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Truth of the Ori
on June 5, 2009
The ending of the "Stargate SG-1" TV show left some threads dangling -- for one thing, the Ori were still threatening the world with conversion or death.
Fortunately that particular thread is decisively tied up in the direct-to-DVD movie that followed: "Stargate: The Ark of Truth" While it doesn't quite have the unique flavour of the TV series -- and the Ark seems like a rather pat quickie solution -- the movie does bring back all the favorite characters in a satisfactory ending.
"The Ark of Truth" is an Ancient device that brainwashes people -- and SG-1 is searching for it, where they run into Vala's ex-hubby Tomin (who ends up teaming up with them). But soon they have a lead on where the Ark might be, and head for Celestis in the hopes of finding a bloodless method of stopping the Ori once and for all.
Unfortunately they have a slew of new problems -- Ori motherships are approaching Earth with the intent to convert or destroy, a nasty IOA rep has created and loosed a very familiar enemy on the Odyssey, and Vala's malevolent daughter Adria has gained godlike power. Fortunately SG-1 has a powerful ally of their own.
Since "The Ark of Truth" is basically intended to wrap up loose ends, and as such they're not quite as satisfying as the television show was. Unfortunately it sometimes feels rather rushed and has a somewhat out-of-the-blue solution (hello magic fix-all!), as well as a subplot involving ANOTHER superpowerful villain race that seems likely but a bit misplaced.
But as half of the series finales, it's a solid piece of work -- lots of action, space battles, mysterious artifacts, and a way bigger budget that a TV episode would ever have allowed. Fortunately that budget doesn't mean it jettisons the intriguing twists (Adria has an unexpected new position) or the moral dilemmas raised by the Ark (and the question of fighting evil faux gods vs. their followers).
It also has excellent scripting: plot threads drawn from the TV series, "Star Trek" homages, witty dialogue ("Well, you don't expect me to remember." "With the fate of two galaxies hanging in the balance, yes, I expect you to remember the essential clue!"), and some nice quiet moments, such as Teal'c talking with Tomin about their bloodstained pasts.
And seeing the actors as their SG-1 characters is like putting on a comfortable old shoe. Amanda Tapping and Michael Shanks are suitably brilliant and courageous, and Ben Browder does a good strong, slightly quirky soldier. Christopher Judge gets to shine in as a powerful, wise warrior, and Black gets to be both funny ("I have broken every nail") and emotional.
While it's a bit rushed and contrived, "Stargate: The Ark of Truth" is a solid enough finale to the Ori storyline. Only half the ending to go.