Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"The Ark"

“The Ark” is a highly unoriginal episode that cannot decide if it wants to be a poignant story of a lost civilization’s survival or The Poseidon Adventure. I am leaning towards the largest under the weight of evidence, intentional or not, that the action takes precedence over anything else. Including, as noted, originality.

The AR-1 team is investigating a centuries old, derelict space station on a rmoon when Rodney inadvertently revives a man from stasis similar to the Wraith method of storming groceries. Er..I mean people. His name is Herrick. He designed the system to house the survivors of a wraith culling. There are a thousand people in stasis. Herrick expects to find his wife and son there. When he does not, e revives his people’s leader, Jamus, for answers. Jamus informs him the people rioted when they discover only a thousand could be saved, so they had to flee without Herrick’s family. Distraught, Herrick commits suicide in a manner that throws the moon out of orbit, thereby dooming AR-1, James, and everyone in stasis.

Thus begins the disaster movie. There are depressurized chambers, serious injuries requiring medical attention that is not coming, less serious grin and bear it, tough guy injuries, characters trapped in claustrophobic situations...you get the idea. In the midst of it all, jamus holds Teyla hostage to ensure the people in stasis are saved, too, as there is not enough time before the moon burns up in the atmosphere to save them. It is sa. Jamus would be the last of his people otherwise. Maybe not so sad, since Jamus is the one who decide to nuke the planet and kill everyone so the Wraith would never return. That way the lucky thousand could come back and rebuild. The powers that be probably do not want the audience to put much thought into that revelation, so they devised a slam bang action sequence in which Sheppard pilots the stasis chamber off the exploding moon and crash lands, hard, but safe, on the planet. Happy ending!

I am not a big fan of “The Ark.” The idea of the last o a civilization placing themselves in stasis to be revived later is not only nothing new for science fiction, it has been done before within the Stargate franchise in the much better--as in Michael Shanks won a leo awar for acting in it--“Lifeboat.” ‘The Ark” also feels paded and cheap. We spend a laughably Lrge amount of time following characters via shaky cam through narrow hallways while opening numerous doors to safety instea of seeing any real action. Part of the teaser is even a flashforward to the climax of Sheppard piloting the ship. But that is not the worst. Lorne comes to the eventual rescue in a Puddle Jumper, but it is a reuse from the previous episode! I realize there are tight bugets in cable television, but come on. Space out the recycling of footage!

I will offer kudos for one thing. The ship Sheppard pilots onto the planet is 10,000 years old and it has an appropriate Jules Verne-esque look about it to denote the less advanced technology. I like the retro look. It reminds me of the quaint way the Daleks still use flyin saucers on Doctor Who. But the retro deal is not enough to save ‘The Ark.’” it is filler that I just cannot get into. The episode feels thrown together without any focus on what it is supposed to actually be. The only thing I can say for sure it is is forgettable.

Rating: * (out of 5)

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