Monday, March 5, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Crystal Skull"

The mere mention of a crystal skull can bring a shudder down the spine of anyone who has been unfortunate enough to suffer through Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Considering the similarities between the film and the plot of “Crystal Skull,” I am curious whether my opinion of the episode would be different if I spared the final adventure of Dr. Jones. Maybe not, because the story retreads the old ground of Daniel being missing, disappeared, dead, or ascended. We are just getting warmed up with the plot device, too.

When a MALP discovers a crystal skull in a Mayan style temple on another planet, Daniel recalls a similar skull his grandfather, Nathan Ballard, discovered in Belize in 1971. Ballard claimed gazing into the skull’s eye sockets transported him to another planet whereupon he mey giant aliens. No one believed him, including Daniel, but now that a chance exists to prove his grandfather was correct, he has to take it. On the planet, Daniel gazes into the skull’s eyes. An energy field appears around him, which is shot by Teal’c in fear of Daniel’s safety. As a result, Daniel becomes an incorporeal being out of phase with the rest of SG-1. They assume he has been transported to parts unknown.

Daniel is still with them, however. They just do not know it. He grows increasingly frustrated watching his friends struggle with how to find him until they track down Ballard for his expertise. Unfortunately, Ballard has had himself locked away in a sanitarium after the loss of his academic credibility was too much for him to handle. Fortunately, he can see and hear Daniel because of his similar experience with the crystal skull, so he guides SG-1 back to the planet to continue the process which was interrupted by talc’s weapon. They meet mist aliens who are enemies of the Goa’uld and establish a tentative friendship. Ballard stays behind to work with them.

I appreciate the usual plot of killing off, making disappear, rendering insane, or otherwise physically or emotionally tormenting Daniel is done with far less melodrama than before. So much can happen to one poor shmuck before the ridiculousness of it supercedes all possible sympathy. Not that there are not some sweet moments here wherein Daniel learn how his friends really feel about him when they speak of him when he is, as far as they know, not there. A lot of humor abounds, too.

There are not any serious issues with “Crystal Skull” when taken on its own merit. One wonders why daniel was so incredulous about his grandfather’s belief in the connection between the crystal skull and aliens when he himself believed the pyramids were not massive tombs, but meant to be alien landing sites. The green screen work is a bit too obvious in various places, such as SG-1 navigating a high catwalk in the mayan temple. The former is not such a big deal. The latter is excused by the nifty CGI of the mist alien. If there is any problem, it is the memories of a certain film mentioned earlier, scenes of which are quite similar to “Crystal Skull.” I certainly recommend the episode, but brace yourself if you have been trying to blot dr. jones’ last adventure from your mind.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment