Friday, August 3, 2012

Stargate: Continuum

Here it is, folks. The last of the filmed Stagate SG-1 projects to review. I am happy to say Stargate: Continuum is an epic send off. The film throws in everything except Jonas Quinn. Still no love for Jonas, huh? Continuum truly does include all the things that make Stargate SG-1 great: the entire team together, the System Lords, time travel, alternate realities, Daniel biting the dust. It look like everyone involved knew this was going to be the swan song for the characters and went for broke.

The SG-1 team, including Jack, is invited to the Tok’ra home world to witness the extraction and execution of Ba’al’s symbiote. The Tok’ra do not mess around when dealing with brutal dictators. There is no questioning the morality of capital punishment, either, which is unusual these days. I am the one who agrees with South Carolina’s former Attorney Genera Charlie Condon the electric chair ought to be converted to an electric couch so more than one condemned can be executed at a time. You other 49 states do not know what you are missing not having leadership like ours.

Before he is to be executed, Ba’al gloats he is the last clone while the real Ba’al is out there putting a final plan into action. The “real” Ba’al travels back to 1939 on the ship Achilles, captained by cam’s grandfather, which is carrying the stargate to the United States so the Nazis cannot get their hands on it. Ba’al sinks the ship, thereby creating a new timeline in which SGC was never founded. In the present day, everyone begins disappearing at the execution. Jack is killed by Ba’al during the chaos, but cam, Sam, and Daniel manage to escape unaffected by traveling through the stargate.

They arrive in Antarctica on an alternate timeline Earth. They are rescued by Jack and the Navy. No one believes anything they say in their debriefings other than Landry because Sam, whom in this world is a deceased famous astronaut whose funeral he attended, is right in front of him. Cam never existed because of his grandfather’s drowning on the Achilles, and the alternate Daniel is a disgraced crackpot the three want to use the Beta gate to try and restore the timeline, but are convinced that is a grossly selfish thing to do. The world has been humming along fine as it is.

Our heroes agree to be relocated across the country and never contact one another. Like is not easy, however. Cam revisit’s the Kansas farm he grew up on, but it is a stranger’s house and always has been. Sam lives aloe, and clearly misses Jack. Daniel, who lost his left leg with frostbite, hobbles along without a sense of purpose. It is terribly sad how out of place they are. Things go bad for the planet when Ba’al, Qetesh at his side, conquers the System Lords and turns his sights towards invading Earth. Our heroes are called back into action by President Henry Hayes.

Ba’al plans to take over Earth, but Qetesh is suspicious of his vast knowledge of the place. She kills him before he can pit whatever plan he has in place and orders the rest of the System Lords to bombard Earth. Teal’c, who was Ba’al’s First Prime--are you getting all this?--hooks up with cam, Sam, and Daniel at the Beta gate in Russia. Convinced the Jaffa are free in the real timeline, he agrees to help them restore it. Sam and Daniel are killed by Qetesh’s Jaffa. Teal’c is mortally wounded, but his last act is to kill Qetesh along with himself. Before Sam is killed, Cam learns the point the timelines diverged and travels back to 1939 to prevent the Achilles sinking. Having successfully done so, we revert back to the original, restored time line and witness Ba’al’s execution.

There you have the end of the SG-1 team’s adventures. One a day since January 2, 2012.

Continuum is several notches above The Ark of Truth in scope and quality. I like how there are no dangling plot threads left to weave other than eliminating Ba’al, so the story can go wild. I have only one quibbles. Jack is in far too little of the story. He has about fifteen minutes of screen time all together. Come on, it is the last time the band is going to play together. Surely Richard Dean Anderson’s semi-retirement could have been suspended for an entire film.

Otherwise, Continuum is great. The pacing is much better than in The Ark of Truth. all the running storylines are equally interesting. Although some of the cameos of characters like Apophis and Yu are not as meaningful as others, it is still fun to see all these guys and gals again. Especially Hammond. This was Don S. Davis’ final acting appearance before his death. He pased on a month prior to ’s release, in fact.

Continuum is a worthy conclusion to the Stargate SG-1 chapter of the Stargate Universe. It brings back familiar faces and concepts from the series without retreading old ground. The story feels fresh. The location ahots are impressive, as are the CGI effects. Our heroes look great in HD. They ride off into the sunset in style.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

(Cross posted at Eye of Polyphemus.)

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