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Babylon 5: The Legend Of The Rangers

01/08/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Babylon 5 The Legend Of The Rangers in the USA - or Buy Babylon 5 The Legend Of The Rangers in the UK

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Region 2 DVD: pub: Warner Bros Z1 22353. 86 minute film with no extras. Price: 4.30 (UK) if you know where to look. stars: Dylan Neal, Alex Zahara, Myriam Sirois, Mackenzie Gray and Andreas Katsulas.

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You know how it is. You're researching an article on 'Babylon 5', working your way through the series and decide it's about time to go through the more recent releases and suddenly discover 'The Legend Of The Rangers' was originally released in 2001. Where has the time gone?

The initial reaction when I saw the special effects was to wonder if the CGI was done by Optic Nerve because it didn't look as good as its parent series, especially as it was under a tight budget. Yes, it was Optic Nerve according to the credits but I suspect they had a software upgrade and put the odder colours down to that. No doubt had this gone to series, the eyes would have adjusted, even to the change in the jump gate patterns.

The story, set two years after season 5 of 'Babylon 5, concerns the Anla-shok or Rangers where David Martel (actor Dylan Neal) who after a skirmish where his captain is killed, his spaceship damaged and no weapons systems decides not to chase on what would be a suicide run for his crew. His leaders on Minbar think he should have gone on and it is only by the intervention of G'Kar that he isn't kicked out but given a new spaceship, the Lilandra.

Actually, the Lilandra is not exactly new, especially as its previous crew died when their oxygen ran out returning to Minbar and it is severely in need of repair. Chosen to act as a support ship to another taking delegates to another world, they are under attack when they arrive. The lead ship is destroyed, they take on the delegates, including G'kar, and with a barely operational damaged spaceship have to beat the enemy and find a traitor on-board. For the Anla-shok, it's probably just another day at the office although quite why neither ship wasn't a Whitestar is never explained.

No doubt that creator/writer Joe Straczynski probably decided he couldn't have the more serious Anla-shok that it would make sense to have the more maverick-like Rangers who didn't fit the normal pattern of 'dying for The One' as they jump (sic) into battle which, had it gone into series, would have made things less intense all the time. The problem was in having such a large cast that not all of them had things to do. Even G'kar was only really put in there to offer sage advice every now and then.

When this is combined with such a relatively young cast, there is no one who truly stands out personality-wise. Again, this could be put down to the tiny budget but my reaction overall was the story was vastly short-changed. The original 'Babylon 5' series was always hampered by low budget and I can understand Straczynski's frustration with being given less with this story.

Even eight years later if Warner Brothers really want to go again with stories from the 'Babylon 5' universe, then they have to trust its people and give them a decent budget to work from.

The story is watchable, just not as memorable as it could be.

GF Willmetts

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