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Babylon 5: The Movie Collection

4.5 out of 5 stars 399 customer reviews

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(Aug 17, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A collection of Babylon 5 films.
Item Type: DVD Movie
Item Rating: NR
Street Date: 08/17/04
Wide Screen: yes
Director Cut: no
Special Edition: no
Language: ENGLISH
Foreign Film: noSubtitles: no
Dubbed: no
Full Frame: yes
Re-Release: no
Packaging: Sleeve

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

Special Features

  • New introduction by creator J. Michael Straczynski to each of the five movies: In The Beginning, The Gathering, Thirdspace, River of Souls, A Call to Arms
  • Audio commentaries by series creator, J. Michael Straczynski, along with key cast and crew members for each movie
  • "Creating the Future" - a featurette about how Babylon 5 and Science Fiction influenced each other

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael O'Hare, Tamlyn Tomita, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Blaire Baron
  • Directors: Janet Greek, Jesús Salvador Treviño, Michael Vejar, Richard Compton
  • Writers: J. Michael Straczynski
  • Producers: Douglas Netter, J. Michael Straczynski, John Copeland
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 471 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (399 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002B15UQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,200 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Babylon 5: The Movie Collection" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This set will be awesome

For those of you new to all things Babylon 5, here is my run down of this set:

1. THE GATHERING - As the series pilot it is a decent effort. It's best to see this one before watching Season One but it's fine if you catch it anytime. In fact this one is worth viewing again after watching seasons 1-3 to catch A LOT of foreshadowing. You can't realize the of traps JMS has set just in this pilot. I give this one 3.5/5.

2. IN THE BEGINNING - Holy crap! 5/5. By far the best effort of JMS and his crew, second only to Severed Dreams (episode in Season 3). Anyone can thoroughly enjoy this this one without ever seeing one episode of Babylon 5 (like my wife) there are some big spoilers. So do yourself a HUGE favor. Do not watch this movie until after you have completed Seasons 1 through 3. Also, this one features Chris Franke's best score. This one alone is nearly worth the purchase price.

3. THIRDSPACE - I like this one more than many others might. It introduces a H.P. Lovecraft type of element to the Babylon 5 universe. Personally I really like this new wrinkle and wish that it received further exploration. Catch this one after about the 7 episode in Season 4. This one features a crazy (perhaps even ridiculous) battle scene and a girl fight at the end that is well worth seeing. 4/5.

4. RIVER OF SOULS - A story about the Soul Hunters (introduced early in Season One). Martin Sheen is in it (a bit of a miscast for some people). Watch this before the last episode of Season 5 (Sleeping In Light). I like Franke's score alot. This one focuses more on some of the peripheral characters like Lochley and Zach which makes for a nice change IMHO. Tracy Scoggins in lingerie = yummy!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The release of Babylon 5 The Movies on DVD marks the closing of the critically acclaimed Babylon 5 series, arguably one of the best Science Fiction series to date. Having said that, it's important to remember that this box set should not be viewed as a starting point for first-time Babylon 5 viewers.
As indicated by the editor's review, the only DVD that can be viewed first is 'The Gathering', the reworked pilot which is good as an introduction to the universe and the characters. The other movies were made either during or after the conclusion of the B5 series and as such contain many elements that would completely destroy a first-time viewer's experience of the five year arc.
The movies 'In The Beginning', 'Thirdspace', 'River of Souls' and 'A Call to Arms' are all welcome additions to the existing B5 universe, allowing us to see just how far the characters have developed through the series. Although the self-contained nature of 'Thirdspace' and 'River of Souls' in particular do not provide the level of mounting suspense that we're used to in the series, they're still worth watching and allow the B5 flame to burn just that little bit longer.
To summarise: If you are a first-time Babylon 5 viewer, you would be better off to purchase the single DVD 'Gathering / In The Beginning', watch ONLY 'The Gathering' and then work your way through the season DVD box sets before moving onto the movies. If you are a fan or have a good understanding of the B5 universe, this is an excellent companion to the five B5 season sets.
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Format: DVD
No self-respecting B5 fan wants to be without this collection, and no serious fan of SF can ignore this series that MIT dubbed The Most Important TV SF Series Since The Original Star Trek.

As B5 continues its path toward the 21st-century version of Star Trek, i.e. becoming more successful long after its first run, this grouping of the five B5-specific films (not including the orphaned The Legend Of the Rangers) is the perfect capper for the release of the five season sets. It's also a nice bridge to the soon-to-be-released Crusade DVD, the sequel series that died a horrible death due to the meddling of network executives.

A few helpful words to add to those already posted by other reviewers: In the Beginning should NOT be viewed by anyone who has not yet seen the first four seasons of the B5 series. For those who aren't aware, B5 is an ongoing story told in chronological order (with the occasional flashback and forward), and In the Beginning contains lots of information from all points of the story. Since the mysteries of the story, plot surprises, and development of the characters are such a huge part of enjoying this series, avoid ItB until after seeing the fourth season. It's kind of a recap, with many delicious twists that are best enjoyed by those who have followed the story to that point.

The Gathering, of course, is the pilot film. It gives the real beginnings of the five-year story arc, laying groundwork and introducing new fans to one of the charming aspects of being a Babophile: Watching J. Michael Straczynski and his crew learn how to make A Television Series. The early work is a bit raw (more than a bit in some places), and the consequent rough edges are being smoothed until late in the first season.
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