Watching Ark of Truth I was delighted with the visually obvious bigger budget Robert Cooper and the cast and crew had to work with, which made many of the shots big-screen worthy, but I was also relieved that the movie still held the old SG-1 TV-feel (if that makes the slightest amount of sense to anyone other than me, great!). Yes, it was reminiscent of a regular, however extended, episode of the series - but I don't see why that's a complaint made by so many doom sayers I've seen on various forums and websites. AoT is familiar, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Here there be MAJOR spoilers
The movie's plot line runs smoothly, for the most part. Daniel, Vala, Teal'c and Tomin (Vala's husband, who in AoT abandons his duty as a commander in the Ori army and joins forces with SG-1 to overthrow the remaining Ori worshippers) are the focal point of the story as the team travels via the Odyssey to the Ori galaxy and Ortus Mallum ("The birthplace of all evil") - a ruined Alteran settlement where the ark of truth was created millennia ago by an Alteran man named Amelius. Their adventure leads them to Celestis, the city of the Ori, where Daniel, Vala and Tomin are tortured by the Doci and his Priors, and we are reintroduced to Adria. Vala's daughter, who ascended in season 10's Dominion, has taken the mantle of the Ori, who have been wiped out by SG-1 using Merlin's weapon (10x14, The Shroud). What follows is a desperate rush to activate the ark, which is a formidable piece of technology capable of "brainwashing" a person or group of people to believe whatever message the device is programmed to convey.
One big issue I had with AoT is that I felt the focus was at times unnecessarily skewed. Carter and Mitchell wouldn't have played a key role in the primary storyline, and don't - however, RCC, in an attempt to keep them involved, devised a subplot involving SG-1's old enemies, the Replicators. The Odyssey is overrun and forced to flee their position in orbit around the planet upon which the rest of their team are searching - obviously a device required to enhance the sense of danger for those of the team still planet-side. Aspects of the subplot were necessary, obviously, if for nothing else than to escalate the sense of danger, but the Replicator "solution" is contrived, and, though I usually dare not say such a thing since it is science fiction, unbelievable given what the antagonistic group behind the idea has learned about the enemies the Milky Way has faced in the past ten years or more and the danger that would surely have been reintroducing such a threat to any galaxy. Devoting such a huge amount of time to the Replicators and the efforts of those aboard the Odyssey jolted me a few times out of the action, the suspense, of what was happening on the planet in the plot that, forgive me for saying so, really mattered.
In typical SG-1 fashion, Ark of Truth is exciting, at times wonderfully amusing and human, and a credit to the Powers that Be who were, along with the fans, deprived of a much-deserved eleventh season. The performances were top-notch, as Stargate has consistently provided over the past decade - "regular" and "guest" characters all. It was a shame to see what could have been a fantastic 20 episodes reduced to two hours, but SG-1 delivers, and I wasn't expecting anything less.
Stargate: Ark of Truth is not a good jumping-off point for the new or casual viewer - intimate knowledge of seasons 9 and 10 are required, and though the lovely 10-minute recap viewers can choose to watch before the movie begins does a great job of setting up the foundation for new viewers, there's nothing like seeing the two preceding seasons in all their detail before diving in - and I highly recommend diving in.
Review by hockeista-avanti from the Internet Movie Database.