10 April 2011

Stargate: Continuum

Stargate: Continuum

Starring Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Michael Shanks, Cliff Simon, Claudia Black, Don S. Davis, Beau Bridges, Richard Dean Anderson
Written by Brad Wright
Directed by Martin Wood
DVD release: 29 July 2008
MGM Home Entertainment, 94 mins., NR

Plot: The SG-1 team faces the Last of the System Lords as the mighty deity attempts to rewrite history to serve its own galaxy-conquering purposes.

After one feature length movie, ten seasons, one spin-off series (at the time), and one direct-to-DVD release, the creators and writers behind the Stargate franchise are still pumping out fantastic stories, and Stargate: Continuum is no exception. Time traveling and aliens or humans tinkering with the way the world should be is nothing new to the science fiction genre, it's how the writers handle the material that matters, and Continuum handles it brilliantly, once again crafting a film that works on multiple levels: novices to the franchise can delve right in and not get lost (although, of course, it would help having prior knowledge) and still enjoy themselves, the script is clever and full of twists and turns and the shows trademark witty dialogue, the Big Bad's plan is epic in scale, and the SG-1 unit faces - once again - impossible odds that is absolutely exhilarating to watch them battle.

Of course, with ten seasons, a spin-off series, and two movies under their belt, I wager the writers/producers should be well versed in their mythology and bouncing off the walls with creativity.

Er, anyway, Continuum definitely shows off it's cinematic style and gorgeous location shoots. The digital effects are far and beyond expectations, delivering some marvelous shots that rival feature films. One shot in particular I quite like is in the opening half hour when Ba'al travels back to 1939 on the ship Achilles, there's a exquisite shot of a crewman running for his life against the moon-lit sky. Later on, the swarm of battleships that loom over the earth are fantastically rendered, as are all the gazillions of explosions and aerial battles that grace the final twenty minutes.

When it comes to the characters, the actors have inhabited these roles for years, so it probably goes without saying that they are excellent, as always. The only actor there who didn't seem entirely sold on being present and accounted for is Richard Dean Anderson as the much-loved-by-fans Jack O'Neil (the character recast from the original Stargate movie with Kurt Russell filling the role), who says his lines and doesn't seem entirely committed to them. By contrast, Ben Browder showcases his love for comic timing and action, much like he does in The Ark of Truth, and immediately became a favorite of mine. Claudia Black gets to have some fun portraying not only her prime character of Vala but also the System Lord Qetesh, who is ruthless and somewhat fun in her evilness. And major kudos should be given to Cliff Simon who plays Ba'al so completely menacingly and hilarious simultaneously, portraying the perfect Bad Guy. No disrespect about the 'hilarious' comment, mind you; it's a performance that should definitely be seen and enjoyed.

Writer Brad Wright pens an excellent script, full of drama, twists and turns, time traveling wibbely wobbley timey-wimey, awesome action sequences, and, of course, clever dialogue. It's all here in Continuum.

So all in all, I enjoyed the hell out of the flick. I absolutely recommend it to fans (although I'd be hard pressed to find one who hasn't watched it by now) and newbies. If you're a bit hesitant about the Stargate franchise, I highly recommend you give Continuum a try. As I said, it's a good enough standalone installment where prior knowledge of the franchise is not a necessity. As of this writing, there has been no forward movement on a third Stargate direct-to-DVD movie (nor, for that matter, a direct-to-DVD production for Atlantis), but if it ever does come to pass, you can definitely expect me to be there, watching and loving.

Rating: 10/10 = High-octane fun and adventure with some brilliant time traveling twists, one to be seen and enjoyed by fans and newbies alike!

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