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Babylon 5 - The Movie Collection
List Price: $59.98

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Product Description

Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 08/17/2004 Run time: 469 minutes Rating: Nr

The Babylon 5 pilot movie The Gathering was originally broadcast in 1993 a full year ahead of the regular show. A somewhat dull tale of an attempt to assassinate Koch, the Vorlon ambassador to B5, the feature served to introduce Commander Jeffery Sinclair (Michael O'Hare) and Security Chief Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle) as well as familiarize the audience with the unique environment of a five-mile-long space station in the year 2257. Missing many of the main cast, and suffering from a leaden pace and mediocre music score, series creator J Michael Straczynski later improved The Gathering by tightening the cut for a special edition (the version released on DVD), adding some deleted character moments and commissioning a new score from series composer Christopher Franke.

Four new TV movies were part of the deal to syndicate Babylon 5. In the Beginning is a prelude set 10 years before Babylon 5, telling the story of the Earth-Minbari war. Told retrospectively, many of the mysteries revealed gradually in the main series are recounted, making the show a collection of spoilers for newcomers while adding little for established fans. It is effective to see events only previously talked about, and enjoyable to have most of the main cast playing younger versions of themselves. River of Souls is a self-contained adventure featuring a return of the Soul Hunters from Season One, while Thirdspace offers a spectacular Lovecraftian space opera which slots into the saga after the end of the Shadow War. A Call to Arms is the most important of the TV films, laying the ground for the future TV series Crusade. Set five years after the Shadow War, it tells the story of a Drahk revenge attack on Earth. A final showcase for Bruce Boxleitner as Sheridan, the story fits between fifth-season episodes "Objects at Rest" and "Sleeping in Light." The cliffhanger ending sets the scene for new starship Excalibur to boldly go on a five-year mission to explore strange new worlds and find a cure for the Shadow virus infecting the Earth. --Gary S. Dalkin

  • First time on DVD! Initiate jump sequence for feature-length tales about key events in the B5 chronology.

Customer Reviews:

    B5 is second only to Stargate SG1 as the finest science fiction series ever to be produced. The characters are believable, appealing, and compelling. The story line was a stroke of genius with many twists and turns. The four movies in this collection fill in the blanks left in the series. They are well worth the price to the true B5 fan....more info
  • Babylon 5 Movie Collection
    This puts all the extras in one location for one very attractive price. A good investment for lovers of Babylon 5....more info
  • Great Buy
    I bought this as a gift for my husband. He hasn't gotten out of his chair since I gave it to him! 5 Stars!...more info
  • Babylon 5 Movie Pack
    Delivered in a timely fashion. A welcome addition for a Babylon 5 fan....more info
  • Wildly inconsistent in quality and importance
    Getting into the BABYLON 5 universe can be confusing for newcomers. To see everything you really need the DVDs in this box as well as all five seasons of BABYLON 5 the series and the single-season series CRUSADE. I'm going to give a simplified chronology. You can make it even more precise by putting one movie in between two episodes of a single season, but I don't think you gain too much by doing that.

    First watch BABYLON 5: THE GATHERING from this boxed set. To be blunt, it is not very good at all. It is basically a pilot and not an especially compelling one. We meet some -- but by no means all -- of the important characters of forthcoming seasons, and get a taste of the B5 universe, but this is just a dull, chatty, uninteresting debut. And the make up for G'Kar looked like it was in planning stages! Very, very different from how he looked on the subsequent series.

    Next, watch Seasons One through Four of BABYLON 5 the series. The first season is slightly more interesting than the pilot, but not by much. Season Two gets slightly more interesting, especially near the end of the season when the Shadows plot really kicks into gear. From this point to the end of Season Four B5 is incredibly compelling. Just be patient watching the first two seasons. You'll start getting hints in Season Two of how good it will eventually get, but there will still be plenty of dullish episodes instead. The series is not terribly balanced because the network changed its plans a couple of times, first telling Straczynski that the series was going to wrap up at the end of Season Four and then, after he had collapsed two season's worth of stories into one, telling him that the show would be renewed for one more season. So much for planning.

    Next, before watching Season Five, watch another movie in this set, IN THE BEGINNING. This is far and away the best of the B5 movies and is fully as good and as entertaining as Seasons Three and Four. It goes back before the beginning of the series, giving the details of the Minbari was. But the narrative assumes you've seen the first four seasons.

    Next, watch Season Five of BABYLON 5. Because he really had a different story arc planned for Season Five one had to be created pretty quickly. The whole telepath arc simply never caught fire and it does not represent the best of B5. The last third of the season focuses on the decline and fall of Centauri Prime and this is B5 at its best. There are a string of very, very good episodes as well as a very beautiful series finale. Mention must also be made of a lovely episode in the first half of the season written by the great Neil Gaiman.

