Directed by Roland
Emmerich (1994, Artisan Entertainment)
Starring Kurt Russel, James Spader and Jaye Davidson
An Egyptian artefact brings a team to an alien planet, where they
battle Ra, the sun god.
January 9th, 2010 on
DVD, for the 4th time
I really like this movie, and I think
it was a great way to introduce such a device. I have been watching
Stargate SG1, Atlantis and Universe now for a while, and although I had
trouble with the series at first, I understand why they had to change
things from the movie to make it practical over the long term.
In the movie, I enjoyed O'Neil's
continual reassessment of what needs to be done, and the fun he has at
Skaara when the boy tries to emulate him. He has a cruel streak, letting
Skaara start to smoke, but gets over-protective when Skaara wants to
hold the gun -because of his son, of course.
By the end of the movie, everyone has
come to respect everyone else, and we get to wonder what kind of
relations the humans from Earth will have with those from Abydos. The
novels that followed the movie went in a completely different direction
from the TV show. Although I liked the way the novels started out, by
the end, they were terrible. The TV show, on the other hand, started out
poor (to me, anyway), and got better.
March 8th, 2003 on DVD,
for the 3rd time
The production of this movie was the most beautiful thing about it.
It was gritty and it felt real. This is especially important because it
is such a fictional situation, such a far-out idea. It's truly superb.
Daniel Jackson is played for laughs much of the time, especially with
his sneezing, which disappears by the end of the film. But he really gets
the last laugh, as he gets the girl, and to stay behind. He also gets
congratulated by the whole Stargate team at the end. He also gets to
have fun re-translating the inscriptions on the cover-stones of the
Stargate. I definitely laughed at the indignant looks from the other
Colonel O'Neil's back-story doesn't really add much to the film.
suppose having his son die while playing with his father's gun makes him
more suicidal, more likely to actually detonate the bomb if necessary.
It also allows him to take an actual liking to Skaara, who idolizes the
The most impressive part of the movie takes place on Abydos, from both
production and character points of view. It really shows when the
film-makers go the extra distance to create realistic sets. Never mind
obvious and grand computer-generated sets like in
Attack of the Clones
-these miniatures, like the "bigatures" of
The Fellowship of the Ring,
are simply impressive, and feel well-worn. The city of Nagada was
terrifically realized. I actually felt like I was transported to an
The other way the production gave a realistic feel was in the
untranslated dialog, and there was a lot of that. The incomprehension of
both sides, the Abydans and the Stargate team was obvious; however,
because they were both human, they could communicate by gestures, which
was amazing. The lines that were subtitled were only necessary to explain
the story from the point of view of the Abydans.
Once Ra arrives, this movie goes from an adventure to an action film. Ra
is a tyrant, and he does not take well to a visit from the people who
rebelled against him 8000 years ago. He must have thought they would die
out, though, or else why not sent a ship against humanity? Regardless,
everything about him was amazing, especially the headgear. The effects
that allowed the masks to retract was amazing -this is how CG should
really be used! The weapons that his Horus-guards used, not to mention
their udajeets (fliers) were also amazing, really cool.
There were definitely some weaknesses in the plot, but the concept, the
acting, especially by the natives, and the realism make up for that. The
most blatant example for me was the astronomy. First, there is no way
they could track the probe into deep space like that. I had to laugh at
that, really. Second, the constellations do not look the same now as
they did 10000 years ago. They cannot be used as guideposts over
millennia because they
are constantly changing. Orion would definitely not be drawn that way.
In fact, Orion would not exist, since he is a figure from Greek
mythology. What would the Egyptians be doing using Greek constellations,
most of which I believe were not even created at that time. Ah, well...
The special features on this DVD were a little odd. The one on the
Director's Cut disk is more of an occult show, from the point of view of
people who believe things like the pyramids and other artifacts are
proof of alien visitation. He makes a convincing argument, for
uneducated viewers. On the Theatrical Cut disk is a making-of
documentary, which is more glitz than behind-the-scenes. The narrator's
voice was very annoying, making it sound like an ad for a heavy metal
rock-concert. Still, what we were shown (too briefly for my tastes) was
intriguing, especially the miniature models -more like bigatures. The
theatrical trailer was very impressive, as it showed a lot of the movie,
but in a mixed-up way. Scenes at the beginning of the trailer showed
stuff from the end of the movie, but not obvious until the movie has
been seen. It was all mixed up, which gives a great sense of the
unexpected, especially in the actors' reactions to different events.
Seeing this movie in this way kindled an interest in trying out Stargate
SG-1 again. I watched the premiere of the TV series years ago, and laughed my way through
it, because I thought it was so bad. It also contradicted what was, at
that time, a promising set of novels. The novels turned bad and
mediocre, and were eventually abandoned by the publisher, and I hear
that SG-1 is actually an interesting show. I might be too late to get
into it, but there must be reruns showing somewhere.
In any case, the movie was a gritty and awesome, realistic-feeling
science fiction film that is not opera-style. It really does feel epic,
and O'Neil's last words to Daniel, "see you around", indicate that the
story does indeed have some sort of continuation after the credits roll.
December 30th, 1998 on Video,
for the 2nd time
This is a true science
fiction movie. It had a mystery, action, not too much bloodshed,
and tragic but believable characters. However, the movie just
barely touched on the book. The actors did a good job of
portraying their thoughts, however, where they would take a page or two
in the book. Recommend to every SF fan!