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.