Stargate SG-1: The Ark of Truth

March 23rd, 2008

So I’m reasonably sure this is the first time I’ve reviewed a Direct-to-DVD feature.  I’m also sort of live-blogging it, which is another first, but I really feel like my book backlog is too absurd to tackle right now, and I’d like to get something on this site before too much more time has passed. This is a continuation of the Stargate SG-1 Ori saga that occupied the show’s last couple of seasons before it ended last year, and there’s a “Prelude” recap that does a decent job summing up the relevant events if you feel like you’ve been away from the show for too long.  The movie opens with a lot of helicopter shots of majestic snow covered mountains, backed by the still stirring strings and chant of the original movie’s main theme.  It then reveals that this is not earth, but a world populated by the Ancients long ago and far away.  They have developed a weapon called the Ark of Truth that could force the Ori to capitulate, but refuse to use it for (not unreasonable) ethical reasons. Flash to present day on Dakara, a sacred world to the Jaffa, and the capitol of their fledgling government up until the Ori blew it to bits, and apparently the final resting place of the Ark’s shipping crate, which SG-1 has discovered.  Vala is bitchy because she hates the desert…something which I sympathize with, but she’s still obnoxious.  Whoops, here come the Ori!  Oh, and Sam is with SG-1.  So I guess this is set some time ago, seeing as she’s “now” the commander of Atlantis in the Pegasus galaxy. I don’t think it’s a huge spoiler to let you know they get out of that initial encounter, and that they discover that the Ark wasn’t ever really on Dakara, because it wouldn’t be much of a plot-token quest if they started with the plot-token, would it?  Instead the team heads off on a familiar wild McGuffin hunt, with some shooting and pseudo-archeological stuff doubtless in store, and a couple of new faces (including a new IOA advisor, from an organization that apparently interviews candidates based on assholery score) join a few other familiar ones on the trip. The movie does a good job of taking the elements that made the series worth watching and stitching them together into a continuous story arc that feels much more movie-like in scope than just a double length episode would have, but there are some unfortunate bits that feel very TV.  The entire storyline that occupies Mitchell and Carter for most of the film, for one, and the absurd T’ealc trek through the wilderness, for another.  Capping those, though, were (rot-13) gur fhcre, hygen-ynzr ercyvpngbe-pbagebyyrq qhqr…ernyyl.  Ubj vf guvf thl zber onqnff guna gjb be guerr abezny, rirelqnl ercyvpngbef?  V’yy gryy lbh: ur’f abg.  Nyfb, senaxyl, gur irel ynfg fprar jnf jnl gbb GI.  Vg jnf n tbbq jnl gb raq gur frevrf, ohg n fuvggl raqvat sbe n zbivr.  But really…never mind that the entire thing is a quest to bring about a literal Deus ex Machina resolution…that’s nothing new to the SG-1 franchise.  Those few beefs aside, this is a good SG-1 story, and it puts to bed some very nagging loose ends that the series was unable to tie up.  If you were a fan of this show through to its end, then I’d recommend picking this up.  If you weren’t, well, you probably wouldn’t get much out of it.

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