‘V: The Final Battle’ Blu-Ray Review – The Fight For Humanity Rages On

V: The Original Miniseries became quite the phenomenon when it aired in the summer of 1983, capturing over a third of the television viewing audience. As the credits rolled following a major cliffhanger in the final part, there was no doubt that NBC would have to order a follow-up series to give the audience some closure over the conflict between the resistance fighters and the visitors. Unfortunately for the audience, NBC also had very staunch ideas for the future of the series that did not align with the creative force behind the series, Kenneth Johnson. Johnson set up the series to become something truly epic, and likely very pricey, paving the path to an intergalactic rumble with other alien nations. NBC and Johnson decided to part ways as the series took a more earthbound course, losing a major part of what made the series work so well in the first place. While there is a lot to appreciate in V: The Final Battle, you cannot help but wonder how much better it would have been if Johnson had been able to follow through on his vision.

V: The Original Miniseries ended on a hopeful note as resistance leader Julie (Faye Grant), heroic newsman Mike (Marc Singer), and other resistance fighters sent out a repeating message into the deepest reaches of space in hopes that an alien ally would come to help bring down the nefarious visitors. V: The Final Battle completely drops this idea as the series puts the fate of humanity strictly in the hands of the resistance fighters and The Fifth Column, the rebel faction of the visitors that are not on board with wiping out the humans. The Final Battle eschews a lot of the political commentary and creeping dread of the original miniseries in favor of a more straightforward sci-fi action adventure tale. The visitors are siphoning the Earth’s water supply at an alarming rate while the general public is still under the spell of misinformation thinking that the visitors are here to help. The resistance must find a way to stop the visitors from draining the Earth’s resources, as well as exposing them for the monstrous lizard people that hide beneath.

The enormity of the large-scale assault on humanity is complemented by several more personal tales that attempt to bring some stakes to the story. Mike is haunted with worry over his son who has been held in a cocoon prison aboard the mothership since the end of the previous series. There’s also Willie (Robert Englund), the gentle visitor with a heart of gold who wants to help out the resistance even as certain members of the group would rather see him dead. Michael Ironside is a standout addition to the cast as Ham Tyler, a badass ex-C.I.A. operative who is looking to destroy the visitors through brute force. The visitor leader Diana (Jane Badler) is still hard at work infiltrating the minds of all that as oppose her, even as she faces a new threat internally with the arrival of Squadron Commander Pamela (Sarah Douglas), who is quick to try to dethrone her over her handling of the invasion. And finally there is Robin (Blair Tefkin), the most eye rolling inclusion in the story as a teenage girl who was impregnated by a visitor during the original miniseries. If you know anything about The Final Battle, it is very likely this baby storyline that leads to real head scratching places.

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The Final Battle was beefed up from two parts to three to keep viewers glued to their screen longer. Although the running time was increased, it is clear the budget and scope of the production was scaled down from the original miniseries. There is a lot of action throughout The Final Battle, but most of it seems significantly less cinematic than previous offerings. There are also moments that just seem a bit sloppy when it comes to editing and shot composition, not to mention the writing. The writers do not seem comfortable taking the strong political themes that the series is built on and doing anything interesting with them. That’s not to say The Final Battle is not an entertaining entry into the V franchise, it has a lot of fun sequences and some standout character moments. Nevertheless, you can feel that something essential is missing with the exclusion of Kenneth Johnson.

Video Quality

Warner Archive brings V: The Final Battle to Blu-Ray in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio with a brand new 1080p HD master. Unlike the original miniseries, there is no question that this is the correct aspect ratio for this particular series, which should please fans. While the series was shot with an inherent softness, this transfer looks really great and provides a nice amount of detail throughout. The image is so clear and detailed that shortcomings in the production such as certain special effects stand out a little more, which is to be expected from this period. The colors are really bold and dynamic throughout, especially with the hues of the visitor uniforms and their green lizard skin. There are some minor flaws with the transfer, but overall it is a very pleasing presentation.

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Audio Quality

The Blu-Ray disc features a 2.0 DTS-HD MA mix that handles all of the action and dialogue very well. There are a few hiccups such as volume dips and a lack of voice modulation on some of the visitor dialogue, but I have a hunch this may be a problem with the original production and not an error with this presentation specifically. Everything is balanced very nicely with the score and sound effects never overpowering the dialogue. This disc also includes optional English (SDH) subtitles.

Special Features

  • Next On “V: The Final Battle”: The original network 30 second teasers that aired after parts 1 & 2 to get the audience excited about what was going to happen next. These reveal way too much about the plot so only watch after you have finished the series.

  

Final Thoughts

V: The Final Battle could have been a really exciting follow-up to a story that began with a lot of promise. Even with the studio meddling, the first two parts of this series deliver some fun action and campy moments that make it worth watching, but the third part really stretches the patience of the audience with certain plot turns. If you are a fan of the series, you owe it to yourself to check out this new Blu-Ray as Warner Archive has made it look and sound better than it ever has before. Recommended

V: The Final Battle can be purchased directly through Warner Archive or various other online retailers. 

Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.


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