Stargate Atlantis, Fans’ Choice, Blu-ray (2009)
“Rising” (feature-length series pilot); “Enemy at the Gate” (series finale)
Starring: Joe Flanigan, David Hewlett, Rachel Luttrell, Amanda Tapping
Studio: Fox/MGM [Release date: August 4, 09]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 color 1080i HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French or Spanish DD 5.1, DD 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Length: Rising: 88 min.; Enemy: 46 min.
So far the entire series of the Stargate spin-off Stargate Atlantis has not been issued on DVD, but MGM had fans of the series vote on which two episodes from the series they would most like to see on DVD and Blu-ray and this is it. The two top favorites were the original pilot for the series, which has added material to bring it to feature length, plus the grand finale episode which wound up the series. There are no extras and navigation to the individual chapters is very frustrating in the navigation menu.
I loved the original Stargate feature film and viewed a few episodes of the Stargate SG-1 TV series, but had never seen any of the Atlantis series, which fans usually find not as good as SG-1. I found the pilot very enjoyable because it continued on from the end of the feature film, except that the commander of the Stargate headquarters in Wyoming was not present – mentioned as on another project or something. A team of scientists are now working in the under-Antarctica settlement that was left behind by superior aliens millions of years ago. They discover there is a way to use the Stargate to travel to the legendary city of Atlantis, the main domicile of the long-gone aliens. (Never mind that Atlantis is on earth and I thought the Stargate was only for traveling thru worm holes to distant galaxies) They use it and arrive there to find it abandoned long ago and their presence depleting the power source that keeps the water from inundating the sunken city. Then a new enemy appears, who is a threat to everyone in the Pegasus Galaxy – the cannibalistic Wraiths. The team Stargates to a distant planet of people who have been trying to escape the Wraith for generations, and take them back to Atlantis. Of course the Wraith attack is defeated and the new star and replacement for Richard Dean Anderson is Joe Flanigan, who is introduced as Anderson’s copter pilot – who miraculously has “the right genes” to operate the aliens’ special chair controlling the entire base. The actor playing the team’s top scientist reminded me so much of Frasier that it was distracting.
I was frankly lost during some of Enemy at the Gate, not having followed the Stargate Atlantis series. And there was nothing in the extras explaining what had gone on as with some other series. Two people who the team had saved from a planet dominated by the Wraith in the pilot are now full-fledged and sophisticated members of the military team. There have been many encounters with the Wraith, including one who cooperates somewhat with the Atlantis team even though in past episodes he has tricked them in various ways. The team struggles to neutralize the huge Wraith hive spaceships while the Wraith discover the coordinates for earth and plan to attack to make it their new “feeding ground.” It is revealed that not only can Atlantis rise up out of the sea, but it can also soar around the heavens like a spaceship, without anyone on board having to strap on seatbelts or grab anything. It returns to earth to fight the Wraith but it’s all left up to fearless Joe to destroy the huge Wraith hive ship with the one last nuclear device Atlantis has and prevent the attack on earth. At the conclusion Atlantis is set down (cloaked) in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. (Gate – get it?) Image and surround sound are both excellent and the special effects are very good for a TV series.
– John Sunier