- Directed by Martin Wood
- July 29, 2008
Using the Stargate, the Goa’uld System Lord Ba’al travels back to 1939 to create an alternate timeline in which the Stargate Program was never established with only SG-1 remembering the truth and attempting to reinstate the original timeline.
What a fantastic SG1 story and a great time travel story too! Stargate SG1 did time travel like no one else. This was clearly due to a combination of the creativity of the writers and the unique device at the center of the series that allowed them to have a fresh spin on everything and that is something difficult if not impossible to duplicate.
This was not perfect but definitely head and shoulders above so much else. I must admit I saw at least some of the resolution coming within the first 15 minutes or so of the story. Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder) remembers the name of the boat they find themselves on early in the film from somewhere. Without going into too much it all creates a loop. I wasn’t disappointed which goes to the credit of their ability to tell an engaging story.
One thing Stargate: Continuum does that very few other time travel/alternate reality stories do is not immediately set out the characters making everything right. They come to the world, explain the situation, and they are believed but then something interesting happens. It is one of those things that rarely occurs in this type of story.
In a rather good moment Mitchell, Col. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), and Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shenks) who went into the Stargate in order to survive the time change and now find themselves on a changed Earth get dressed down by Major General Hank Landry (Beau Bridges) who was brought out of retirement and basically Landry says “Who do you think you are?! Why do you think you three know the way things are supposed to be?!” It’s an unusual moment and one that stands out. It threw me a bit as I expected them to be immediately allowed to put the universe back the way it was supposed to be.
Putting things back would be undoing countless lives that are good and people are happy with on the assumption that these three understand the way things should be. That does not last long because if it did we would not have much of a movie.
Ba’al (the late Cliff Simon) was one of the best villains in all of Stargate. Simon was a great actor that brought him to life. He made Ba’al dangerous and charming and fun. And Simon brought those qualities to the forefront with perhaps one of the best diabolical plans of the Goa’uld Ba’al ever. His whole idea is to change the timeline in his favor as part of a failsafe should his defeat be imminent. That is big and grand and something that fits perfectly with not only that character but the Goa’uld as well.
The whole story begins with an extraction ceremony of the symbiote by the Tok’Ra. One thing that bothers me though is it’s pretty much confirmed to the viewer early on that the one they are extracting is a clone. This to me creates an issue.
During the last two seasons of the show Ba’al had created a group of clones as part of a plot (I won’t go into it here) but the number was relatively indeterminate and here in the story all the clones were hunted down and it is believed they have in their possession the real Ba’al.
I bring this up because the extraction ceremony removes the Goa’uld in order to free the host but if this is a clone how is there anything of a host in there? Basically the Goa’uld symbiote would have been driving around a blank slate that looked like the original body and there would be nobody to save. I may be overthinking it but that bothers me.
Stargate SG1 excelled at televised action, and they bring that ability to get the adrenaline pumping to this film. And it’s not just action for the sake of action but action that moves the story along. Things are happening in the action helps tell the narrative. It is not just excitement for excitement. Not many can mix story AND action.
Claudia Black goes all bad as Qetesh who was the Goa’uld that at one time controlled her character of Vala Mal Doran. We got to hear plenty about Qetesh during the course of the series once Vala was introduced but we never actually really got to see her. Here courtesy of an alternate reality Claudia Black gets go full villain and she is rather duplicitous. She is as conniving and cunning as Ba’al but much more patient and willing to bide her time. I feel bad now that we never got to see her as an actual Goa’uld.
The story here is accessible and pretty standalone. It uses some of the previous mythology but nothing that would require the general viewer to be immersed in SG1 mythology. While Ark of Truth did require a little bit of knowledge, this requires the most minimal of awareness if any at all to enjoy. I think this film is proof of concept that an SG1 theatrical film done on a conservative budget could do very well.
Stargate: Continuum is the second and final film based on the Stargate SG1 television series. It’s a great standalone story with good action and a plot that will hold you keep your hooked from start to finish. For fans of good action as well as Stargate this is a must see!