    Season Five was actually broadcast in split seasons and a couple of the movies -- THIRDSPACE and RIVER OF SOULS -- were broadcast before the series actually finished. Your call. Neither is all that great and neither really requires to be seen at a certain point.

    The next movie, however, BABYLON 5: A CALL TO ARMS, should be viewed after the end of the series and the previously mentioned movies, and before the series CRUSADE. This episode features Bruce Boxleitner very prominently as Sheridan and is probably his last great hurrah in the series. The movie introduces the new and highly advanced space ship Excalibur and deals with a Drakh attack on earth, infecting it with a slow-acting virus that will kill all life on earth if a cure is not found (but since B5 the TV series gave us multiple glimpses into the future, we know that doesn't happen). This required the need for a search for a cure for the virus, a search that was continued on the quickly cancelled CRUSADE. The show never really got off the ground, but it had some interesting characters (especially Galen, played by Peter Woodward, who also appeared in the films A CALL TO ARMS and LOST TALES). I do recommend that fans of B5 see CRUSADE.

    The next movie was THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS: TO LIVE AND DIE IN STARLIGHT. Horrible. This is the worst of all the B5 movies, the worst thing ever done in the entire run of the show. I honestly don't even recommend this for fans of the show. The most I can say in support of it is that it is one's last chance to see Andreas Katsulas as G'Kar. He died a couple of years later of lung cancer.

    Last, and not quite least, there is 2007's THE LOST TALES. It is definitely not as bad as THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS, but not as good as IN THE BEGINNING. My reaction was that it was nice to see some familiar characters again (mainly just Tracy Scoggins's Captain Lochley, Bruce Boxleitner's Sheridan, and Peter Woodward's Galen). But definitely not B5 at its best. Most fans describe it as "chatty." There are entire scenes devoted to nothing but talk, and not terribly good talk at that.

    A lot to see. For me the heart consists of the end of Season Two, all of Seasons Three and Four, the movie IN THE BEGINNING, and the last third of Season Five. My advice to anyone newly approaching B5 is to stick it out through it all. Much of it is dull, some of it even downright bad, but the best is very good indeed. If you are patient, you will find your patience rewarded....more info
  • babylon 5 movie collection
    if u r a babylon 5 fan ..then you,ll want this 4 your collection...more info
  • Babylon 5 Movies
    Well it is what it is, and it beats the heck out of some knock-off ChiCom stuff. Anyway my only complaint is that "The Legend of The Rangers" is not included in this box set.

    And so it begins......more info
  • Some Essential Babylon 5 Viewing, But Oh, So Flawed in Places
    The movies are worth buying -- mostly. The Gathering and In the Beginning are particularly worth it. As with everything else to do with Babylon 5, it's the bigger picture that matters, and there is surely a great hunk of the essential bigger picture here.

    (listed in order of production)

    THE GATHERING (the series pilot)- 3 Stars. Pretty darn clunky and quirky, The Gathering still has a lovely evocation of the station's alien environment - the best of the whole series, perhaps. Much of the acting is frustrating, but I have rewatched this movie the most of the bunch and it doesn't fail to continually please in atmosphere and implication of a great world-depth over time (mostly due to the art direction and the opening travelogue of the station.) Thank goodness the right half of this cast was replaced, though. And thanks, too, to J.M.S. for justifying those characters' existences anyway later on in the series with references and returns (particularly Lyta's.)

    THIRDSPACE - 3 Stars. Trippy, almost great, but finally a big mess. Beautiful images of surreal universe-bending. Some awful, awful station mayhem scenes. Lovely, artful, ambitious CGI. Generally, a lot of nonsense plotwise. This feels like a TV movie made to have something to try out the CG artists' skills with... and to maybe suggest a B5 horror movie with sci-fi CG without actually being one. Contemporaneous Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within and Independence Day (the inside the mothership scenes) contain better CG images though, and of the same kind of eerie sci-fi/horror subjects... the suggestion of alien environment so threatening it seethes...

    In the Beginning - 4 or 5 stars, depending on my warmongering mood - The epic Minbari War series prelude - essential to any Babylon 5 fan's appreciation of the show. Chapters of it are better than other chapters of it... for several reasons. The whole is pretty incredible. Lovely expressionist direction on the whole... Love that Vejar light-play. But parts that add up to the sum are fairly crappy in places, especially due to some peculiarities of the typically speechy J.M.S., so: Great Whole, Less Great Sum. The last chapters, especially, though fairly full of war-glory, are just awesome. Enjoy the tightly knitted plots and pieces of multiple series episodes into this one movie. Extremely clever and often quite moving stuff, this. (Despite its prelude status, don't watch this one until after season four of the series unless you want to be spoiled.)

