In The Early 1990’s, German filmmaker, Roland Emmerich, (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) was hired to direct a film called Universal Soldier starring Jean-Claude Van Dame, after its director decided not to participate in this project. After finishing the film with his sidekick/business partner, Dean Devlin, the two of them came up with an idea based on Albert Einstein’s hypothetical theory about space travel involving a wormhole to take people to another dimension. Roland’s High Concept for his proposed project is best described as, “What if the military uncovered a portal, and then they travel to another dimension to uncover the mystery surrounding the origins of the portal?” The What If Scenario I’m referring to, is none other than Stargate. The one that made Roland an A-List filmmaker.
Stargate was released in 1994. (same year Natalie Portman made her big screen debut in Leon: The Professional) It received mixed reviews from critics and made enough money at the box office. Roger Ebert dislike the movie he included it on his “List Of Most Hated Films.” James Spader himself, disliked the script, he only participated to earn himself a big paycheck.
As the years go by, Stargate spawned a franchise consisting of comics, novels, video games, action figures, four TV shows called Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe & Stargate Infinity, a short lived animated series. The film went on to inspire Joss Whedon to come up with a story called, Atlantis: The Lost Empire. At first, Roland wanted to make two more movies to create a Stargate Trilogy, but plans were scrapped and he decided to work on other projects along with James Spader refusing to partake in Stargate because of his dislike of the script.
In response to Natalie Portman’s upcoming film Annihilation, because it has a similar premise to Stargate, I thought about showing you fellow movie goers if Stargate stills holds up.
This review doesn’t contain any big SPOILERS. You’re all clear to read this article, just in case if you’ve seen the whole thing yet.
Yay: James Spader, Kurt Russell & Jaye Davison all did a solid job on their respective performances.
Fun Fact: James & Kurt went on to co-star in separate superhero films set in The Marvel Cinematic Universe. (MCU for short) James portrayed Ultron in Avengers: Age Of Ultron & Kurt portrayed Ego The Living Planet in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.
Action Sequences were good, containing elements of gunplay, combat and alien spacecrafts.
David Arnold (a frequent collaborator of Roland Emmerich) composed the music for the film including the titular overture.
The Opening Credits pays tribute to The Opening Credits from Tim Burton’s Batman. Both films begin with the camera hovering around an important artifact/symbol.
Without giving too much away, Kurt Russell’s character Jack O’ Neil, has a tragic backstory and there’s a sole reason he wants to protect civilians in the first place.
Cinematography was decently shot without any technical problems.
Costume Designs looked authentic and their based on Egyptian attire.
Richard Kind (Bing-Bong from Inside Out) makes a brief appearance in The First Act. He returned to co-star in Stargate Atlantis.
Practical Effects were used to bring set pieces and creatures to life such as Ra’s mothership, The Portal & Ra’s true form.
My favorite pre-kill one liner is, “Give my regards to King Tut!”
I’m gonna give Stargate credit for inspiring Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Which is one of my favorite Disney animated movies.
Nay: The alien spacecrafts obviously have a couple of wires attached to them. Editing 101, make sure you go back frame by frame before you distribute the final cut.
One character earns himself a premature romance with a girl. Dagnabbit! They just had to start an early romance! In real life, it’ll take a few weeks to get to know one another, then the relationship normally begins. I despise an early relationship between two people!
The Final Verdict: B, FOR BIRDIE! (golf slang)
In my opinion, Stargate has some decent elements despite two problems I’ve listed. If you’re excited to see Annihilation, I highly recommend Stargate & Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
Roland Emmerich & Dean Devlin, if you’re reading this, thank you for encouraging Disney & Josh Whedon to come up with a spiritual successor to your franchise. Without Stargate, Atlantis would have never existed in the first place!