movrev: Stargate – The Ark of Truth

My son and I have watched every single Stargate episode (and have all the season except the last one) and my wife is not far behind. We are LARGE fans. But, lately, the show and it’s sister, Stargate Atlantis, have been spotty, with some major quality hiccups. I Stargate Ark of Truthalmost quit watching Atlantis when they had an episode where three characters fall into a hole in the ground and spend the whole episode trying to get out…very little SF, very little excitement (except with Rodney almost convinced Jewel Staite to take her shirt off to build a rope). That gets followed by an excellent “Teal’c meets Ronin” episode.

The addition of the Farscape due of Ben Browder and Claudia Black, while necessary, never matched the quality of the Richard Dean Anderson era shows. Browder and his character have come along, and the Ori vs. Ancients story arc was actually showing some promise.

Thus it was with high and low expectations that we watched the first of two (planned) direct-to-DVD movie “Stargate – The Ark of Truth” (the second is Stargate: Continuum, with Richard Dean Anderson supposedly back!). Since, for some reason they could not close out the Ori storyline in the final SciFi Channel season of Stargate, they wrapped it up in this 102 minute movie.

And it was not bad. Not bad at all.

When the series ended, Stargate Command believed they had killed the Ori, but had no way to verify. The Priors (blind priest-like dudes with heavily armed staff weapons) and their armies will still invading planets, working as if the Ori were still very much alive.

The Ark of Truth opens with a look back at the Ancients (Altarans), who have the Ark and are debating its dangerous usage against their foes vs. hiding it. Jet forward to the Stargate team who believe they have found the Ark, only to determine it is yet another cold archealogical trail. They are surrounded by Ori soldiers, led by Vala’s husband, Tomin with a Prior. Sam (scuse me, Colonel Carter) neutrailizes the Prior’s ability with nifty cool technology, and Mitchell kills the Prior. Tomin realizes that he’s been worshiping false gods (shades of Teal’c) and begins helping the Stargate gang. Tomin helps them work out a new possible location of the Ark (aided by Daniel’s “visions” planted by Merlin, the Altaran who possed Daniel for a while), which happens to be in the Ori galaxy through the super cool SuperGate.

The bureaucratic arm of the Stargate universe, the IOA, sends a former CIA Black Ops agent named Merrick. He accompanies the team plus Tomin on a ship (the Odyssey) through the SuperGate into the Ori galxy. He apparently has a”plan B” that he’s been authorized to use if the Ori are still there, and he starts it prematurely…it is the release of re-programmed Replicators.

To tell more would reveal spoilers…but appearances by Vala’s daughter (who is/was one of the Ori) and Morgan LeFay (one of the ascended Ancients) tie up most of the loose ends in the story line. The rehash of the Replicators is fun, but somewhat repetitive.

An excellent scene is a “how tough is Teal’c” segment, which used to be a staple of one or two shows per season in the good old days. There is also a great scene (well propagated around the Internet already) where Teal’c tells Tomin how to deal with committing atrocities in the name of false gods.

The effects were good, same caliber as the TV show (the Odyssey battlecruiser entering the SuperGate is a nice piece of special effects work). And that’s what this is: a 100 minute TV show released to DVD. Well worth watch.

Up next: the summer release of Stargate: Continuum.

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