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Stargate: Continuum (review)

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I liked the first direct-to-DVD Stargate SG-1 movie, Ark of Truth, merely because it was more SG-1, which I was starving for. But it wasn’t actually a terribly good movie… or even a terribly good overlong episode of the show. But Continuum, out on DVD this week? Ahhhh. Now this is what I want to see in a Stargate movie. It’s not just a fantastic overlong episode of the show, it actually feels like a movie, with big stakes and big drama, not to mention a big cast and a big budget, for TV: about $7 million, and it’s all on the screen. Heck, they even shot some of this in some unfakeable locations in the Arctic — in the freakin’ Arctic! — and there’s not many movies can say that.
Oh yes: and Jack O’Neill is back. He’s not in enough of Continuum, not near enough, but we’ll take whatever Jack we can get.

I hope you haven’t heard too much about what happens here, because I knew nothing and was glad of it, because Continuum takes some turns that wouldn’t have been as much fun if I’d known they were coming. So I promise not to spoil any of that for you. I will tell you this: Ba’al, the last of system lords, has been captured, and the Tok’ra are about to execute him for his crimes against the galaxy. Ba’al’s not planning on going out easily, though, and while the SG-1 team is present on the Tok’ra homeworld to witness the execution, his final plan begins to unfurl. It’s a doozy.

If none of that makes any sense to you, well, you’ll probably want to skip Continuum: it’s really not going to be any fun to anyone who isn’t madly in love with SG-1… the team, that is. They’re all here: Jack (Richard Dean Anderson) and Sam (Amanda Tapping) — though their decade-long romantic tension does not get resolved (and that’s not a spoiler: there’s never any indication here that it will be; maybe in the next movie). Daniel (Michael Shanks) and Vala (Claudia Black) — ditto on the tension, and on that not being a spoiler. Cam (Ben Browder) and Teal’c (Christopher Judge) — no, they have no romantic tension, though Cam does finally have a chance to start feeling more like a character in his own right and less like a wedged-in substitute for Jack.

Ba’al was always one of SG-1’s more captivating villains — actor Cliff Simon is clearly still having a ball with a bad guy who really kinda just wants to be pals with Our Heroes, and Ba’al’s Big Plan lets him expand on that. But everything in Continuum feels expansive and ambitious in a way that the show hardly even actually achieved: there’s a whole new kind of sophistication at work here, both as character study and as science fiction. There’s nothing among all the plot twists and SFnal concepts that is genuinely original, but the way screenwriter Brad Wright and director Martin Wood — both longtime contributors to the series — handle it all makes it feel fresh anyway. It feels, in fact, just the teensy-weensiest bit like Doctor Who, and I can’t help but suspect that Wright and Wood were maybe just a teensy-weensy bit influenced by seeing in what daring directions TV sci-fi has been going these days.

I’m still starving for more StargateAtlantis simply does not satisfy my Stargate jones, much as I keep hoping it will — but this will keep me going for a little while. At least until we get a third SG-1 movie… which we may just get.

MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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  • http://morjana-subductionleadstoorogeny.blogspot.com/ Morjana

    Thank you for no spoilage! Looking forward to the arrival of the Continuum DVD and watching same!

  • http://www.lazygalquilting.blogspot.com Tonya R

    I really liked Ark of Truth. Sure it felt like a grand-scale tv episode but that’s because they were kindly wrapping up a storyline, not doing a complete movie.

    Really looking forward to Continuum now. Appreciate how carefully you recommended this one without giving anything away. Excellent news we may get more too. I still want a Vala spinoff – it would be a hoot to send her out undercover into the smuggling underworld.

  • http://lavitaenientaltro.splinder.com kusanagi

    I didn´t see it yet, but I just wanted to say one thing :finally Jack is back for good … we missed him a lot !!!

  • Shawn

    Awesome Review, I felt the same way, this is definitely one of my favorite movies of all time, and not just because I’m a stargate fan.. It’s definitely a movie worth watching.

  • Ibrahim

    I must say I am not a fan of SG-1 (I get pretty tired of science fiction that consists mostly of “squad of marines runs with guns in generic jungle setting”) but I really enjoyed Continuum. I nearly didn’t watch it after sitting through all of Ark of Crap, but I’m glad I gave it a chance.

  • http://michaelgmunz.blogspot.com/ Michael

    There was one major twist that I didn’t see coming (I won’t spoil it here except to say that it involves a very sharp blade). I thought it was great, and I was sorry to see that there wasn’t too much time to develop the ramifications of it afterward before the movie ended. I wished it could have been a four-episode arc so they had more time. As it was, the ending felt rushed and unsatisfying.

    The first 75%, though, were fantastic, and I’m with you, it’s always great to see Jack “two Ls!” O’Neill. (Did you know they’re thinking of focusing the next DVD Stargate movie on him?) I’m surprised you didn’t mention all the other familiar faces who crawled out of the woodwork. :)

  • Paul

    Since it is menetioned in the advertising on TV, I don’t feel I am spoiling anything by mentioning the time travel: like almost all time travel shows, it doesn’t quite make sense, but to not watch this show because of a TT paradox would mean hardly watching any SF on the topic at all. But in the options you can watch a little speech on TT which is elementary for SF fans but does tell you what they were thinking. The options also includes a little documentary on what it was like to film north of the Artic circle.

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