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Babylon 5: The Road Home Review





You gotta feel for the Babylon 5 fandom. While Star Wars, Star Trek, and even Twin Peaks fans have been fed well with continuing stories or revivals, the B5 loyalists have been sucking space dust. But series creator J. Michael Straczynski recently won the game of licensing chicken by outlasting the unnamed Warner Brothers exec he blames for blocking new Babylon 5 projects for decades. With the greenlights now glowing, the first new entry in the franchise since 2007’s Babylon 5: The Lost Tales is the animated nostalgia fest The Road Home. The beautifully rendered, 79-minute movie celebrates not only Straczynski's patient fanbase, but the returning cast from the original series. Unabashedly sentimental, romantic, and a bit corny at times, The Road Home plays it safe by appealing to contemporary appetites for universe-hopping stories, but uses its deep bench of memorable characters very well.



What makes The Road Home stand out the most is how it lives so well in the animated medium. Director Matt Peters and supervising producer Rick Morales, both long-time WB Animation veterans, bring such energy to the project that you wonder why an animated version of Babylon 5 wasn’t tried decades ago. The movie’s mix of 2D and 3D animation infuses new life into the familiar space station, the classic spaceships, and the alien species – especially the bug-like Shadows, who are much scarier now. Unhampered by the restrictions of a live-action budget, every aspect of the B5 world benefits from the glow up that the animation provides. The battle scenes have more stakes, the worlds look more lush and impressive, and the likenesses of the characters to the actors who played them is just the right mix of authentic yet stylized.




Babylon 5: The Road Home is a worthwhile installment for longtime Babylon 5 fans that have been waiting nearly two decades for anything new in the canon. J. Michael Straczynski’s script stridently wears its heart on its sleeve, which will likely land for nostalgic old-timers but play a little cloying for those without prior investment. The standalone story is easily digestible for all viewers, it just suffers a bit in taking the well-worn multiverse/alternate reality path. However, the choice to make The Road Home an animated film is inspired. The medium vastly improves upon the cut-rate visual effects (and extra tight budgets) of the live-action TV series and movies, and will hopefully serve as a softer transition for the planned live-action reboot.