View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: 'Stargate: Continuum'
July 29th, 2008, 10:29 AM
<DIV ALIGN="center"><TABLE WIDTH="450" BORDER="0" CELLSPACING="0" CELLPADDING="7"><TR><TD STYLE="border: none;"><DIV ALIGN="left"><FONT FACE="Verdana, Arial, san-serif" SIZE="2" COLOR="#000000"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/movies/03.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/movies/graphics/03.jpg" WIDTH="160" HEIGHT="120" ALIGN="right" HSPACE="10" VSPACE="2" BORDER="0" STYLE="border: 1px black solid" ALT="Visit the Movie Guide"></A><FONT SIZE="1" COLOR="#888888">STARGATE MOVIES</FONT>
<FONT SIZE="4"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/movies/03.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">STARGATE: CONTINUUM</A></FONT>
<IMG SRC="/images/clear.gif" WIDTH="1" HEIGHT="10" ALT="">
After Teal'c and Vala vanish during Baal's execution ceremony, the team gates back to Earth to discover that the timeline has been altered and the Stargate program no longer exists.
<FONT SIZE="1" COLOR="#888888"><B><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/movies/03.shtml">VISIT THE EPISODE GUIDE ></A></B>
SPOILERS! PHOTOS! AND MORE!</FONT></FONT></DIV></TD></TR></TABLE></DIV>
<HR SIZE="1" NOSHADE>
<FONT FACE="Verdana, Arial, san-serif"><FONT SIZE="4"><B>GATEWORLD FAN REVIEWS</B></FONT>
<I>Calling All Writers!</I> Tell the world what you think of the movie! Rather than publishing a single review at GateWorld, we're letting <I>you</I> offer your thoughtful and well-reasoned evaluation of episodes. Some of our favorite reviews will be highlighted on GateWorld.net, exposing your writing to tens of thousands of readers! But we do have some guidelines, so please read carefully before submitting your review.
<B>This thread does not function like normal threads at GateWorld! Read this post carefully.</B>
Fan Review threads are not for conversation, even if it is discussing a member's review. For that, please use the official GateWorld episode discussion threads in this folder, or start a new thread. <B>All posts to this thread that are conversational will be immediately deleted.</B>
Fan Review threads are strictly reserved for formal reviews, which are deemed by the moderators to meet the following four guidelines:
<UL><B>(1) LENGTH.</B> Your review must be a <I>minimum of 400 words</I> and a <I>maximum of 1,000 words</I>.
<B>(2) FORMALITY.</B> Your review should be in a formal prose style (not informal and conversational, as regular forum posts are), following the Introduction - Body - Conclusion form. (The best reviews will include a single, encapsulated statement evaluating the overall episode that is stated in the introduction, defended in the body, and restated in the conclusion.)
<B>(3) EDITORIALIZING.</B> This piece is about <I>your opinion</I> of this specific episode. Do not summarize scenes or plot points, and generally avoid objective analysis of developments in story arcs, characters, etc. Assume that your readers have seen the episode you are discussing. Your review should give your opinion of various aspects of the episode (see below), not simply inform.
Beyond this, your ultimate goal is to challenge readers to think about the episode in a way they may not have when they first saw it. Avoid phrases like "I liked" and "I didn't like." Don't merely state what you thought -- defend it with examples.
Aspects of the episode that you might want to include in your review are (you do not need to cover every item on this list!):
Music / score
Costumes & makeup
Overall production value
Contribution to story arcs / overall series</UL>
<B>(4) FAIRNESS.</B> Very few episodes that you dislike are without a few saving graces, just as very few episodes that you love are completely without flaw. Avoid unqualified gushing on the one hand, or unbalanced negativism on the other. Personal attacks on the show's cast or crew are strictly forbidden.</UL>
By posting a reply to this thread, you are submitting a Fan Review for publication here on the forum! (Questions or concerns can be directed to the moderators via Private Message or the <A HREF="http://forum.gateworld.net/showthread.php?t=17629">"Ask the Moderators"</A> thread; do not post them here.) All reviews that are deemed to sufficiently meet the guidelines above will be approved and published in this thread, regardless of the author or the opinions contained. Reviews will not be edited for content. If your review is not approved within 48 hours, please consider rewriting it (and perhaps having someone beta read it for you) and submitting it again.
By submitting a review, you agree and grant permission for it to remain published here (nonexclusively). You also grant GateWorld nonexclusive rights to edit your review and republish it elsewhere on the site, with your byline intact (as provided in the body of your review, or if none, your GateWorld Forum username at the time of republishing). GateWorld's editors reserve the right to revise these guidelines in the future.
<DIV ALIGN="center"><I><B>All reviews are the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of GateWorld.net and its owner.</B></I></DIV></FONT>
July 30th, 2008, 02:49 PM
The first direct-to-DVD “Stargate” film, “The Ark of Truth”, was burdened with the task of condensing a season’s worth of resolution to the Ori arc in the space of about 90 minutes. The writers did well enough under the circumstances, but it was clear that the plot was the overriding consideration. “Continuum” also seeks to resolve a lingering plot thread from the final season of “Stargate SG-1”, but generally speaking, the writers had more freedom with the story.
In essence, the plot boils down to this: Ba’al, the last of the System Lords, has finally been captured (and we shall never speak of the Ba’al clones again). In a last ditch effort to reverse his fortunes, Ba’al uses a time machine to prevent the relocation of the original stargate from Giza in the late 1930s. Jackson, Carter, and Mitchell are in the middle of gate transit when this happens, so they retain their memories of the original timeline when they arrive in the altered reality. Hilarity ensues.
As with most “Stargate” and science fiction time travel stories, there are several obvious plot holes throughout the story. The writers either ignore them or allow them to stand proudly, and oddly enough, that works to the film’s advantage. There are a few golden moments where the characters themselves point out that a plot point doesn’t quite make sense, and then they shrug it off. It’s as if the writers are telling the audience, point blank, “just sit back and enjoy the ride”.
The producers were raving about the Arctic shots from the very beginning, and I can confirm that they are quite splendid. I love it when real military personnel are given cameo roles on the series, since the series is so popular among servicemen and servicewomen, and the nuclear submarine shots were glorious. I recommend watching the short added feature on the Arctic shoot; it was quite enlightening and entertaining.
It was also great to see Richard Dean Anderson again, even if he’s barely in the movie and his moments were only a pale reflection of the old Jack O’Neill. Thankfully, his presence was logically supported by the events in the film. It makes perfect sense that he would be there to see the last of the System Lords executed, since he was there at the very beginning, and it makes sense that he would still be in the military in the alternate timeline.
Most of the story revolved around Daniel, Carter, and Mitchell as the lone members of the SG-1 team with memories intact in the alternate timeline. In an interesting move, a good deal of time was spent on the impact of that experience on the characters. They did something similar with the “SG-1” series finale “Unending”, but now that the Ori plot arc is complete, it doesn’t feel like such a waste of time.
At the same time, it was a bit disappointing to see the three “timeline refugees” accepted so easily. They were held and questioned for a week, but several times in the story, the three of them are given little more than token disbelief. I would have expected SG-1 to be confined under lock and key until some part of their story could be confirmed. It’s one of those nagging plot holes that we’re supposed to be ignoring, I suppose, but it was the one that bothered me the most by the end.
I was a bit worried that Vala would end up being tossed aside, but the writers recalled her past role as the host for Quetesh and gave her a substantial role in the altered timeline. Setting aside the silly notion that Ba’al would turn his back on anyone before his plan was fully realized (and probably not even then), Quetesh wound up being a critical element of the story.
I mentioned the great practical effect of filming in the Arctic and with an actual nuclear submarine for a reason. While some of the space-based visual effects were very well done, I found much of the CGI to be far less impressive. It’s understandable that a film with a limited budget for DVD release might choose to invest in powerful location shots instead of digital backgrounds, but the Tok’Ra city and the sinking of the Achilles were poorly rendered by any measure. A feature-level production should, at the very least, meet the same CGI standards as the series itself. As usual, whenever stock footage is used, the quality is well below par.
The cast is excellent all around, and it’s clear that they’re enjoying the chance to tell a broader story with more character depth. The only real exception is Teal’c, who gets very little in the way of new territory to explore. On the other hand, Teal’c had some powerful moments in “The Ark of Truth”, and it seems natural that he would play a more central role in the next direct-to-DVD release.
Looking beyond the confines of the story itself, this film accomplishes a vital task. While the events of the film themselves are rendered moot (in typical time travel fashion), this wraps up yet another dangling plot thread from the “SG-1” series. Beyond the Ori and System Lord conflicts, most of the other elements have been more or less successfully shifted to “Stargate Atlantis”. This should allow future writers for the DVD films to explore new ground and tell stories that aren’t simply complicated conclusions. And while this film is far from perfect, it does make a great case for future adventures.
