Spoilers below. Many many spoilers.
There are three Stargate SG-1 direct-to-DVD “movies”:
The Ark of Truth (2008) – watch if you liked season 9 and season 10
This is the finale for the season 9-10 arc (Fargate: The Ori as I call it). The end of the arc is an Ark filled with Truth that fixes everything, more or less.
See e.g. Wikipedia – The Ark of Truth
Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods – Final Cut (2009) – skip
This is basically a money-grab after the end of the series. It’s just the 2-part premiere recut with some new effects and bowdlerized a bit.
See Stargate Wikia for more info.
Stargate: Continuum (2008) – skip
This is a bit of an odd creation. It’s after the end of the series. It has almost all the original cast, including Don S. Davis and Richard Dean Anderson. But it doesn’t work.
Whether consciously or not, the theme chosen for this movie is of a long difficult journey ending in disappointment. Perhaps the reflects writer mood or writer disappointment, I don’t know.
The movie should be a funny celebratory reunion. Without Jack as part of the main plot threads this is hard to do, but still they could have tried. Basically Harriman gets the only funny line at the very beginning, celebrating finally getting a parking spot. When they meet old friends in the Ba’Alternate Universe, those characters are angry and/or dismissive. Where’s the fun in that?
Also Jackson swears, for no discernable reason. This takes away from family-friendliness for the movie.
Anyway, off we go…
Journey 1: The expanded SG-1 team has been listening to the crimes of Ba’al being chanted by the Tok’ra for three hours.
Arc close for journey 1: The symbiote is removed and wriggles on the floor a bit.
It really diminishes the 10-year-struggle to a snake-thing helpless on the floor. The reaction of “that’s it?” pretty much sums up all of the journeys in this movie.
Journey 2: Jack is dead, Vala and Teal’c have disappeared.
Sam, Dr. Jackson and Ben Browder um Cameron Mitchell are stuck in a freezing dark ship, about to freeze to death.
The ship which had been sailing from Egypt to the USA rather improbably has drifted into the Arctic and been frozen there for 69 years despite having a giant near-waterline hole in its side
They improbably find extreme-cold-weather gear from the 1939 ship that is improbably in fine condition and fits perfectly.
They blow a hole in the hold, in the hole that was already there.
Journey 3: Dr. Jackson’s foot/leg is frozen so they leave him there on the ice to die. Sam and Cameron walk south. For a long time.
The thing is, they actually are in the Arctic – Stargate SG-1’s tradition of filming in real locations continues:
The cast of Stargate: Continuum headed north to film scenes for the movie in the Arctic. Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, and Richard Dean Anderson shot in the sub-zero climate at the U.S. Navy’s Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station (APLIS) from March 23 to 29, 2007. The station — a joint venture between the University of Washington and the U.S. Navy — is located approximately 200 nautical miles north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
from Gateworld – Stargate: Continuum
(Well, except for Dr. Jackson.)
Due to a scheduling conflict, actor Michael Shanks was unavailable to shoot the scenes in the Arctic. However Dr.Daniel Jackson was on the boat with ColonelCameron Mitchell and ColonelSamantha Carter in the preceding scenes. In order to make his disappearance plausible, writer Brad Wright decided that Jackson would develop frostbite after stepping in water and be unable to continue with the others.
from Stargate Wikia – Stargate: Continuum
But the sum total of this actual Arctic expedition is… they walk. In the snow. For a long time. Until Sam wants to give up.
Seriously? You go to the Arctic and the entire result of your filming is people in endurance gear walking in the snow?
But wait, there’s more. When the submarine surfaces from under the ice, it’s an actual submarine actually surfacing – the U.S.S. Alexandria
Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2007, a joint U.S. Navy/Royal Navy training event on and under the Arctic ice turned Hollywood when Stargate SG-1 cast members headed north to film aboard USS Alexandria (SSN 757) after the nuclear-powered attack submarine punched through the polar ice pack March 28.
ICEX played the perfect part in the film “Stargate: Continuum,” serving as the backdrop for the movie as the 360-foot, 7,100-ton submarine surfaced from the frigid depths through the ice launching the conning tower under a giant “X,” right on cue.
and when there are scenes on the sub, they are on the actual sub
on board the Los Angeles class submarine on loan from the Navy. Even the vessel’s real Captain and crew got in on the action, and were incorporated into the film.
The entire trip was made possible by A.P.L.I.S. commander Barry Campbell — himeself a big fan of Stargate — who approached Wood, Smith, and Stargate director Andy Mikita while they were signing autographs at the Vancouver Stargate convention in 2005.
This would all be supercool… except it just isn’t.
They abandon Daniel, they have a long walk in the (real) snow, they are rescued when a (real) submarine really surfaces from under the ice, and then… basically they meet cranky Ba’Alternate Reality Jack.
(Daniel has already been rescued by the sub. Don’t think too much about how they could have rescued him quickly yet not just caught up with Sam and Cameron walking through the snow.)
I seriously got a bigger sense of drama and relief from Carter and O’Neill trapped in fake-Antarctica (Solitudes 1×17) than from them actually in the Arctic and in a real submarine.
Journey 4: A jumble of interrogation scenes ending with…
angry General Landry banishing them all to live in obscurity.
(Did I mention that every journey in this movie ends with disappointment?)
Journey 5: They all spend a year doing… basically… nothing.
Finally after a year Ba’al arrives and they are summoned to meet the President and General Hammond is there and… he doesn’t know them and reacts impassively and dismissively (in his very brief interaction).
Journey 6: They fly to Antarctica… but on their way there is it blown up, so they turn around and fly to Russia.
Did I mention this movie is all long journeys?
Yes, they are real jets, but again… it doesn’t do anything for the movie.
the U.S. Air Force delivered a pair of F-15 fighter jets (from the 173rd Operations Group out of Klamath Falls, Oregon) to be used in the movie. Browder, Tapping, and Shanks were joined in the cockpit for two days by executive producer and Continuum writer Brad Wright
When they get to the Russia gate… there’s just an incompetent Russian guard.
Seriously, that’s our reward for this journey? Not even a cameo for Marina Sirtis?
Journey 7: They go to the time machine (which is at least a cool idea) and…
all die. Except for Cameron Mitchell.
Journey 8: Cameron Mitchell waits from 1929 to 1939 (mercifully we don’t have to endure this part) all to shoot people coming through the gate on the ship. Then he presumably lives his life out in obscurity.
There’s some kinda “the Henderson’s” suggestion of him being on a farm that his future self visits but I can’t be bothered to sort out whether it’s a thread worth examining.
The end (after Journey 8 we close the arc on Journey 1 and we’re done).
(If you want, you can consider Journey 9 to be Ba’al spending 70 years building up his forces just to be stabbed at his moment of triumph, yet another long journey ending in disappointment.)
All in all, a flat, non-SG1 movie. You get to see fan-fave secondary characters again (Apophis, Yu) but only briefly and without any entertainment value. Although Apophis does at least get an ok line in before he gets the top of his head cut off.
For all their work with real locations and real military hardware, the plot just wasn’t any fun.
They really needed it to be more of a Goa’uld planet adventure to have any of the flavour of the original arc of the series. And they would have needed a lot more Jack. It just doesn’t work.