The great thing about science fiction is the stories can range from deep allegories concerning social and political issues to tales of the imagination that are just good old fashion fun. One set of stories, the Stargate saga, has at times taken its place in both of these camps. It has also been a favorite of millions for years now. Awhile ago my wife and I were searching the discount bin at the local bookstore when we happened upon a novel by Pauline Gedge called ‘Stargate’. It was fantastic, some of the best Sci-Fi we have read in a long time. Then some years later we were excited when in 1994 they made it into a major motion picture. This looked like the end of it until in 1997 the Stargate saga moved to television with a highly acclaimed series. It lasted for a decade and had a couple of spin offs but the original series is considered by most to be the best. When the original series went off the air the fans still wanted more. A made for TV movie was prepared and released, ‘Stargate: Ark of Truth’. Although met with mixed reviews by critics and fans alike the creative team behind the series continued on and the result is the next made for DVD movie, ‘Stargate: Continuum’. It as all the elements necessary for a rip roaring good time; there are space battles, time travel and alternate realities to keep the mix moving along at a great clip. Also, the best thing is all the characters you have loved and hated over the decade run of the series are back. Most are naturally a little bit older but they still have it. This film works not only as a continuation of the series but as a stand alone science fiction movie and that in itself is a rare commodity of late.
One of the main reasons for the way this movie works is not only the return of the main actors in their familiar roles. The producers also brought back the behind the scenes creative minds that made the series such an amazing hit. The script was written by Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright. Both of these men were responsible for over two hundred episodes of the original series. Glassner also has credits with such television series as ‘The Outer Limits’, ‘The Invisible Man’ and ‘CSI: Miami’. Wright has much the same in the way of credits with the addition of ‘Forever Knight’ and ‘Highlander’. With a history like this they know how to give the fans what they want. The film was directed by Martin Wood who helmed over sixties episodes each of ‘Stargate’ and the spin off ‘Stargate: Atlantis. Reassembling the production staff is eminently better than getting newcomers to try to recreate a popular classic. In many ways this film resembles an extended or perhaps double episode of the series. While that is often not a great way to go here it works. The series is so beloved by the legion of fans it comes across as a little bit more of the stories and characters that made the show in the first place. Often when a movie is made to extend a cancelled series there is a impulse on the part of the producers to go bigger in hope of going better. Here they just resurrected the formula that worked so well for ten years and went with that. This is much better than the first made for television movie in ever way. It has a more cohesive story that is able to hold as an extension of the sage and as a stand alone story line. While it is best if you were a fan of the show it is not necessary. The characters are not re-introduced they just expect you to either know who they are or pick up the back stories as you go along. There is a brief expository scene to help those newcomers out a bit.
The film begins with SG-9 returning from a mission. The team members of SG-1 are just preparing to go off world. In attendance is Major General Hank Landry (Beau Bridges) the current commander of the Stargate Command and the SG-1 team Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), Colonel Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder), Vala Mal Doran (Claudia Black) and the alien Teal'c (Christopher Judge) who is sporting yet another strange hair style. Major General Jack O’Neil (Richard Dean Anderson) has gone ahead to oversee the preparations. They are off to the Jaffa homeworld. They have in custody the last of the System Lords, Ba’al (Cliff Simon) or at least the last of the clones he made of himself. They are about to perform an extraction ceremony which will remove the worm like Goa'uld parasite within his human form. It is a form of execution and considering the millions of deaths he was responsible for a well deserved one. When given a chance for his last words he tells O’Neil that he made contingency plans for this event. As he smiles people start vanishing around him. Ba’al manages to kill O’Neil just as Teal’c disappears. Carter, Jackson and Mitchell make a run for the Stargate as the city begins to disappear behind them. We move back to earth in 1939 on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic. In the hold of the ship is a large, mysterious crate; no one even the captain knows what is in it. All of a sudden a vortex burst out of the crate creating a large circular hole in the side of the ship. Ba’al and a few of his men come out and proceed to shot everyone on board. The ship was bringing the original earth Stargate from Africa to the States. Before returning through the gate Ba’al’s men places a global shaped bomb to destroy it thus prevented the Stargate Command from ever existing. Although mortally wounded the captain manages to toss the bomb through the hole just in time.
Carter, Jackson and Mitchell appear through the now frozen gate in the current year. Jackson’s leg is badly injured as they are making their way over the ice leaving Carter and Mitchell to go off to find help. A submarine surfaces and on it is Col. Jack O’Neil. In this new time line he has never heard of the Stargate. Even worse their Carter was an astronaut killed in a shuttle accident and Jackson is a known ancient alien kook. No one has ever heard of Mitchell. They are taken back to the states and interrogated and then interviewed by this timeline’s version of General Landry. They wind up believing their story but feel they can’t let the team try to erase the time line. They are given new identities and sent to different parts of the country with orders never to contact each other. About a year passes then space ships appear in the skies. Ba’al has taken over power from all the other System Lords and now plans to enslave earth. At his side is his First Prime, Teal’c and his queen Quetesh (Black). The president calls for the team to get a second Stargate in Antarctica working in order to save the world.
The film is released straight to DVD by Fox. It is available in both regular DVD and Blu-ray formats. The Blu-ray was provided for preview so I can only speak to th specifications and extras on that edition. The video is amazing, one of the better Blu-ray releases I have seen. The DTS-HD is incredible. I have never heard the gate transit audio sound this good. There are also a number of great extras. This is one for fans of the series and any Sci-Fi fans out there.