Reprinted with permission
Original source: c. Critical Myth, 2008
All rights reserved
August 4th, 2008, 08:47 PM
Almost as soon as The Ark of Truth and Continuum were announced, the general consensus that Continuum would be the better of the two movies. Fans waited with anticipation for the 'classic' feel that had been missing during SG-1's last two seasons, early screenings reported that fans were very enthusiastic about what they saw, and Brad Wright, co-creator of SG-1, called it some of his best work. With expectations through the roof, how did Continuum do? Did it live up to the enormous hype surrounding it?
Two words come to mind when considering Stargate: Continuum. The first is fun. The second, unfortunately, is disappointing. Disappointing because this film did not live up to the hype.
The plot itself is a fairly standard Stargate fare: a time travel story, with a little alternate reality aspect mixed into the plot as well. SG-1 is pitted against Ba'al, the last of the Goa'uld system lords. He somehow changes the past, so that the Stargate program no longer exists, and the Earth is left unprotected against him in the altered present. Only our group of legendary heroes can defeat him.
The simplicity of the plot is part of the attraction of Continuum. With a simple story, the focus is left on the characters and the adventure itself. This movie does bring back the 'feel' of the earlier, and most popular, Stargate seasons. This feeling is helped along by a huge number of cameos, ranging from the last appearance of beloved General Hammond by the late Don S. Davis to Apophis, undoubtedly the most important villain Stargate has had. The mixture of character moments and general plot advancing is well-balanced and the plot, though common in science fiction, still feels fresh and new.
The movie also benefits from the fact that it is a movie. There is no comparison between the visual effects and cinematography of this movie and the rest of SG-1. Aside from a few stock footage shots, this film obviously has great technical quality, and the special effects looked good enough to be in theatres. The Arctic shots are a real treat, as are all the sets in the movie. The music boosts all of the camera shots as well, and is, as always, spectacular. Continuum would be watchable for the music alone.
This film has an edgy quality to it sometimes lacking in the series, which at times in later seasons became more of a self-parody than a serious adventure. In arguably the best scene of the film, the protagonists, who remember the timeline before it was altered, are confronted by a retired General Landry. In that scene, SG-1 is vulnerable. They seem human, frail, and maybe not even automatically 'right' about what should be done regarding the altered timeline. This is an SG-1 we don't always see. On top of the writing of the characters, all of the performances are excellent. Mitchell finally seems a part of SG-1. Quetesh fits into the Stargate universe like Vala never did. This is by far Richard Dean Anderson's best work as a guest star on Stargate, with only his work in Atlantis' Return coming close.
So what makes this movie disappointing? The biggest reason is that everything about this movie is too short. Every cameo is nice for the fan to remember the character, but most of these characters contribute nothing to the plot and have no development and little to no dialogue. Richard Dean Anderson's appearance doubtlessly attracted many more viewers, but his role in the movie is small. Ba'al shows up in a surprisingly small number of scenes, and manages to get killed off in almost every one. The character moments are fun, but short. Very little time is spent on issues that should be a good deal. Daniel loses a leg, and no struggle is shown after the fact, and you forget he lost his leg half-way through the movie. Surprisingly, there is very little action in this movie, and what action there is only equals the action generally shown in the series, and the action scenes are very short.
Another issue with the film is gaping plot holes and throughout the film which go beyond the usual holes and paradoxes presented by time travel. At times it seems as if Brad Wright is daring the viewer to ignore glaring issues within the plot. When Ba'al goes back in time, the timeline is not changed immediately, but characters slowly disappear one by one, giving SG-1 a convenient chance to escape. Also, Ba'al travelled back in time to 1939 to destroy the gate, then he leaves Earth to build up his forces to attack it. Conveniently, his assault is not ready until exactly one year after SG-1, who had been travelling through the gate when the timeline was changed, arrived into the changed timeline. These and other issues, including several small nitpicks that only the most die-hard fans will care about, are a distraction to the film as a whole and lessens the fun of the movie.
Although the writing is good overall, at times the dialogue lacks what is needed to create the feeling that Ba'al's threat was a dire catastrophe of epic proportions. I cared much less for the destruction of major cities on Earth than I did for a single character in several Stargate episodes. Part of this feeling was certainly due to the knowledge that the big red 'reset' button would eventually be pressed, and in the end no character development would have taken place, and the adventure would not be remembered (in fact, most of it would not have even happened).
