Stargate - The Ark of Truth DVD: Review By Brian Gallagher

While the occaisonal relapses back into TV land are annoying, as a movie, Stargate: The Ark of Truth is a pretty damn good one that will surely satisfy fans of the series, and may just make new ones as well.
  • OVERALL
    4.5
    SUPERB
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
Smartly-done, giving newcomers the prelude to catch up, and just a damn-good movie that gives us the best parts of the television series into a movie format. The special features rock as well.
THE BAD
They occaisionally slip back into TV mode with some bad dialogue here and there and it gets annoying.
THE FEATURE
I reviewed the Season 10 DVD set of Stargate: SG-1, the last season of the show, almost 7 months ago, and while I don't remember a whole lot of it, I remember it being a solid season, but just the corny nature of television seemed to seep into the series perhaps moreso than others. There were just tons of corny dialogue, and while the story arcs of the episodes were usually pretty good (they had been on for 10 years after all...) it just seemed that they overplayed the humor aspect. That being said, I was quite pleasantly surprised with Stargate: The Ark of Truth, perhaps mainly because this wasn't for TV at all.

First of all, in case you didn't know, The Ark of Truth basically takes over from where SG-1 Season 10 left off. That being said, if you're new to this series as a whole... or watched Season 10 almost 7 months ago and kinda forgot what happened, then they have the perfect little brush-up tool. I have to say that I just LOVED that they added this little 20-minute prelude to the movie dubbed, Stargate: SG-1: The Road Taken Prequel to The Ark of Truth. This is basically the DVD form of Cliff's Notes, and this is a wonderful little montage of items from Season 10 that all apply to the movie. You can start the movie with this prelude before, and if you're rusty on the last season, it's a great refresher course that gets you all ready for the flick.

Oh yeah. The movie. Well, I wasn't quite sure what to think. I wasn't sure if they were going for a two-hour TV movie (i.e. extended series finale) or if they were going for the actual grander scale of cinema. In a way, they kind of did both. This very much feels like a movie in terms of the look, but the story you really do need reference to the show. I think the prelude gave me everything I needed to know, but I know there was a lot of backstory I was missing out on. But, although this does basically branch off of the last season, it does serve as a fully functioning movie as well, in terms of a three-act structure.

I was also impressed at the writing for this as well, in terms of dialogue. Robert C. Cooper's script, with development help from Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner, is devoid of almost all of the TV-like witty barbs, or perhaps their just written better. There was only one line that stuck out that harkened back to the series, "My grandma always said if you want to find honey, you look for the bees." "Sounds like a good way of getting stung to me." Yeah. I can almost hear the drum rimshot after that line... Still, while there is some humor here, it's more film-like humor, and the dramatic elements are ratcheted up as well for the film, and it really is a fine movie to watch.

Acting-wise, if you're a fan of the show, you likely won't be dissapointed with Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, Beau Bridges and everyone else on board. A fine job from a well-oiled machine.

While the occaisonal relapses back into TV land are annoying, as a movie, Stargate: The Ark of Truth is a pretty damn good one that will surely satisfy fans of the series, and may just make new ones as well.
THE EXTRAS
They start this off with the stand-alone Stargate SG:1: The Road Taken Prelude to The Ark of Truth, so if you didn't watch it before the movie, you can just watch it here.

Next up is a simply wonderful feature which is The Ark of Truth: Stargate at Comic-Con, which is the entire 20-minute panel of Stargate at the immensely popular San Diego convention. The panel features actors Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping (who looks just luscious here), Christopher Judge along with Ark of Truth director Robert Cooper and the next DVD, Continuum, director Martin Wood. It's even moderated by Gary Jones, the longtime Chief Master Sergeant Walter Harriman. It's really just a ton of fun to watch, just because the spirit of Comic-Con is so crazy-awesome, and if you're a fan of the show (which you obviously are if you're watching this) you'll probably play drinking games to this or something. They even have Christopher Judge, Amanda Tapping and Ben Browder do their best American Idol judges impersonations after a fan tried to sing a Stargate parody. There are a ton of great stories here, and it's just a blast to watch.

The only other real special feature here is The Making of Stargate: The Ark of Truth, which is pretty damn good too. It's rather comprehensive, going through several different aspects of the production. There's a rather remarkable part where they show this special clear gel that you can put on your skin and it will be totally resistant to fire. They put all this goop on the guy's bald head and literally shot a flamethrower on his head, and he was totally fine, with no burns or redness or anything. It's quite extraordinary. They go into other stuff like the fight scene between Ben Browder and Currie Graham. This half-hour featurette is simply a must-see for any fan of the series or the movie, and while this disc isn't chocked full of extras, the stuff we get is truly high-caliber stuff.
THE VIDEO
The film is presented through the "alternate widescreen" format, whatever that means, in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio.
THE AUDIO
The sound is handled through the Dolby Digital Surround format.
THE PACKAGE
Well, I just received a screener copy, but the front cover appears to be fairly simple with just a shot of the main cast members and the title card. Not sure what's on the back though.
THE FINAL WORD
While I doubt I'll run out to the store to pick up Seasons 1-9 of this series, I will say that I am looking forward to the Stargate team's next excursion onto DVD, Stargate: Continuum. If they keep the same sort of style and TV/movie hybrid formula going with Continuum, I'd really love to see a long-running DVD series with this whole space gang.

Do you like this review?

Comments