Babylon 5: A Call to Arms (1999 TV Movie)
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First of all, the music is horrible. Saying that may sound harsh, but then so does the movie. Music can make or break a movie, and here it almost manages to break it. It's plain bad. "The Gathering" had a similar problem with music. It's not even just that it's not Franke making the music, it's bad in both of the titles regardless of what you compare it to.
Second, the plot doesn't seem that strong. Invasion of Earth with leftover shadow tech? Plausible, but not exactly groundbreaking. The whole thing is, overall, quite uneventful in its predictability. But that's not the worst point. I actually can't even say for certain what is, but overall the whole feel is slightly off (same goes for the whole short-lived Crusade series that followed this, actually). Also the new characters don't really have enough time to "grow" on you, and you don't have that many of the old B5 cast around, even though the performance of the few that are there is decent.
I'd personally certainly rate this the weakest of the B5 movies, even though it still is decent. But I'd rate it more along the lines of some of the weakest B5 series episodes.
Overall I'd probably give it a seven, if not for the atrocious music - considering that, it's a 6+. By comparison, In the Beginning would be 8,5, Thirdspace and River of Souls would be 8, and The Gathering 7.
I thought Dobro and Woodward were absolutely excellent as Dureen and Galen, characters I am certainly looking forward to seeing more of in JMS's crusade.
The music is...well, pretty bad on first listening. But eventually you'll get used to it and it does give the film a unique and different feeling to the rest of the B5 series. This is definetly the movie to watch if you want to watch one of the films to get into the series.
The first two movies are out of orderthey should be In the Beginning and then The Gathering. These movies are GREAT for background information. They really should be watched before watching the series.
Thirdspace is a detached from the rest of the movies and series. It comes after the end of the Shadow War (season 4, episode 6), but then there is no mention of it again. If you never saw this movie, you wouldn't miss any continuity. The only thing it clears up is why Lyta Alexander and Zack Allen never got together.
The River of Souls occurs in apx. Year 2263 and is less detached because B5 has encountered Soul Hunters before. This just gives more insight to them. It is like an extra episode in Season 5.
A Call to Arms (Year 2267) is a prequel to the Crusade series. If you aren't planning to watch the Crusade series, there is no reason to watch this movie.
Season 5 should go like this:
1. Season 5 Episode 21 "Objects at Rest" (Year 2262) 2. The River of Souls movie (Year 2263) 3. A Call to Arms and the Crusade Series (Year 2267)optional. I suggest these be watched separately from B5 series as they really don't enhance or expand on the B5 series. 4. The Lost TalesVoices in the Dark movie (Year 2271) 5. Season 5 Episode 22 "Sleeping in Light." (Year 2280)
6. The Legend of The Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight (after the Year 2280)optional. Does not add nor detract from the series.
It's a measure of how Bruce Boxleitner's stature as Sheridan has grown over four seasons of B5 that he effortlessly and charismatically takes centre-stage here. Jerry Doyle's Garibaldi is equally assured but doesn't in the end have that much to do. Of the newcomers, Carrie Dobro is probably the only one who can match up to the old timers, though Tony Todd is his usual professional self. Opinion is divided about Galen. Specifically it's divided between me and other sensible people who think Peter Woodward should have been drowned at birth, and people who aren't as sensible as me. To be fair, he's not as dreadful here as in the early episodes of Crusade. Be thankful for small mercies.
All B5 fans must watch it!
Overall, this movie is quite watchable and exciting, but many of the familiar characters (Delenn, Londo, Vir, others) are absent. Plus I don't know if I am being too picky, but during the big battle with the Drakh, things seemed to really drag and take forever--this part could have been tightened up a bit and would have resulted in a higher score.
The reason why i felt disapointed with this movie is because i think that you have to be *really* into Babylon 5 if u r to enjoy this movie! I admit, it had some class bits and the "White star Destroyers" were brilliant! But like alot of you have mentioned, the music drove me to destraction and also i felt that it "took to long" getting to the point!
Sheridan was at his finest in this movie but i REALLY missed Delenn! I loved that girl! Galen and Durenna were also great actors, altho i still miss whats her name (I KNOW I'VE SPELT THEIR NAMES WRONG!!) Ivonnva, that girl had class! Not to mention a very sharp tongue! The story line, settings and design of this movie was first rate, but towards the end i was just thinking "Blow up the stupid planet and lemme go!" How poor was that?
I'm not taking the mick outta this movie, i loved it! And it is alot more better than "River of Souls" but it doesn't appeal to me in a way such as "Thirdspace" did or even "In the beginning" did, i dunno, may be sometime in the near future i'll love it just as much but for now, i'll watch it bit by bit by bit...
I loved it...
You know, I'm a big fan of Babylon 5, especially the huge fan of John Sheridan...
I just love his charismatic figure when he appeared on the screen.
When I just see the charisma of President Sheridan, I think I want the time to be stopped forever...
On the Scifi channel, they showed the whole series of B5 movies, and the episode 'A Call to Arms' was on it.
The side characters were making the movie greater than it already was!
Garibaldi, Galen, Lochley, and the others...
I believe they were good too...
"The best episode out of all episodes..."
That's what I'd like to call this particular episode!
It'll draw your attention right from the moment once you put your eyes onto the screen...
And you know what?
It won't let you go until you finish watching the movie...
I highly recommend this movie to the ones who didn't see this yet, and I agree with the ones who commented about this movie that this movie WAS, and still IS the great movie I've ever seen in my whole life!!
The much-criticised music was, in my opinion, excellent. It was perfectly in sync with the more cutting-edge, 'funkier' tone set by the visuals and script, both of which were noticeably different to B5's.
Evan Chen certainly brings a new sound to the B5 universe, and gives ACtA and Crusade a whole new musical flavour. At times it was too intrusive, but that was partly down to JMS' tendency to always have the music too loud on the soundtrack. The casio-keyboard instrument was a bit irritating for a few seconds of the entire film...
Generally, however, the music moved the film along wonderfully, giving it a very kinetic feel. This music has far more potential already than another classical score. As good as the Williams-Horner-Arnold scores are, do we really want *another* imitation?
The B5/Crusade crew have tried something new. And it worked; not everywhere, but it worked. And it'll get better. And better.
Thus we have "A Call to Arms", an excuse to get a few of the regular B5 Characters to set up what was going to become "Crusade". Which might have been a great series in its own right, had TNT not blown it. (Like putting Season 5 episodes of B-5 up against new episodes of Star Trek Voyager).
Overall plot line. Galen manipulates Sheridan into realizing the Drahk threat against Earth. He teams up with an Earthforce captain and a thief from a dead race. They take two prototype ships to confront the Drahk and the leftover Shadow Planet Killer.
Bruce Boxleitner and Jerry Doyle do some good work here. But all they are doing is setting the table for a meal we never got to fully enjoy. TNT took away the meal somewhere around the soup or salad portion.
God Save us From Basic Cable.