Even without their talk, I am now a fan of the new show. But here's what I thought of the film.
I loved it. It was really very good. I guess I'm a true sci-fi (or 'syfy' - do I really have to type that?) geek, because I'd totally watch this as a series. It has a strong and rich story, and kept my interest.
It starts with a small group of teenagers plotting something, which to me was the weakest part and a bit confusing. The actor playing "Ben" should have given us more of a glimpse into his intense beliefs. The actress playing "Zoe" seemed a little posy, but she was playing a teenager (and I'm sure I won't be the only one who thought "Zoe" was a cylon at first, perils of being a BSG geek). If they're hoping these will be the new Bamber/Helfer/Park, they may want to rethink it. Surprisingly, it was the adults that captured the audiences attention.
Eric Stoltz gives a stellar performance as Daniel Greystone, a man so haunted by his family tragedy that he jumps at the first chance of getting out of his grief and doesn't let go. He does a chilling and enthralling job of conveying his character's sly knowledge of the inner world of computers and people, especially in a scene in which he spins a web for the young teenage friend of his daughters, traps her, then dismisses and releases her. No sign at all of the 'serial killer' he played on Gray's Anatomy, really impressive acting.
Equally as strong though not in it nearly as much is Paula Malcomson as his wife Amanda Greystone. She is just as smart and well written and beautifully played as Stoltz's part, and I completely believed that they are a couple, and a couple that have been together forever and have a strong relationship, something rarely seen these days. I look forward to seeing what happens with this family, and hope they give her as much to do as Roslin in BSG- she is strong and smart and when she lashes out at her kid, you cringe, it's really great. Not to mention her eyes, which could hold magical powers, that's how intense they are. The scene where she takes on the government agent- very short scene, but beautifully played- really gives you an idea of her power.
The other part of the show that did not work 100% for me were the scenes with Esai Morales, and the mafia type clan of his. He does a good job overall, but I did not believe in this mobs power, nor intimidated by their threats. I found myself wishing that this whole story line was a bit more mysterious and hard to figure out; the way it is presented is almost an homage to the Godfather, they kind of hit you over the head with it a bit. But given time, I can see how this will develop into an interesting 'Upstairs/downstairs' kind of thing, with the poor minorities (Morales et al) versus the rich folk who rule the planet (Stolz et al). And to be honest, I did enjoy it when he spoke to his son about the origin of their name- that was a very well played scene.
Note to BSG fans, the boy playing 'Willy Adama' doesn't really look much like Olmos, but he's just a kid. Whether or not he'll be featured any more than he was in this film, who knows? I sure couldn't tell. But it didn't bother me, because he wasn't as interesting as everything else going on around him.
Polly Walker plays 'Sister Clarice', and she's chilling and odd in every scene she's in. I'm not sure where she'll go or who she'll end up with, but I was very impressed with her acting. In this film she was sort of on the side, but obviously being set up to play a very important part later on. She was nothing like her character in "Rome", something I always find impressive in actors.
One nice surprise- the music is actually better and less obvious than BSG, even though it's the same guy doing it, Bear McCreary. It has a haunting and unusual approach that took me by surprise, I'd buy this score if I had the chance.
As to the 'panel discussion' after the show, it was hosted by Seth Green. Ron Moore was very smart and articulate, David Eick was cracking wise (much like his video diaries), Esai Morales told a long story about how he was cast, and Eric Stoltz was very funny and didn't really answer the questions ( but I've always had a thing for him). Paula Malcomson was tough (she took Seth Green to task for mistakenly saying she was on '24'), and the girls who played Zooey and Lacey were both darling. Grace Park and Tricia Helfer were there as well, answering questions about how they did the scenes acting with themselves on BSG. Overall a very interesting and wonderful evening.
I'm giving the show a 9 out of 10, and very much looking forward to watching it all unfold.
NOTE: I just watched this a second time and really hope they explore what the HOLOBAND was originally made for. I have no idea what that may be, but it holds a great deal of fascination to me.