Children of the Gods: Final Cut
Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods - Final Cut is a recut of the pilot episode for the popular science fiction television series Stargate SG-1. This version features new special effects, alternative scenes, and a few other adjustments. For those unfamiliar with the series, it was based on the 1994 film Stargate. A combination of scientists and military personnel unlocked something called a stargate, which allowed them to travel to distant worlds. The series followed the adventures of an elite team that ventured into different worlds, faced alien enemies, and made new discoveries. It ran for ten seasons from 1997 to 2007 and had two direct-to-video movies. For more information about the series, please 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, season 10, Ark of Truth, and Continuum.
As previously mentioned, "Children of the Gods" is the pilot episode for Stargate SG-1's first season. The episode takes place after the events of the 1994 film. The original mission was led by Lieutenant Jack O'Neill and Dr. Daniel Jackson. Through the stargate, they found a planet called Abydos and killed a tyrant named Ra. At the end of the mission, Jackson stayed behind with the people of Abydos and O'Neill falsified his reports in order to protect the existence of the innocent lives on Abydos. As the episode begins, a group of aliens come through the stargate. They kidnap a female airman and kill some of her peers. As a direct result, O'Neill is brought on site and debriefed again about his trip through the stargate. He reveals that he did not nuke the planet and Jackson is still alive on the other side.
From this moment, O'Neill is given a new mission to go to Abydos and look for clues about a new threat and to find the kidnapped airman. He is teamed up with some of his former teammates and Captain Samantha Carter. When they arrive in Abydos, they are reunited with Jackson and the people of Abydos. As they look for clues, some of the people of Abydos are kidnapped, which includes Jackson's wife and a boy close to O'Neill. This act makes the situation personal. Carter and Jackson are able to figure out additional secrets of the stargate and how to use it to travel to other worlds. They travel to where their people were taken. As the episode continues, O'Neill and team are forced to fight for their lives and race against clock, before a nuclear weapon is unleashed in the event that they fail to return through the stargate.
For the most part, the final cut of "Children of the Gods" offers a similar experience to the original pilot episode. I did not find that there were really a lot of major differences to make it a completely new experience. However, that is not to say final cut is without noticeable changes. There is a new music score, which makes it feel more in line with the television series versus a pilot episode. Teal'c's voice was dubbed to match the remainder of the series, which does leave an impact.
Beyond, there were many other modifications to the episode. Some are smaller than others, but they are there. For example, there is a different opening title sequence versus original that went directly into the scene with the airmen playing poker and showed the television series' credit sequence after the first scene. The opening sequence was also edited. The female airman does not walk up to the gate before the wormhole is established. The scene also moves into the fight scene much sooner. Throughout the episode, there are many other minor alterations. For instance, when O'Neill is shown the dead Jaffa, the doctor also unveils a dead female Jaffa, which was not in the original pilot.
Overall, "Children of the Gods" is a decent cut. If you have not seen the show yet, it is a good way to get an idea of what it is all about. On the other hand, if you already own the first season on DVD, then it really does not change the viewing experience enough to warrant re-purchasing the pilot episode. In the end, it will make a good rental.
example of new visual effects: original versus final cut