Saturday, June 06, 2015

(Spoilers) Stargate Review

***SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers may be found in the post below about VARIOUS ITEMS. And I'm going to add in a bit of filler text here to limit how much of the main article gets shown in a preview. That should take care of most of it. Hopefully. And away we go. SPOILER WARNING. ***

Didn't know this movie existed until I started watching the TV show.

A giant ring built from an alien material is excavated in Egypt and is turned on decades later to travel between planets. Action-adventure, science fiction action?

Good or Bad?
I started with the lower budgeted, made for television series and saw this afterwards. What happened when McGyver was replaced by James Spader and Kurt Russell, lots more money, and a single storyline?

The first part from the title sequence to when they first went through the Stargate was my favorite -- it won me over almost instantly. There was something that I found beautiful about how the initial discovery of the gate and its subsequent research were handled. The suspense when they dialed the gate successfully for the first time and how it looked must have been amazing to watch in the theater. Unfortunately, I did not have this pleasure. And that was only like the first twenty minutes of the movie.

Everything that followed was just as good, just slightly less so. The rest of the movie was about exploration and a civilization oppressed by an advanced being. Did I mention that the Stargate program was run by the United States Air Force? How ancient Egypt was worked into so many elements of the story kept my attention all the way to the end.

I enjoyed the performance by James Spader and Kurt Russell. Spader played a nerdy scientist who was capable of a lot more than initially believed, and Russell was a grieving father who lost his son. The movie felt like it had quite a bit of character development, and this elevated it from a plain explosions everywhere flick to something with a lot more going on. I also thought the supporting cast was great, especially the ones who played the native inhabitants on the other side of the gate. Were they actually speaking Ancient Egyptian? No idea, but it looked believable to me.

From a purely visual standpoint, Stargate looked simply amazing in my view. I've seen it a few times in the past few years and the special effects still looked incredible almost twenty years after its release. The use of, I think, miniatures probably helped with that. And the effect used for the opening of the wormhole through the gate didn't seem like it aged at all. There also seemed to be a very heavy use of extras and large outdoor scenes. Both of these items helped add to the scale of the movie.

How did this never get a proper sequel? It did get three television series, one of which introduced me to the original movie, so that's a good consolation prize. Heard a remake was possibly on the way? Anyway, I loved this movie the first time I saw it and still do after rewatching it probably a dozen times since over the years. A spectacular ride.

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