Babylon 5: In the Beginning (1998)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Action, Space Adventure  |   Release Date - Jan 4, 1998 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Steven E. McDonald

Produced for broadcast on TNT as a way of introducing the episodic series to new viewers, Babylon 5: In the Beginning starts in the series' future with Centauri Emperor Londo (Peter Jurasik) whiling away some free time (prior to events in War Without End from the series' fourth season) by telling the story of the Earth-Minbari War to a pair of children. While much of the material here is old news to series viewers, the movie format has given writer/creator J. Michael Straczynski room to expand on the events and to provide background for the war story. The result is an engaging film that barrels along at a nice pace, even when situations seem somewhat unlikely -- having these specific characters involved in so many key events stretches credibility at times. On the plus side, Christopher Franke has turned in a tremendous, rousing score that fits well with the plethora of fast, fiery visual effects -- the CGI-effects team outdid themselves on this production. Director Michael Vejar, alas, did not manage to raise himself above the journeyman level of television directing, so the film is sometimes rather plain to watch. Satisfying for the fans of the series, and interesting enough for newcomers, In the Beginning is worth seeing.