As fans of this venerable science fiction series know, the new direct-to-DVD feature Stargate: Continuum is a stab at closing the Goa’uld plot line. While they were at it, producer Brad Wright decided to throw in more than his share of Easter eggs to the fans.
The fundamental plot line has been out there for a while, but we won’t discuss it here. Suffice that all the clones of Ba’al weren’t eliminated and one of them is on a mission. What we end up with is a time travel story. It takes a shot at what’s called the “grandfather paradox” in a way that’s a tad more serious than the way the guys at Futurama treated it, but at the same time…
Let’s look at it this way. As long as you aren’t going to nitpick a time travel story to death, you’ll have a fun time. One can see that Richard Dean Anderson is definitely looking very gray around the gills. One also has to wonder how many wigs Chris Judge wore as we go through various incarnations of Teal’c. You’ll also see a number of interesting twists on various characters, particularly if you want to see just how good Claudia Black can be when she is playing psychotically bad. So maybe the plot has a couple of holes large enough to shove some galaxies through, but the actors themselves make up for it, especially Ben Browder, who really, really carries this film.
What really counts here if is you just love the series, you’ll get a kick out of the likes of Don S. Davis, William Devane, and many others getting their share of time. Devane in particular shines as President Hayes. Another interesting twist is the fate of Rea’c.
Another top performance is that of Cliff Simon as Ba’al. Wright and company have his character come up with an interesting premise for how he literally turns the SG universe upside down and then takes full advantage of it. Through it all, Simon plays his role with extreme cool, making him come off a lot deadlier than he has in his last few appearances of the series.
Still, there’s the matter of the time travel element. It’s not like there hasn’t been enough failures in this arena already. The main complaint here is while Wright and crew may have shut the door on the Goa’uld when all is said and done, they do so in a spectacularly muddy way. It leaves the floodgates wide open for all manner of paradoxes. Yes, I’m sure sooner or later some genius in marketing will take a poll of all of them and use these contradictions to engineer more stories. Yet one has to ask oneself, are they really necessary? Personally, I don’t think so.
Before going, one does have to add that the disc comes with solid extra content. It includes a “Layman’s Guide to Time Travel” (no comment), the mandatory “making of” doc and commentary track, plus how they shot one particularly important sequence. Interestingly enough, there’s no farewell to Stargate thing, which actually makes me feel good. When you consider the franchise’s track record, they’ve done pretty well in providing solid entertainment over the last now ten-plus years. Also, there appears to be some interesting premises slowly but surely being leaked that gives one hope for the future of the series. We’ll just have to wait and see, eh?
Final opinion though? If you take your Stargate plotting seriously, loosen up. On the other hand, if you just want to have some fun and some pleasant farewells, enjoy. As it stands, while there’s talk of more SG-1 adventures, nothing’s written in stone as of yet. Let’s just hope it’s not another time travel tale.