At times, as has happened often in Stargate, the situation is not treated seriously enough. Even during the final destruction of the last system lord, SG-1 is making light, cheesy jokes. This is not a way to treat the climax of 10 years of storyline. Even light, fun shows need to have a somber, pensive mood at times.
Overall, this film is well-made, and is a better movie than Ark of Truth. It is only disappointing because it was heralded as the best Stargate adventure of all, which it is far from being. Several episodes have better action, The Lost City and The Siege are more epic, Heroes is more dramatic, Within the Serpent's Grasp/The Serpent's Lair and Jolinar's Memories/The Devil You Know are more exciting, and 2010, 1969, and Moebius are better, more sensible time travel stories. This is a fun, generally exciting and intriguing time travel adventure, nothing more or less than that.
Final Verdict: 4/5 stars
August 15th, 2008, 04:04 AM
Continuum was hailed as an old fashioned Stargate story; a trip back in time to the core concepts that characterised the early seasons. The movie delivers on that promise, focusing on the Goa’uld, time travel, past characters and SG1 saving time. Yet the quality cannot hide the occasional flaw and its main failure, the lack of the SG1 team itself.
The original SG1 had an undeniable chemistry that was central to its success but the team evolved and it is the five team-members formation of the last year that opens Continuum. It was difficult enough in the TV series to balance the original characters and the newer additions equally. With the addition of Jack back in the mix, Continuum, in the end, simply never makes the attempt.
This is somewhat of a disappointment. A large reason for tuning into movies is to watch them as a team. Just as with The Ark of Truth before it, Continuum doesn’t deliver the SG1 team onscreen together for very long. What it does deliver though is the concept of SG1 as a team being there in spirit if not in presence.
In many ways, Continuum is all about the team bonds; Daniel worries at Vala’s disappearance, Teal’c’s unnerves them all, and Jack’s death simply devastates. Much of the heartbreak for the remaining three is that they are separated from each other. The emotion the first half of the storyline evokes is incredible and the acting from all, displaying that shock, denial, pain and loneliness throughout was truly outstanding. And if the first half is all about breaking them apart, the second is all about them fixing everything so they are back together as SG1 at the end. It’s a beautifully crafted story.
Indeed, Continuum is well written by Brad Wright. While the core plot itself is a sci-fi standard, the movie provides a good spin by refusing to rush into the inevitable setting things right. By doing so, the philosophical debate of whether SG1 should ‘repair’ the timeline is not skimmed over. The scene with Landry in the hangar where he points out that they have no right and are arrogant to believe they do is one of the movie’s most powerful and compelling moments – and possibly the best the Landry character has enjoyed since his inception.
Mitchell also gets the best outing for the character since Avalon. He feels like a part of SG1, and if the character knows when to lead in this story (in encouraging Sam to continue walking, for example), it also enjoyably shows him knowing when to hang back (such as in the discussion with Alternate Jack). Here Mitchell’s eventual setting right of history alone in the past is because he is the only one remaining not because he has run off without his team. Ben Browder excels as this Mitchell.
He also pulls double duty as his grandfather. This contrivance – that Mitchell’s grandfather was the captain of the ship that delivered the Stargate to America – feels just that; a contrivance. The end shot of the past Mitchell stood beside his grandfather in his locker just nudging the movie into a sentimental sweetness that it didn’t need. The nod toward sentimentality was already provided by the use of familiar faces such as Walter, Siler, Major Davis, Hayes and poignantly, Don S Davis’s marvellous Hammond.
The older characters also get good outings; Sam has an emotional journey (Tapping delivering a stunning performance); Daniel faces returning to an existence where he is not respected (Shanks nicely showcasing both early and later versions of the character); even the lesser used Jack and Teal’c are given great moments. Alternate Jack is a tour de force performance by Richard Dean Anderson; the moment he rejects the team as ‘freaks’ shifting the character from likeable to dislikeable in a heartbeat. Christopher Judge equally does well; Teal’c, First Prime of Ba’al is different to our Teal’c but recognisable still; who didn’t smile at ‘I die free’?
Vala doesn’t fare well in comparison; she only appears briefly, and there seems to be some confusion on whether she is there for comic relief. The suggestion that she is feels wrong given the scenario of the extraction ceremony. Claudia Black gets a much better deal with Quetesh; the scene where she kills Ba’al is jaw-dropping. Quetesh is as truly frightening as Ba’al was back in Abyss.
