I’m not going to spend any time in this piece telling you about the characters, actors, or plots of the new Stargate direct to DVD film The Ark Of Truth. Honestly, if you are not up to speed you will be totally lost here and have zero chance of even remotely enjoying the ride. For the show’s fans, I think you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that The Ark Of Truth is basically a perfect extended episode of the series. There is a prelude that provides the “story so far” in flashbacks from the series, but let’s face it, Stargate ran for 10 years and it wasn’t really known for its uncomplicated story threads to begin with. Likely instead of catching you up, the prelude will leave you with even more questions. This is not the place to jump on board the Stargate journey. And no, having seen the original film will do you no good at all. If you find yourself suddenly interested in the franchise, go back and start at the beginning. Trust me, the time will be well spent.
When The Sci-Fi channel in their infinitely lacking wisdom decided to cancel Stargate SG-1 they did so without leaving the show’s producers and writers with enough time to finish the story the show had been telling for the last 2 years. To their credit, these folks never attempted to cram a quick solution down our throats. Instead they pretty much went about their business and finished the series run with an episode appropriately named Unending. The idea from that point was to release 2 Stargate films in the DVD format. The first of these is Ark Of Truth, and it is intended to finally finish the Ori story thread. The second film which arrives this summer will be a standalone time travel film that I still believe will require you to be initiated into the fold beforehand. As much credit as is deserved for avoiding the time crunch of rushing a resolution, unfortunately Ark Of Truth ends up being too compressed and rushed anyway. There’s a lot going on here, and the ending is far more convenient and contrived than Stargate fans have come to expect. I could not help the feeling that an entire season was being crammed into a little less than 90 minutes. A longer form would have been better but likely was cost prohibitive.
The Ark Of Truth, while playing out very much like a typical episode, does offer things the series was never able to do. The show was no longer confined to the locations in
Ark Of Truth is presented in a 1.78:1 wide aspect ratio. The video quality is pretty much on par with the release of the series. I was a little disappointed we didn’t get a little bump in quality as there weren’t 4 episodes and extras crammed on one disc. Still, the picture is pretty clean. Most of it is dark, so colors don’t necessarily jump off the screen; however, there are moments like when Adria is bursting into flame that are quite brilliant and flashy. Black levels are a little better than average but are flawed at times by some nasty compression artifact throughout.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track was again very much a good representation of the series but not as spectacular as I would have hoped. There are tremendous opportunities for wonderful surrounds and deep booming subs, but none of that ever really materialized in the audio. Dialog is always easy to understand. The Joel Goldsmith score is quite impressive at times but again suffers from a lack of dynamic range in the presentation. I’d love to hear this perhaps on Blu-ray with an uncompressed lossless presentation.
There is also a commentary track Christopher Judge, Robert C. Cooper, and Peter Woeste. They provide pleasant banter throughout and obviously enjoyed the shoot and spending time together. You’ll get a lot of cutting up from Judge.
Stargate At ComicCon: The group participated in a panel at the famed ComicCon in
If you’ve read my reviews enough, you know how much I love the Stargate franchise. You can search and find reviews on all of the DVD releases to date. I won’t deny expecting a lot more here and being, perhaps, a little disappointed. Still, the film rocked with tons of adventure and at least an adequate finale to the Ori story. It is my hope that going forward the series will find new life in DVD releases and perhaps eventually the big screen. I hope that the crew won’t be discouraged by the fact that outsiders will not understand what in the hell’s going on so will likely be harsh in their reviews. You even have to deal with raised expectations like mine that might taint an otherwise solid film. While none of these things are necessarily your fault, keep on makin’ them and “just take the blame, you’ll get used to it”.