Movie Review: Stargate: Continuum

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An old enemy travels back in time to prevent the Stargate on Earth ever being found, thereby leaving Earth defenceless in the present day.

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Martin Wood, 2008

Shortly before dying, one of the clones of the Goa’uld Ba’al (Cliff Simon) reveals to the SG-1 team that the original Ba’al has an evil plot in store. Moments later, the team and their surroundings start disappearing. Led by soldier Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder), the humans in the team – himself, Air Force Colonel Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), and archeologist Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) return to Earth, only to find that everything has changed. The ship carrying the Stargate from Egypt to America was sunk by Ba’al years earlier, causing humans to never venture out into the universe. While Sam, Daniel and Cameron struggle to adjust to life in the new Earth, Ba’al sets his master plan in motion.

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This is a strange one. As an episode of Stargate, although it deals with a lot of typically Stargate-y things (time travel, alternate realities, time travel, evil Goa’uld plots) and does away with the less interesting Ori plot, it isn’t quite as exciting as Ark of Truth, possibly because it’s pretty obvious where the plot is going from very early on. It looks great, though, and works much better as a self-contained movie than Ark of Truth does. Not a great deal of knowledge of the show is necessary, and there’s plenty of exposition for the parts that are. It brings back all the old gang, even fan favourite MacGyver Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), though it really only makes use of the trio and the fantastically charismatic Cliff Simon as Ba’al. Initially a minor baddie, Ba’al proved so popular that he was brought back on numerous occasions, alternating between helping and hindering the SG-1 team. Unfortunately he was significantly defanged thanks to this flip-flopping, leading him to be more of an amusing nuisance than a genuine threat – even in this film it takes a serious plot twist to make the threat seem viable. There’s a criminal underuse of Claudia Black as Vala, the most interesting member of SG-1. Beau Bridges’ Hank Landry was never as good a leader of the Stargate program as the wonderful Hammond or O’Neill in his brief reign, and he never quite seemed to fit with the team no matter how he was shoehorned in; the same holds true here.

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This film was sadly lacking in Ba’al jokes. Maybe because they lacked the Ba’als. Cliff Simon as Ba’al.

The plot is, as I mentioned, painfully predictable, but it is nice to see the team back together. The show was always good at fulfilling the sci-fi edict of speculative fiction – they take the “what if”s to their ends and use them to explore interesting sides of characters we know and love. Unfortunately we don’t get to see any of the main trio’s doubles, which is a crying shame, as Stargate’s best time travel episodes “Moebius 1 & 2” had the most delightful versions of two of those characters imaginable. It’s a fitting end for the team, though, especially the bookend scenes at the separation of Ba’al’s host and the Goa’uld worm inside him (which is a pretty great element of body horror that the series had going for it from the start). Even Daniel isn’t as annoying as he could be, and the reunion seems to be fun for everyone. It would’ve been a lot more fun if there had been more twists and turns, more unpredictability, but it’s solid enough.

Stargate: Continuum on IMDb

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2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Stargate: Continuum

  1. I have a love/hate relationship with Continuum. The major trouble with time travel episodes is there’s always a reset, meaning that though it might explore interesting avenues, there’s rarely any real consequences.

    I find the movie fairly boring. With the team out of action to preserve the timeline, we’re stuck with simply waiting around for Baal’s inevitable attack. There’s a small attempt to show how uncomfortable Sam, Cameron and Daniel are in this situation, but nothing throws up any conflict. Meanwhile the most interesting aspect – Baal’s relationship with Qetesh – goes completely unaddressed.

    In fact, Baal’s plan as a whole isn’t addressed in any way that’s satisfactory. The last we see of him during the series is trying to get a hold over the Ori. No reason is given for his sudden interest in subjugating Earth (though it is not without its charms, heh). It doesn’t make much sense, though it does mean we get several entertaining scenes, because Baal is always fun to watch (especially in that sleeveless top…)

    Qetesh is fun as well, but again, little time is given to her. She provides a nice contrast between the usual self-serving, somewhat psychopathic Goa’uld and the much-tempered Baal. That she is his downfall is almost the most interesting part of the movie.

    Sadly what IS the most interesting concept is given absolutely no screentime whatsoever. Having removed Baal from his host, we get to see nothing of his recovery. Not that I’m surprised – the Goa’uld have always been very disposable villains in SG-1, with the writers fudging the fact that their defeat basically boils down to racial cleansing. The lack of follow-up strikes me as a huge loss of fodder (though there’s always fanfiction).

    Tl;dr version – Baal is hot and gets the best lines, the rest of the movie is boring.

    • I don’t know how it was intended, but it comes across as though they just wanted to get everyone together and bring Ba’al back because they like him. I agree, the Ba’al/Qetesh dynamic is by far the most interesting and underused part of the movie. It’s fun to see Claudia Black stretch her acting muscles (cuz she’s so damn good), but there was really only one decent scene between the two of them. Actually, it seems like Ba’al basically did it to mess with SG-1, which a) must be disappointing when they don’t even know about it and b) might be why he feels like such a toothless villain. It’s more like an elaborate prank than an evil scheme.

      The racial cleansing aspect of defeating the Goa’uld is a real problem, although you have the Tok’ra to balance that. The Tok’ra and the Goa’uld are technically the same race, right? Only the Tok’ra aren’t dicks about the whole worm-in-stomach thing. They’re more like the Trill on Star Trek.

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

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