Cliff Simon always delivers yet Ba’al here fails to completely delight – perhaps I’ve become immune because of the clones. His death(s) seems an anti-climax. This is the last of the disappointments and while there are further flaws around the time travel aspect, these can be swept under the carpet as who truly knows how time travel works anyway? The time travel mechanism used ensures that the Stargate is given a starring role which is emphasised by the opening shot and the great wormhole sequences.
The CGI is mostly very good – fabulous in the aerial dog fight – but the Tok’ra homeworld backdrop feels as unrealistic as the early Star Trek sets. But it’s a minor flaw in an otherwise quality production enhanced by the movie’s opportunity to use F15s, a real submarine and for them to shoot in the Arctic. Those landscape shots of Sam and Mitchell are stunning. Martin Wood does a great job as director; the movie overall is well paced, beautifully shot and the musical underscore enhances the action.
Overall, the movie delivers a great Stargate story that showcases the characters and the Stargate. The time travel enables the appearance of old enemies and allies, and provides a nostalgic return to the Stargate of old. While there are flaws, they are more than forgiveable. For me, this is the Stargate I fell in love with and it was great to revisit it. Yet despite the trip to the past, Continuum neatly leaves the Stargate universe ready for the future; I can't wait to see what comes next.
August 22nd, 2008, 04:13 PM
In my review of Ark Of Truth at http://forum.gateworld.net/showthread.php?t=52421
I said that film was not the real start of SG1’s movie adventures, due the nature of the story it had to finish from the series. Really it would be Continuum carrying that task. So does it deliver?
Reviewing films and television can be a double-edged sword. This is especially true if the story is going to involve time travel. Before I get into that, here are the good aspects of what makes Continuum tick….
Although this film is “SG1,” for the most part it is Ben Browder, Michael Shanks and Amanda Tappings vehicle. It is ironic that Mitchell and Carter were given the stuck shipboard on the Odyssey plot in AOT, considering they completely carry the story along with Jackson here. Browder is firmly entrenched as the action man in Mitchell, and it works well, cementing his character as the athlete on the team. All three of them carry the fear, frustration and endurance their characters go through. Michael Shanks’s Jackson controlled panic when he realises his fate at the Artic, is only bested by Amanda Tappings subtly played enforced composure as Carter deals with having seen Jack O'Neill die. The sense of loss and frustration all three go through when forced into their new lives after seeing Landry is breaking new ground. These are talented people, and the flow of the film gives us the scenes where they can project and show this powerful subtlety. Continuum takes its time when it comes to emoting, a pleasant change of pace from the series. One thing that does jar though, is the lack of humour. All three show a defeatist vibe at different points that is unsettling and slightly out of character. It makes Continuum seem darker.
Special performance honours though have to go to Ms Claudia Black. Her portrayal of Quetesh is truely frightening. – You don’t think of her as Vala for a second. It’s almost a shame we didn’t see Quetesh along the same lines of Apophis or Baal in the series. Evil to the core! It’s such a contrast to the opening and closing sequences that feature Vala, which are classic fun stuff. Unfortunately, the evil nature of Quetesh upstages Ba’al, undermining the storyline. You can see which way the wind is blowing from the System Lord scene. It questions how Ba'al stayed at the top for so long, Unlike say, Ra, Apophis or Anubis.
Mr RDA gives his classy flawless delivery as both versions of O’Neill. Although I am NOT a follower of the “Jack O’Neill is SG1” brigade, both character and actor are an intrinsic part of what SG1 is all about, as much as any other member of the main cast, past or present. With a few lines General O’Neill is undoubtedly the boss of the Stargate Programme, and this is reflected in the respect SG1 show him. His sharp and dismissive Colonel O’Neill is clearly yet subtly not the same man. Pivoiltal scenes, which are effective. Less is more.
Production values here are amazing. Set pieces, visuals, location filming costuming, direction, are all top notch. The Artic sequences, shipboard scenes on both “ships” and the F15s are beautifully executed. The only weak point which is unusual, is the music. Mr Goldsmiths scoring is beautifully done, but you have to listen for it through the barrage of sound effects during action, and it seems muted in quiet scenes. It also seems far more incidental than the powerful scores and emotive choir of AOT, or Atlantis's pilot Rising, but that may just be my ears.
Where Continuum definitely falls down, is the classic flaw of “modern” time travel stories. Classic time travel stories have a character travel through time, possibly change something and live with the resulting consequences, good or bad. (Like Dr Who, or HG Wells The Time Machine).
