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Babylon 5: In the Beginning (1998)

TV Movie  -   -  Action | Adventure | Drama  -  4 January 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,957 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 6 critic

Emperor Londo Mollari tells the story of the Earth-Minbari war that almost destroyed Humanity and later inspired its last best hope for peace.

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Title: Babylon 5: In the Beginning (TV Movie 1998)

Babylon 5: In the Beginning (TV Movie 1998) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Richard Biggs ...
...
...
...
Reiner Schöne ...
Dukhat (as Reiner Schone)
Michael O'Hare ...
Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Sinclair (archive footage)
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Tricia O'Neil ...
Earth Alliance President
...
...
Presidential Aide
Jason Ross-Azikiwe ...
Captain Sterns (as Jason Azikiwe)
Yasemin Baytok ...
Centauri Woman
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Storyline

The Earth military encounters an alien race called the Minbari. Through a series of accidents and misunderstandings, a war breaks out that nearly results in the death of every human on Earth. The war and its aftermath provide the background for the TV series "Babylon 5," especially its first season. Written by Darin Adler <darin@spies.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

4 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Babylon 5: Last of the Fallen  »

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(PAL DVD)

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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the novelization, Jankowski was later offered to the Minbari to prosecute and punish as they saw fit. The Minbari rebuffed the offer. See more »

Goofs

When Sheridan, Franklin and G'Kar are captured by the Minbari, Sheridan is punched by a guard and his rank pin is crooked. In the next shot, his pin is suddenly straight. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Delenn: It is said that in every age, there is one singular event that forever changes the world around us. A nexus, if you will.
G'Kar: It is said that the future is always born in pain. The history of war is the history of pain. If we are wise what is born of that pain matures into the promise of a better world. Because we learn that we can no longer afford the mistakes of the past.
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Connections

Features Babylon 5: War Without End: Part Two (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Babylon 5 newcomers, beware: don't begin with "In the Beginning"
12 December 2013 | by (Southeastern Massachusetts) – See all my reviews

Having watched virtually no "Babylon 5" but willing to check out this series, I made the mistake of assuming I should start with this prequel TV movie, chronologically the "first" story in the series' universe.

Turns out the prequel was obviously to provide pre-existing fans with bonus backstory -- so much so that at times, the film simply gives up on making sense as a standalone product.

As a framing device, we get a badly-lit emperor narrating historical events to a bratty little noble and his sister. At no point does the film care to explain why half the buildings outside the palace are on fire.

The emperor tells the story of Earth's war with aliens called the Minbari. He focuses on the role played by Delenn, a young Minbari leader, and John Sheridan, a human military officer. The war story is the bulk of the movie, until it swerves into left field by thrusting Sheridan and Delenn into a radical context that has nothing to do with the story we've seen up till now. I don't think Delenn and Sheridan ever even met, but suddenly they're shown to be held captive together in parts unknown, not to mention lovers. And again, it's left completely unexplained. I don't think it was the filmmakers' intention to leave me laughing as the end credits rolled.

It doesn't help that the film's structure grows crude. The bulk of the film is well-paced, examining the causes of a deadly war and its first few months. At about the 75 minute mark, however, it pulls the rug out from under a plot it's been developing and suddenly compresses 3 years of events into a few minutes. This is done mostly via battle scene overdrive. These battles are the movie's best CGI, but I'm not sure anyone over 19 will be interested in all this carnage, particularly with the clichéd voice-over. There's something perverse about the narrator celebrating courage while we watch a slow-motion stabbing.

The film's actual resolution is an anticlimax. I can only guess it contains references to TV canon designed to please the established fan.

On the plus side are the costumes and makeup, into which most of the budget seems to have gone with good effect. Poor Andreas Katsulas must have spent hours in the makeup chair, so I'm glad he shines in the role of G'Kar. His reptilian getup is amazing, right down to the scarlet eyes. Theodore Bikel and the too-quickly-dismissed Reiner Schone offer solid support.

When Sheridan assumes command during a crisis, the filmmakers make great use of limited resources, using close-ups and rapidly-shifting lights to ratchet up tension. The Grey Council stands out as excellent minimalist work from filmmakers who were limited to cheap sets. The Council sequences are stylishly lit and well-directed -- way more so than that annoying Delenn/Lenonn dialogue with the candle flames passing in front of the lens.


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Did they forget? x-file-1
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