief character scene, or a plot scene, never both at the same time. This left me feeling disappointed as well, as for most of the time I felt like I was watching actors rather then characters.
Summary: Overall, I'm disappointed. I enjoyed it a bit - but I found it very hard to 'get into' it at all. If you're a Babylon 5, I still say watch this. It is part of the Babylon 5 universe, and it does have SOME 'okay' qualities.
Review by Heliosphere from the Internet Movie Database.