    The River of Souls - 1 star - a curiosity for drunk fans. Laugh, cry, have a pizza. This movie is CG-pretty, but, frankly, very dull and kind of pointless once Ian McShane's character gets possessed. A great big waste of potential with a pre-West-Wing Martin Sheen slumming it in a truly bizarre performance. Unless, that is, you are a huge fan of Captain Lochley, who has her brightest limelight in this film.

    A Call to Arms - 2 or 3 stars (depending on how grumpy I am that Crusade didn't stay on) - The pilot to Crusade. This movie's got some really strange pacing, incredibly predictable plotting, dead time galore where suspense should reign, and a rather cheesy sensibility, as though it was made for less than your average episode... and it never gets a real momentum going, despite the high level of stakes in the actual events of the thing. Shame. However, the intro to Crusade is very valuable and the patience that it does have for such an introduction is firmly in step with the strange, ponderous, verging-on-majestic pace of that series. Don't watch this movie in a vacuum; as a Babylon 5 component, it's oddly very off key and off-putting. Notice the beginning of the weird, atonal and quirky Crusade incidental music style...

    AND I still haven't seen The Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight and it's not in my DVD collection, dammit.

    To speak of these DVDs, I'd say that this is a fine collection. There are commentaries to treasure (In the Beginning and The Gathering) and commentaries to avoid (The River of Souls and A Call to Arms ... unless of, course, as I said before, you're drunk and with friends... distracted.) The documentaries are fine and interesting, though.

    And finally, really, I must heartily recommend this stuff, flawed as it is, flawed as the strange, occasionally brilliant series it comes from was. And... I also recommend Crusade, once you've suffered through A Call to Arms. Enjoy. Drink a little bit. Be Merry....more info
  • Amzing
    I like bablylon 5 eventhough the cgi is crappy comapared to today's standards, but you have to keep in mind that cgi technology was not aas advanced as it is today bakc when these movies where filmed (late 1990's). The story behind the movies are amzaing. I specially liked "A Call To Arma" because it explains how Crusade (sequel to the babylon 5 series, albeit short-lived). Overall: BABYLON 5 (and Crusade) RULES!!! :)...more info
  • Content varies widely
    The problem here is that there are five movies, equivalent to ten episodes of the TV series in length, that vary in quality. The cost is a bit high to call this a good value.

    Thirdspace is pretty good. In The Beginning is great. I've watched it many times. The rest are just average. Last night I saw Call To Arms, as a prelude to watching the Crusade series I just bought. It sets up the premise of Crusade, but I thought overall it was missing something.

    I'd recommend seeing these shows before buying the set. I can however recommend In The Beginning without hesitation. (It comes with The Gathering on the same DVD.) Babylon 5: The Gathering/In the Beginning...more info
  • History line
    Althoug is a very good producction I would have chosen other parts from the Babylon 5 to build this 5 part movie collection, because the history line looses a bit especially in movies 3 and 4 that do not connect as well as 1, 2 and 5 do.
    I missed the shadow war!!!!!!!!!!!...more info
  • Excellant
    This product was shipped promptly and perfectly new condition. I think the shipping may have caused couple of DVD's to shift but luckily none were scratched. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys science fiction....more info
  • Babylon 5 - the Movie Collection - Excellent!
    If you are a B-5 fan, then these movies are a need-to-view. Each one enhances the B-5 mythos in its own way. Don't hesitate to add to your B-5 collection. Worth watching again and again. ...more info
  • What I Cannot Say
    I cannot, unlike some of the reviewers before me, say that this is a must have for your sci-fi collection. Bizarrely, I can't even say that this is a must have for your Babylon 5 collection, and that's where this collection of movies disappoints me.

    It's a strange thing. I loved watching Babylon 5, and one of B5's strengths was the fact that its plots were interwoven and built up over time; every episode was a part of the larger whole. (Most of) the films in this collection, however, are stand-alone plots. They feel like big episodes, and not even the best stand-alone episodes that B5 has delivered (or even close). For instance, the River of Souls film deals with the Soul Collectors, but the first season episode about them was actually better.

    One of the problems is that, in several of these films, a lot of the cast are missing (including, in River of Souls [which is really pretty bad], Sheridan). Although fans of Capt. Lochley (there must be some, right?) will be happy because, if you take away Sheridan, Delenn, G'Kar, Londo, Lennier, Vir, etc., you have to spend more time getting to know her. What choice is there? The cast in River of Souls is so sparse that we finally get to develop that one unnamed Lieutenant whose been there since the beginning.

    Otherwise, Thirdspace and A Call to Arms are both fairly forgettable (though the latter might be better if one has seen Crusade, which I haven't). The prequel film is interesting, but very little of consequence happens. The only movie that is really essential to Babylon 5 viewing is the pilot, but even there, so many cast members get immediately replaced that a person could start at Season 1 with very little sense of having missed out.

