The 1994 film Stargate was the beginning of the Sci-Fi Channel's longest running science fiction television show Stargate SG-1. The series aired for ten seasons from 1997 to 2007. Following the news that the series would not be renewed for an eleventh season, it was announced that there would be two direct-to-DVD feature films made, Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum. "The Ark of Truth" concluded an open-ended story arc from the series. "Continuum" is the second film and focuses on the villain Ba'al. For a quick and dirty, "Continuum" is fun, but it does not offer anything new. It feels like a double-length episode. Nevertheless, fans will enjoy it. If you are new to the Stargate universe, then refer to DVD Talk's reviews of Stargate SG-1: season 1, season 2, season 3, season 4, season 5, season 6, season 7, season 8, season 9, and season 10. This review assumes you have background with the show's main characters and general premise.
Stargate: Continuum's story is based on time travel and a sinister plot enacted by Ba'al (Cliff Simon). Ba'al was one of several self-proclaimed gods. Most notably, he cloned himself and gave SG-1 a run for their money. Continuum" begins with last of the Ba'al clones in captivity. The Jaffa and the Tok'ra are holding a sacred ceremony to remove the Gou'ald parasite from the host. SG-1 goes to Dakara to witness the ceremony. As the ceremony comes to a close, Ba'al announces that he is not the last. The real Ba'al is still out there and his fail plan is about to be enacted.
When Ba'al's sinister plan goes into effect, things get dicey. Almost randomly, people disappear into thin air, Teal'c (Christopher Judge) and Vala (Claudia Black) included. Carter (Amanda Tapping), Mitchell (Ben Browder), and Daniel (Michael Shanks) have no clue what is going on and rush to the gate to get back to Earth before they disappear into nothingness. After gating to Earth, they do not arrive at Stargate Command, but a freezing cold desolate area. As it turns out, Ba'al traveled back to 1939 to stop the freighter ship Achilles.
After Ba'al stoped the Achilles, the United States military never took possession of a stargate and the Stargate program never launched. Carter, Mitchell, and Daniel enter an alternate version of the world they know. Unfortunately, they are stuck underground in a partially sunken ship in the Arctic. After barely surviving, they are found by a special operations team. Leading the team is Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson). Their meeting is awkward, because he does not know them. In the aftermath, Carter, Mitchell, and Daniel are interrogated. They try to convince President Hayes (William Devane), General Hammond (Don Davis), and General Landry (Beau Bridges) about the Gou'ald threat. Despite their warning, they are separated and put into civilian lives with restrictions.
As the story continues, they have difficulty adjusting to their new lives and being separated from each other. However, everything changes when Ba'al makes an appearance. SG-1 is called back into action to stop him. It is at this point that Vala and Teal'c reenter the story as villains. They are at Ba'al's side. Vala is the Gou'ald Qetesh and suspicious of Ba'al's true intentions. Teal'c serves as Ba'al's first prime in hope of freeing the Jaffa. SG-1 has to fight their friends and overcome the odds to fix the past and save the present/future.
Overall, "Continuum" is a pretty fun story. Part of what gives its edge is how it draws elements/aspects from different TV seasons. There is a lot of action, old and new characters, historical Stargate SG-1 plotlines clashing with new ones, and other tidbits that give it a feeling that fans can appreciate. However, at the same time it is nothing new. The general premise of time travel and alternate realities is nothing new to the show. In this respect, the movie comes off as an almost generic double-length episode. There is also some disappointment from the under use of characters like Vala and Teal'C. However, it was great to see old faces like Jack O'Neill back in action. In the end, "Continuum" is an enjoyable movie that works for what it is. It was a huge improvement over "Ark of Truth". However, it is not Stargate at its best.
The video is given in an anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color format. The picture quality is hard to gauge. The copy I have in possession is not the retail version. It is a special screener copy for review purposes only. For this reason, it is impossible to judge the actual picture quality.
The audio track in this release is in English 5.1 Dolby digital surround and dubbed tracks in French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby stereo sound. In general, the sound quality is good and it provides an audible and clean track. The dialogue is usually a little flat while music and sound effects come off rich and vibrant. Additionally the 5.1 track is dynamic and makes good use of the surround sound capability. There are subtitles included for English, Spanish, and French.
- Audio Commentary: is included for the feature with Brad Wright and Martin Wood.
- The Making of Stargate Continuum (22:34): is a behind the scenes featurette. As the title states, it is about the making of the movie. It stars individuals like Martin Wood, Brad Wright, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Richard Dean Anderson, Christopher Judge, and others. It begins with discussion about how the movie addressed so many different aspects of the series. There are some interesting comments made during the reminiscing and retrospective. The remainder of the feature focuses on the making of "Continuum".
- Stargate Goes to the Arctic (21:52): is a featurette with Brad Wright, Martin Wood, Barry Campbell (ALPIS Officer), Robert K. Anderson (Commander, U.S. Navy, Director), and some others. It opens with a dialogue about getting setup to do the shooting in the Arctic, including how the idea came about. The rest of the featurette provides behind the scenes footage of filming in the Arctic. Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Ben Browder, Michael Shanks, and others appear.
- The Layman's Guide to Time Travel (9:19): stars Jaymie Matthews. He has a PhD in astrophysics and talks about time travel. He begins by using an analogy of a car and how time as we know it works.
- Trailers: are included for Stargate The Ark of Truth, Fantastic Four: Season 1, Stargate Worlds, and X-Files.
Stargate: Continuum is the second direct-to-video from following the cancellation of Stargate SG-1. "Continuum" is a time travel episode with an alternate reality, the sinister Ba'al, and a few of the SG-1 team members faced with a difficult task: to repair the past to save the present/future. Overall, the film is enjoyable for what it is. It does not offer new content and feels like a double-length episode. Fans of the show will definitely want to check it out and newcomers will want to start with season one. This movie makes many references to the TV series that viewers will want to be familiar with.