Modern time travel, has a person or group change history, so a second person or group has to change it back to the way it was in the first place. The films The Philadelphia Experiment II and Star Trek First Contact both do this. Only trouble is, it means in the grand scheme of things, the main story becomes nothing because it “never happened.” –Its frustrating, none of the characters within the story remember what they have been through, and anyone who has not seen Stargate before only sees a fraction of the overall picture of what it is about, either.
We are given a mountain load of well-known faces in this film, but they are just that, faces. Although the system lords show up – even Ra and Apophis himself, they may have one or two lines then are dropped. It feels like extra subplots at work, but there was no room for them so they were cut. For example, Major Davis makes his first appearance since the end of the eighth season of the series, but it’s a blink and you miss him in the opening scene. – According to the audio commentary, it was a favour by actor / writer Colin Cunningham. Well and good if you know that, but very frustrating when you (initially) don’t. Ditto the sparse appearance of the system lords. - All of whom were memorable in the series.
The biggest frustration though is the climax. A “Deus Ex Machina,” using suspense elements from both Lost City and 2010 in the series. It’s a shame, because a retread is clearly what was NOT intended by the writing or the execution. Only so many ideas can be reworked, and because the Stargate is NOT a time machine, this is the only way the plot could go. But that doesn’t lessen the fact it IS a retread as a result.
This has been a hard review for me to write, because I wanted to like this story. I love SG1, and thoroughly enjoyed AOT. But, that climax of the film keeps hitting me in the face. It is too much like the climax of the episode 2010. After Ark Of Truth, which rapidly catapults the Ori storyline to its conclusion, this feels like a 2 steps forward, 3 steps back, 1.25 steps forward. – In narrative terms, we end up marginally further forward from were we started!
Honourable mention - "Stargate goes to the Artic" disc feature. I don't normally comment on extras, but if this item was longer, it would make an excellent documentary in its own right.
So, the original question. - Does Continuum deliver SG1 in the DVD movie format? In production terms yes it certainly does. It shows the full potential of what SG1 could do on the big screen, without falling back on the original Stargate movie for help. It also shows there is life in the franchise beyond SG1 or Atlantis on the telly. It’s just a pity it did it by going in a temporal circle, instead of moving things forward.
= 5 out of 9 chevrons.
September 9th, 2008, 10:53 AM
The movie, "Continuum" was a combination of just about everything that the fans and crew have loved about "Stargate SG-1".
Unlike most others, I did not watch expecting "different". What I expected was to see if they continued the underlying themes and stayed true to the "Stargate SG-1" legacy. Two recurrent themes include moral dilemma and time-travel. SG-1 has always told everyone that "time machines are nothing but trouble!" We now have the old dilemma of morality, and whether or not SG-1, or anyone, should be able to reverse the timeline to set things right in the face of a timeline where people believe it is right for them.
Ba'al is the first such moral decision - the decision to remove Ba'al from the host, and then, kill it. Obviously, no one seems to care about this as long as it is the "bad Goa'uld". However, the one who feels most for Ba'al is, of course, Vala who was host to one, and she at least has sympathy to the host when no one else does. Ah, but then we have the "twist". Ba'al has set up a time machine to change, and to stop his extraction.
Vala disappears, Teal'c disappears, O'Neil dies - again, and then, everything else disappears while our fearless threesome dash for the Stargate thinking that they can "beat it", throwing themselves into the wormhole, and while they are in it, the timeline changes anyway.
Emerging into a different timeline as well as place, they seem slightly disoriented, but it doesn’t take long to figure things out when they see the dead Jaffa. OK, same people, different timeline. SG-1 now has to “fix it”. Instead of our fearsome foursome, we have our fearless threesome in the same ship that is now frozen. Not surprising, the ship begins to slide off into the ocean causing our heroes to “jump for it”. We know from the outset that because Jackson has “stepped his foot into it”, his leg cannot survive in that type of cold. So, we have another moral dilemma. Both Sam and Cam are forced to leave in hope to rescue Jackson.
Then, O’Neill shows up. He has not had the benefit of real friends, but we find a man who is negative and bitter and even hateful at times. He treats them without understanding, but “by the book” rules. And, that is that.
