When I heard that the Stargate team were making two straight to DVD movies with the SG-1 team, I was over the moon. Not only would the adventures continue, but also it would surely be a great chance to have Richard Dean Anderson come back as the great Jack O’Neill. With the first of these two, Stargate: The Ark Of Truth, dealing with the trailing storyline at the end of season 10, the imagination could freely flow into the next. So when it was decided that it would be a time travel bonanza, in true SG-1 classic style, I was not only over the moon, but over the Milky Way too.
I’m a big fan of all the time manipulation episodes of Stargate, so to have one blown up in proportion to a full sized movie was incredible news. Not only did this mean Richard Dean Anderson would come back, it also meant that it dealt with the Goa’uld, the original and best of the big baddies.
The film starts with an explosion of geekdom, as we are led around Stargate Command at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, and shown various people including Hank Landry, Siler, Walter Harriman and Paul Davis before being shown SG-1 coming together in the gateroom. They’re heading off through the gate to meet with the Tok’ra, as they are about to extract the Goa’uld from what they think is the last of Ba’al’s Clones. It turns out there’s one more, and he has a fiendish plan. We then see a boat on earth in 1939, with Ben Browder playing the captain of the ship. In the hold, a big box stands before, erupting with the Stargate’s event horizon. Ba’al comes through and ensures the fate of the ship, leaving history on a different course.
Back in present day, when Vala and Teal’c disappear, along with many of the Tok’ra, the rest of SG-1 figure it’s time to go. But when they get back to earth, and find the Stargate in the hold of a ship buried under ice, the timeline has clearly taken a different route, and SG-1 are stuck in this timeline. And that’s just the first twenty minutes.
If that all meant nothing to you, you’re in the wrong place. If that made sense to you, I think you may just enjoy this film. With Ba’al as the big baddie, SG-1 without Vala and with a few nifty appearances of O’Neill, this creates the feeling of very early Stargate episodes. Harking back to such incredible episodes as ‘1969’, ‘2010’ and ‘Moebius’, the Stargate team have done a brilliant job on this film.
Not only does it leave you quite depressed at points, but it also is an enjoyable and entertaining adventure. The only thing that may put some viewers off is the lack of action sequences, which have become a staple of most Stargate outings. There is only really one firefight, and for some it may not be enough, but to me, it’s ballsy and ingenious. To take away that simple element which is so fundamental to Stargate nowadays is a risky move, but one that pays of extremely well.
In that respect, it could be argued that they may have done it to pull down the costs, but no matter what reason, it lets the story play out in an entirely different, and much more dramatic, way. Characters are given more time to show themselves to us in a new light, and Cameron Mitchell in particular is given a new, more in depth background that makes him feel much more of a member of SG-1 than he ever did in the series.
I love this movie. Of course, it’s not perfect, but that doesn’t change the simple fact that I love it. O’Neill is only given three scenes to play around in, which I personally think is not enough, but I’ll take any Jack I can get my hands on. The late Don S. Davis’ final appearance in a Stargate franchise is much too brief, down to about two lines. I still miss the original SG-1. Teal’c never joined the team (because there wasn’t a team to join) and as such, has a smaller part in the film. All three points are a giant shame, but do little to my scoring of this film.
The extras give more insight into the making of the film, and even the creation of some of the more important sets, as well as the most obviously gruelling section of the film, living in the arctic. The soundtrack, the script, the plot, and all the little moments of geeky childishness are incredibly well played for the most part. I think Stargate Continuum will surprise fans of Stargate with just how good it really is, and that, after eleven years, is an impressive feat in itself.
Plus, bonus points for the first swear words in all of SG-1!