Stargate - Ark of Truth - Buy from Amazon
The first direct-to-DVD
follow-up to Stargate SG-1
, which was one of the most successful Science Fiction series
of all times, lasting 10 years, not to mention a second series, Stargate: Atlantis
. Since this is such a popular show, there are two questions that must be asked when reviewing it. Firstly, will fans of the show enjoy it? Secondly, will neophytes be able to get into it.
The show takes place after the events of series finale, which many fans found unsatisfying. But at least now we know why: the show isn't over. Because of this, there is no way to really talk about the movie effectively without going into way too many spoilers either for it or for the past two seasons. I will say that even if you are a fan of the early seasons but haven't watched seasons 9 and 10 yet, watch the prelude first. I can't emphasize that enough. If you have never seen the show ever, watching the prelude won't help explain a whole lot of what's going on, but it will answer a few questions you have. But to be honest, I don't think the movie works as a separate entity from the series. While you could probably walk in never having seen the show and enjoy it on one level, it won't be truly satisfying without knowing the full back-story.
As for fans of the show, they should love it. It has everything the show had, but bigger. Ark of Truth felt like it was operating on a larger scale. Part of this had to do with scope of the story as well as the bigger budget, more effects, etc. Also, part of this was due to the pacing. Because a TV episode has a very set runtime, you can't have shots linger, you can't afford to marvel at the size of a spaceship flying through space or watch as an imposing figure walks down a hallway, for instance. But with a movie that doesn't have a predetermined and very strict time limit, you can do this and this pacing makes the movie feel epic. Tighter pacing, which is often employed these days in movies, tends to make the final product feel cramped. Feel boxed in. Feel smaller than it should be. This isn't a problem here. This doesn't feel like a two-part episode, but it feels like a movie.
As for the extras, the DVD delivers. Things start off with an audio commentary track with writer / director / producer Robert Cooper, D.P. Peter Woeste, and actor Christopher Judge. (On a side note, there is no audio commentary on the prelude.) There is a lot of information here, the pace moves quickly and there are not very many dead spots, but they do pop up here or there. Worth listening to and it does have replay value. Other extras include a 30-minute making-of featurette called Uncovering the Ark of Truth that is the usual mix of talking heads, behind-the-scenes footage, and clips from the movie. (On a side note, Michael Shanks is interviewed wearing an old school, "Flying Skate" Canucks T-shirt, which makes him the coolest person on the show.) Finally, there's a 20-minute Q&A session at Comic-con.
Overall, fans of Stargate SG-1 should be very happy with Stargate - Ark of Truth and the DVD is certainly worth picking up for fans of the show. Newcomers to the franchise might get lost at times, but there's still enough that it's worth a rental. And if renting it makes you get into the show, all the better.
Looking forward to Continuum, which comes out this summer.