As a kid I can remember watching and enjoying the Stargate feature film. Years later when it spawned not one but two TV shows, I was getting out of my sci-fi phase and cared less and less about what happened in that world of film and TV. Star Wars was slowly losing my interest and after the wreck that was Enterprise, my desire to watch Star Trek took a nosedive. Still, Stargate SG-1 was always intriguing to watch whenever I’d see it on and with so many of the people I converse with online watching it, I felt like I should have started watching it. With the first DTV from the series releasing, I figured now was as good a time as any—although I’m not sure how much of smart idea it was jumping into the series on its first DTV after ten seasons.
Stargate: The Ark of Truth picks up where the series left off, which may seem daunting to those who are fresh to the series. The plot revolves around the Ark of Truth, an object that SG-1 is trying to find and use to help bring the oppressive Ori down once and for all. While in the midst of finding the ark, SG-1 learns that the Ori are planning a full scale attack on Earth. To compound matters, a rogue operative is aboard the SG-1 homebase, Odyssey, and is stirring up trouble for the entire team. Amidst all of the metallic replicators (machines that continue to reproduce even after being destroyed, causing endless waves) and double-crossing agent, SG-1 must find and unleash the full power of the Ark of Truth in order to save mankind.
Obviously the main point of the film is to wrap up what the series couldn’t. With ten seasons worth of history behind it, it’s no big surprise that regardless if you watch the prelude included on the disc you’re still going to feel somewhat lost. Technology that was gradually developed over the course of the series is now in full blown use here and if you haven’t seen any of the series before, you’re likely to be completely lost as to not only what’s going on, but who is in charge of what and why.
Not to say Ark of Truth isn’t fun, it’s just very unfriendly to new visitors. There’s little here that’s going to reward any newcomers and that’s the films biggest flaw. While I fully appreciate the need to wrap up the series, to make it the films first DTV seems rather odd from a marketing standpoint. I’m sure it’ll sell well enough from fan purchases alone, but if the studio was hoping to bring in any new blood to the series, they’ll likely have alienated them. As entertaining as the film was, it definitely didn’t make me want to watch more of the series.
After talking to a few of the people I know that watch the series apparently this whole “Ori Saga” big was one of the weaker stories to ever grace the series, so it’s unfortunate they had to use a DTV to wrap it up. Still it’s no doubt a big treat for fans and those of other sci-fi shows such as Firefly you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the appearance of Morena Baccarin, even though her role in the film is much less what it was in the series. I was also surprised to see Julian Sands, who played a terrorist in season five of 24 show up. Even if I wasn’t completely clear on what was going on, the actors made it all very enjoyable.
Overall fans will get the most out of this one and casual viewers will likely be totally lost. It’s a shame it’s not a bit more accessible but for fans of the genre it’s still a decent ride. I’d recommend catching up on the series before watching this DTV, however—it’ll be all that richer if you actually know who everyone is and why the Ori are such a problem in SG-1’s time. Recommended for the fans, Rent It if you have a casual interest.
While it’s been on DVD for some time now, Fox is just now releasing this first Stargate DTV on Blu-ray. One imagines it’s because Continuum had awesome sales or something, but whatever the reason fans can now grab ahold of this first film on Blu-ray. The set itself arrives in a standard Elite Blu-ray case with a reflective foil o-ring cover (curiously enough, my cover came with a sticker denoting that it was a Blu-ray, as well as two of the same sticker stating that this was “The Feature-Length Conclusion to the Ori Saga Only on DVD.” Some format confusion going on there, but no real big deal; there is inserts inside of the usual fair (advertisements, firmware update notice).
Video and audio are going to be what draw fans to this Blu-ray release, as the extras presented here are identical. The AVC encoded (@33.5mbps) video is quite impressive, although it suffers from the same kind of low-production qualities that Continuum fell prey to. There is some softness in the picture as well as grain, but overall it’s a solid visual from beginning to end, but it’s nothing that will absolutely stun the viewer. The audio, a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, is similarly well done with decent channel separation and surround usage; there was some deeper subwoofer activity here as well, as I don’t remember some of the elements being as forceful on DVD, but then again it has been almost a year since I originally saw it so I may just not be remembering right.
The extras on this release are short but sweet. A full length commentary by director Robert C. Cooper, cinematographer Peter Woeste and actor Christopher Judge is included and the trio makes for an interesting and informative commentary. There’s some fun banter about fans included and overall it seems like they had a great time making the film. Plenty of fun technical information and behind the scenes information is dropped over the course of the film, so fans will want to give this a listen.
The next three extras are entertaining as well. The prelude (9:05) recaps past SG-1 seasons to catch us up on what has happened that brought us to the events of Ark of Truth. Honestly this recap felt so tidy and wrapped up in itself that I don’t think it really explained too much. The only thing it really explained was where Baccarin’s character came from and she was barely even in the film to begin with. Still it’s good to watch before the DTV as it will give you some back-story, which will be required if you don’t know anything about the show. The next extra is the making of documentary, “Uncovering the Ark of Truth” (29:43). There is plenty of behind-the-scenes footage to enjoy here and we have plenty of elements that show us just how well the cast and crew get together on the show. The final extra is “The Ark of Truth – Stargate at Comic Con” (19:52) a hilarious and informative panel from SDCC. There are a lot of great moments to be had here and while the video quality is questionable, it’s well worth watching. Like I said before, my viewing of Stargate was limited, but even I found this panel highly enjoyable.
That wraps up the extras for this release. It’s a decent selection and the included commentary helps stave off any feelings of incompleteness that one might have after viewing the film. It’s a solid release and I’m sure fans will love it. Like the film, however, the set is clearly focused towards fans of the show, as, no matter how in-depth a prelude gets, there’s simply too much history this show is riding on to really feel easily accessible to new viewers. It’s a fun ride, but I doubt this DTV alone will bring in new viewers. Recommended for the fans but a definite Rental for those with just a casual interest; previous owners of the DVD take note that there isn’t anything new here to grab your attention, so whether you upgrade is solely based upon your want/need to have it in high-definition.
Stargate: The Ark of Truth is now available on Blu-ray.