This DVD has a lot riding on it. Stargate: The Arc of Truth was the first straight to DVD release and it had the advantage of finishing up a plotline that had begun on TV. Stargate: Continuum has to stand on its own merits.
In order to justify the asking price Continuum has to offer a lot more than just a feature length episode of Stargate: SG-1. So does it?
Well it does offer us the full SG-1 team. Not just the Season 10 team, but Jack O’Neill as well. And that’s certainly a major plus. And the leisurely opening scenes certainly feel like a movie, not a tv show. The villain of the piece is an old favorite from the show, Ba’al.
When SG-1 attends the Extraction ceremony for the last of the Goa’uld System Lords O’Neill is stabbed and Teal’c and Vala vanish. Returning to Earth, the remainder of SG-1 find themselves in a world where the Stargate program has been erased from the timeline. They must find the Stargate in order to set things straight or the world will end up enslaved by the Goa’uld.
You can certainly see the larger budget on screen. There are scenes here that SG-1 would never have attempted even in a two part episode. At times though the pace is just a little too leisurely. Their march through the frozen landscape seemed interminable.
Now I’m not the biggest fan of time travel stories, they tend to get overly caught up in paradoxes and tedious explanations of those paradoxes. Continuum suffers from this problem and we spend quite a long time trying to convince people about the altered timeline. I did like that someone pointed out the arrogance of just casually altering a timeline to SG-1 though.
However, once Ba’al’s invasion begins, things pick up speed and by the time we’re approaching the conclusion there’s no room left for complaints about lack of action. Lots of spaceships, lots of explosions and I find it particularly amusing that Ba’al remains a wannabe even when he has 70 years to plan. I’m still not quite sure if the way the paradox is resolved actually makes sense mind you, but I refuse to worry about it.
Whereas Ark of Truth did feel like a big tv episode, Continuum has all the hallmarks of a larger production. Impressive outdoor sequences (jets, submarines), a large cast and a suitably grand storyline. Despite using some of the long history of SG-1 it even stands quite well on its own. I think a newcomer to Stargate would be able to follow what happens.
All in all I’d call Stargate: Continuum a success. It tells a compelling stand-alone story that would justify the money spent buying it. And it does so in a way that makes me interested in seeing that third Stargate DVD release.
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the DVD extras. As well as the obligatory commentary track, we also have the obligatory making of documentary. In addition to those we have two further documentaries “Stargate Goes to the Arctic” which looks at the scenes filmed there and “The Layman’s Guide to Time Travel”. Extras don’t make a DVD, but these are decent documentaries and add something to the whole package.eoghann.com..