Stargate

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stargate.gif

It will take you a million light years from home. But will it bring you back?

1994

Genres:
Action, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Starring:
Kurt Russell, James Spader, French Stewart, Jaye Davidson

Summary:
An archaeological dig in early 20th century Egypt turns up an ancient and unknown artifact. Unable to identify its purpose or activate it, researchers place the mysterious artifact in storage until genius Dr. Daniel Jackson (Spader) manages to crack the code and activate the device. The artifact appears to be some sort of gate to another part of the universe light years away.

An exploration team led by military toughie Jack O'Neil (Russell) is quickly assembled to enter the gate and discover the secrets of the other side. Along for the ride (and translation help) is Daniel. The team finds a primitive desert civilization that parallels ancient Egypt even though it is on a planet light years away from Earth. Worshipping the sun god Ra (Davidson), the natives have no idea of the true nature of their deities until Daniel and O'Neil unmask their secrets.

Response:
Stargate started out as a standard sci-fi movie: Boys find mysterious toy. Genius dork learns how to operate it. Gruff tough-guy and genius enter portal to strange new world in a galaxy far, far away. Ok, so maybe it's not a standard plot outline, but it's familiar.

However, once the so-called Egyptian gods drop their masks and the pyramids sprout rocket thrusters, this movie takes a veer to the odd side. The end is a surreal blend of sci-fi, fantastical mythology, and fighter jet action. And did I mention all of it is set in the dunes of a desert with three moons? Some found this odd blend of elements unsettling and badly linked together. I actually quite liked the combination as it means that Stargate has a little something for everyone.

James Spader was great as the know-it-all scientist who just really didn't know much. Kurt Russell used his jawline to perfection as the "is he good or bad" colonel. And Jaye Davidson used his adrogynous eccentric appearance to play the enigmatic Ra with the barest of acting skills needed.

The setting is obviously realistic as they filmed the bulk of the movie on location in a desert. And the sci-fi special effects aren't bad either. The stargate itself was pretty cool although I got the strange urge to go swimminig when I saw it. And if that doesn't impress you, they actually got away with making a pyrmaid into a UFO. I think that takes a bit of skill...and some balls.

Point Blank:
A unique blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and action that works quite well in an entertaining movie that conveniently provides the perfect vehicle for a cult hit television show.