The morality doesn’t come to the forefront nearly as strong as it does when Landry comes onto the screen. Of all the performances Beau Bridges has given as Landry, this was, by far, his best in my opinion. The viewers don’t have too much of a problem understanding that the timeline has to fixed, because Ba’all destroyed it. But, for the first time, through Landry, we see just how much those in the current timeline don’t NEED to be fixed – even though we know it has to be so. He tells them that their timeline is theirs, and just because Ba’al changed it, doesn’t mean that our fearless threesome has the RIGHT to change HIS reality, because there is nothing to change from his point of view. The startled faces of SG-1 brings this point home. They are surprised, because they really didn’t think about it from that viewpoint until now. It shuts them up, and Landry tells them that they will not step through the Stargate. It doesn’t matter if what SG-1 says is going to happen, Landry sets them straight that they will deal with it, when it comes, on their own terms even though he has no understanding of it.
SG-1 is separated – another moral decision designed to keep them from interfering with this timeline. They are given a whole set of new rules to be followed to the letter. For the first time, we see our heroes not fighting. They follow the rules, and don’t make contact. Now, this, I have to admit wasn’t the way I believe it should have been. A whole year, and no fighting back or attempt at seeing each other? This definitely isn’t the SG-1 team we know. Or is it? They are forced to “bide their time” while they sit and “wait” for the inevitable to come. In the meantime, we see just how boring their lives become. Later, only Jackson and Mitchell try to reach out to the timeline by talking to himself, and going home.
At last, though, the attack from Ba’al begins. It seems to me that Ba’al is not quite as evil as he once was. He keeps the System Lords together, and tries to have them act as one. We almost see Ba’al actually having a feeling for humans. Would he have destroyed them? I don’t think so. Then, Vala appears on the scene as Qetesh. Until now, we haven’t seen her. She is ruthless as she kills Ba’all. There is no moral dilemma with her.
Finally, the attack begins, and even in the face of this, SG-1 will be permitted to help, but not to enter the Stargate. The final scenes seemed a little rushed as they dash to Russia towards the Gate, suddenly meeting Teal’c, and then Gating into Ba’al’s time machine. From here, there is no moral dilemma. It’s fix it time. As the original team members are killed – again, Mitchell knows that he must return to 1929, and his only recourse is to live out his life in that time period where we know that he will become his own grandfather. But, he kills the Jaffa and Ba’al.
The timeline is fixed, and they don’t know anything of what happened. Ba’al is the “last of the System Lords” (Gee, I hope not!), and he is destroyed.
Since nothing really happened, was there a moral dilemma at all?
The major problem was that it needed the fourth member. Since Teal’c wasn’t there with them nor Vala, the team needed O’Neill. And, we know that isn’t to be. Sad, but true.
January 27th, 2009, 01:01 PM
(Reprinted from my review on TV.com)
Every ten minutes of this installment had me saying out loud, "That was awesome."
Minus a handful of cringe-worthy moments, I wished that every episode of the show could have been 2 hours long instead of 46 minutes, if these are the kinds of stories they could create from the simple time-travel plot device they used multiple times before.
Most sci-fi tends to ignore human nature when doing things like traveling through time and sliding between realities. This was the first time I have ever seen a story portray what would most likely happen in the actuality that someone from another timeline appeared out of nowhere and treated it realistically. We take for granted after a decade of outrageous tales in which scientific impossibilities happened all of the time, we just believe it and we're right there with SG-1 in their insistence that the Air Force let them correct the flaw with their own timeline. Alternate General Landry finally put them in their place the way no one has ever done before. It's just a shame that they wrote the lesson out of existence.
All of that aside, the acting was above bar, even for a big budget film. The direct-to-DVD status allowed the actors to act unrestrained, without self-imposed TV regulations, the dialogue was just a brilliant as ever, not only in the clever writing but the carefully crafted alternate timeline with the newly rewritten history and the way it not only showed us something new, but it also meshed perfectly with and even augmented established canon, ex: The 'Gate in the end is transported to the United States with a hole in the box that held it, as well as the hull of the boat that carried it. It could explain everything from why Dr. Littlefield first activated and stepped through in 1945 to why experts like Captain Samantha Carter and Dr. Daniel Jackson were sought out and brought in, in the first place. Much like the two part Season 8 finale "Moebius", while the events of those episodes are ultimately nullified by the end of the episode, the story told along the way was one of best.