    If possible, see the pilot before watching Season 1. Otherwise... ehh... some of it's okay, but most of it is beneath the otherwise stellar quality of this series. ...more info
  • Movie collection is great
    Bias alert: I have been a Babylon 5 fan from the start. Thought the origional movie was good when it was released in syndication back in'93(?). Have enjoyed every episode ever since. These movies are no exception. ...more info
  • Backstories and bost series
    Some of these movies are better than others. Sone are great som are so so.I was disappointed that the last Babylon 5 movie(legend of the rangers) isn't included....more info
  • Better Then I Remembered
    I really got into Babylon 5 when it moved to TNT. Yes, I was slightly behind. Therefore, I saw many of these movies early in the process of getting to know the show and never sat down to watch them again until recently. I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

    This is a five disc set containing all five movies shown on TNT. The only Bab 5 movie missing is "Legend of the Rangers." I'm guessing that legal issues are holding it up since it's still not available. With the exception of "The Gathering," each movie gets the wide screen treatment. I think the picture is better then it was for the series releases. The sound is mixed in 5.1 surround and sounds wonderful. Each movie also gets a four-minute intro and a commentary. Four of the movies include J. Michael Straczynski and various crew while "Thirdspace" is just the director and four of the actors. There's also a brief documentary on the last disc about how real life science effected the creation science of the show.

    So, what about the movies themselves?

    "The Gathering" is the original pilot presented here with the new edit and music created for the TNT run. This is the only version I've ever seen, so I don't know how it compares to the original. The story opens as Ambassador Kosh of the Vorlons, the final of the five major races, arrives on the station. He's hardly on board before someone tries to kill him. Was it Commander Sinclair? This movie falls into the trap so many pilots do. How do you explain things in an entertaining way? I find it's lengthy exposition mostly boring, but any newcomer should start with it.

    "In the Beginning" is on disc two. This movie takes the history of the Earth-Minbari War we know from the series and fills in the gaps. Creating a prequel can be tricky, but this one manages to have enough new information to keep your attention.

    "Thirdspace" follows. When an ancient artifact is brought back to the station, pandemonium ensues. Is this a giant leap forward in technology or the end of the universe? A weird movie set in the middle of season 4.

    Up next is "River of Souls." When an archeologist employed by Edgars Industries brings his latest find to Babylon 5, he draws the attention of the Soul Hunters to the station. Martin Sheen guest stars as the soul hunter we see the most. I wasn't a fan of the Soul Hunters the first time they showed up, but this movie raises some interesting questions about the after life.

    Finally comes "A Call to Arms." Designed as a bridge between Babylon 5 and Crusade, this movie finds President Sheridan drawn into a race to stop the Drakh from using the last Shadow planet killer on Earth. Will the new ships help? This is a perfect passing of the torch with the premise, two of the new characters, and the new ships being introduced here. It's too bad the series never made it past 13 episodes.

    These movies allowed JMS to explore his universe and fill in some of the gaps. They also gave him an opportunity to go more into a sci-fi mode and escape the political drama that was the heart of the series. As such, I find I enjoy these movies less then the series since I'm really not a big sci-fi for sci-fi sake fan. On the other hand, each movie has some character moments designed to please fans of the show. As with the series, not all the characters are in each movie. It would have been nice to see some of them more, but many times that would have slowed the movies down.

    With the exception of "The Gathering," this isn't the place to start watching the series. This is designed to please long time fans, and they will truly enjoy it....more info
  • Sorry to See the Series End!
    What can I say more than all the other reviews of this and the previous years' series? It's been a fantastic adventure, and I'll miss it. Babylon 5 is a great end to the series, though I think Babylon 4 was the best of all. Babylon 5 is a "must have" to complete the paths that each character has followed til now, including the reappearance of Ivanova. Quite an emotional goodbye....more info
  • Epic
    What can I say its Babylon 5...from begining to end! Sums up the series in one set!...more info
  • BABYLON-5-AHOLIC !!!!!
    What can I say, if you really like B5 this collection is a must have!!!! All the movies are very enjoyable and the case the dvds come in is made out of plastic(NOT PAPER) and is one of the NICEST cases EVER!!!!The whole collection will be a great addition to anyones collection....more info
  • The Region Coding Listed Is Incorrect
    This box is actually region-free, even though marked on the packaging as region 1.

    Reported to Amazon twice, no correction....more info
  • Some good, some lousy
    Loved In the Beginning and Third Space. The other three were duds. We own the complete 5 seasons and dearly love B5. Two stars because only two movies are worth watching. And Martin Sheen is TERRIBLE. Gawd, who cast him in this? He walks around like his contacts don't fit and can't decide what kind of accent he should have. Painful to watch. ...more info