My only complaints were Michael Shanks overuse of profanity and attitude (he seems to have forgotten about his fake leg in the final 30 minutes) and the return of the "Hey you, SG-1, save us please" mentality of the Air Force the moment aliens appear in orbit above earth. After Alternate General Landry's speech to SG-1 about 45 minutes in, I was disappointed to see the Air Force just hand over a wing of F-15 fighters to the people who appeared out of nowhere with strange tales of aliens just a year before. In real-life, if someone magically appeared in the Arctic, accessible only by nuclear submarine and came to the government and told it of an impending alien invasion the government would interrogate the hell out of them and lock them up forever. And if aliens did start invading, the people who knew about it would be in even bigger trouble than before, not being looked at for answers.
None of that was enough to detract from this installment however. I've watched it 3 times since I bought it and I want to watch it again right now. If only because it's the last time I get to SG-1 save the world for a while.
November 8th, 2009, 02:29 PM
Since I'm back out here for the first time in years I guess it's time I posted the review I wrote on IMDB and Amazon out here: (please note this was writtten just after it was released)
Following on the release of The Ark of Truth, Continuum is the second Stargate SG-1 movie to come to DVD. Unlike Ark of Truth, Continuum is not potentially weighed down by having to overtly tie up loose ends left by the series. While, in fact, it does tie up a few loose ends rather nicely it also does something else: it brings Stargate SG-1 full circle.
The plot is classic SG-1: the last of the system lords Ba'al (played by the ever villainous Cliff Simon) is about to be executed with SG-1 and Jack O'Neill in attendance. Suddenly people start disappearing and SG-1 members Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter, and Cameron Mitchell flee through the Stargate to a world where the Stargate never made it to America just before World War II thanks to Ba'al meddling with history. After facing alternate versions of people they know and being dismissed, Earth comes under attack from Ba'al, his queen Qetesh (aka Vala) and his first prime Teal'c. The team must find out how Ba'al changed history and put it right…or else. Writer Brad Wright brings together two of the series' best threads: time travel and the threat of Goa'uld invasion together to bring the series not only full circle but what could also be called SG-1's greatest hits.
One of Continuums biggest pluses is that it brings the original cast back together. Richard Dean Anderson appears once again as General Jack O'Neill and while he does not appear in the entire film, his presence his certainly welcome and makes for a great addition to the film. Also returning for this film is the SGC's original leader, General Hammond. The late Don S. Davis makes his final appearance as Hammond in the film's alternate time line and while it's a shame that he doesn't know the team in those scenes, his appearance (like O'Neill's) is a welcome addition to the film.
The big thrill of Continuum is watching familiar characters in the alternate time line. It is here more then anywhere else that the film brings the series full circle. We get to see the Goa'uld system lords back together again even SG-1's first nemesis Apophis in a surprise appearance. On top of the alternate versions of Teal'c, Vala, Hammond, and O'Neill we get to meet alternate versions of Hank Landry and President Henry Hayes. Landry is played masterfully by Beau Bridges who is able to make the lines between the "real" and alternate Landry's almost indistinguishable. Hayes, played by William Devane and last seen in SG-1's seventh season finale Lost City, is much the same as the "real" version we've met before; skeptical at first and then forced to face the incredible with a brave face. Their appearances are what separates Continuum from Ark of Truth and marks an improvement.
The film also makes a fine blend of the cerebral and action sequences. While ostensibly an action story, Continuum also takes moments to explore, on the personal level, the effects of seeing a world and people you know be almost completely different. Yet when the film needs action it has action from submarines rising in the Arctic, to dogfights and gun battles the film shows what SG-1 could be at its best: intelligent and yet action packed.
The stand-out aspects of Continuum are the amazing location photography, special effects, and music. The location filming in the Arctic (done in below zero temperatures) is amazing, beautiful, and breathtaking all at once. Considering this is a relatively low-budget film it's an incredible addition and it makes the film feel even bigger in scope and scale. Scope and scale are the purpose behind another one of the film's highlights: the special effects. From dozens (if not hundreds) of Goa'uld ships to dogfights and extensions and additions to sets, the special effects in Continuum continue SG-1's proud tradition of bring feature film quality effects to the small screen. Then there's Joel Goldsmiths' score which like Ark of Truth evokes the epic feel of the film. Each of these make Continuum stand head over heals above many of the direct-to-DVD sci-fi films released all the time.
Continuum is not only an excellent addition to SG-1 but brings the series full circle. From classic elements to the return of favorite characters and villains to outstanding photography, effects, and music Continuum takes what could have been a boring attempt to tie up the loose ends of the series and creates a action packed adventure. Continuum may well the end of SG-1 and if it is, Continuum is it going out on top.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.