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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.93%
Worth A Look31.19%
Average: 24.77%
Pretty Bad: 8.26%
Total Crap: 23.85%

5 reviews, 79 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"Too much sand, not enough stars."
3 stars

Apparently, all life on earth is evolved from this one nasty alien who built the pyramids thousands of years ago. Wait. No, the nasty alien enslaved all the humans, then built a Stargate and took off when things got hot. No, wait. James Spader and Kurt Russell wander around in the desert shooting at alien dog guys. Yeah, that's it.

It's unfortunate that the payoffs here aren't as solid as the buildups. Roland Emmerich's Stargate starts out fairly strong, as we're shown how an ancient artifact found in the desert may be a gate to another world. The scientists and military leaders all struggle to make sense of it and then decide to just leap on into it. A group of soldiers and Spader the scientist get all geared up to go, and the script does a good job of getting the audience excited for the trip.

Then they go through the gate.

They end up in Egypt... I think. It's just a huge desert planet with a few temples and some dry skinny people. These poor souls are enslaved by the sun god Ra, and they're damned servile. (Only it's not really Ra, but this ancient alien who leaps from planet to planet and... forget it. He also has a bunch of burly henchmen who wear dog helmets.) The slave guys are all pretty nice, and one of them is pretty so Spader has sex with her. Now our group of travelers must find a way to decipher the gate, free the slaves from bondage, deal with pseudo-Ra, get back home, and maybe try to squeeze a little more interstellar screwin' in.

The main problem with Stargate is not with set-up, but with execution. After a while you feel like you're just watching weird people staggering around a desert. Except for the villains' cool Egypto-masks and some big ugly yak-creatures, there's not really much evidence that we aren't in Las Vegas. Also, the screenplay proposes several interesting questions, and then doesn't even begin to answer them adequately. What exactly were the pyramids built for? Why does this alien need to pose as a GOD when he's completely omnipotent anyway? And what is the deal with Kurt Russell's jaw all of a suddden? He looks like he just got his wisdom teeth removed.

Actually, both Kurt Russell and James Spader give darn solid performances here - especially considering how silly the whole movie is. (Example: Russell's character is mourning from the death of a son. As soon as he arrives in this alternate universe, he finds himself a cute kid for a sidekick. Neat.) Spader does another variation on his 'bemused intellectual' skills, and there's a funny looking bald guy who's head of the slaves. His performace was good, although it did consist of mainly uninteligible syllables and grunts.

One particular annoyance was that of Jaye Davidson as our all-powerful alien/sun god thingie. If skinniness and feminity were scary traits, he'd have been perfect here. They're not, so he comes off more skinny and feminine than scary and intimidating.

On the positive side, the effects are solid. (The trip through the Stargate IS pretty trippy.) There's also a solid action finale in which the oppressed and heroic fight back, although the plot holes and contrivances pile up quicker than the dead slaves.

You'd think with all the hype and money that went into this movie, maybe another $5,000 bucks could have been spent on another rewrite. Some really quality components are ultimately done in by simple muddled storytelling.

Artisan Home Entertainment repackages the flick for this "Director's Cut" though this version only features about 9 new minutes of footage - none of which are worth all that much. A handful of extras are offered in the 2-disc set, including a brief-yet-groovy featurette called "Is There a Stargate?"; an all-new behind-the-scenes feature loaded with interviews and FX info, a full-length audio commentary (same track as offered on the previous Stargate DVD) with old pals Devlin and Emmerich offering all sorts of entertaining tidbits; and the requisite theatrical trailers, production notes and filmographies.

Also worth mentioning is that the theatrical cut is also included, though the extra scenes are so nominal there's hardly a difference. Still, I know several intelligent movie freaks who really dig this flick - and if you're one of 'em you should absolutely consider this 2-disc set a worthy addition to your collection.

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originally posted: 05/04/04 10:55:48
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User Comments

6/28/20 morris campbell good special effects but boring as hell 1 stars
2/06/14 Charles Tatum Just as cheesy as most of Emmerich's films 2 stars
7/29/10 Soni Much, much better than reviews say it is. 5 stars
5/29/09 xx- A nerd and some military fuck go to blow up some transsexual fag. WTF! 1 stars
5/07/09 true AWESOME! Little wonder it inspired a series. 5 stars
12/17/08 Man Out 6 Bucks Christofascism and gladiatorial sparring ruled by dull bureaucrats: A Caligula sequel 1 stars
4/27/08 Totir Alexandru Thanks to this movie I became a real Stargate fan. And I'm glad for this. 5 stars
1/01/08 Virgil Awful review, Scott, were you even paying attention? "Alien dog guys"? 3 stars
7/08/07 al smith solid sci fi.ryan arthur what a bell end 4 stars
4/17/07 Stevo The good: I laughed a lot. The bad: this isn't a comedy. stay the fuck away. 1 stars
3/22/07 45326 "bald weird guy"? ... this review is worth pennies. 4 stars
7/30/06 Ronin The colors provide nice atmosphere. Anyway not bad. 3 stars
5/31/06 Bryan McAllister love this movie..the series is even better 5 stars
3/10/06 Dk Its pretty good actually 4 stars
1/06/06 JM Synth So much wasted potential! The dull movie that spawned the neverending TV series 2 stars
8/13/05 ES Kurt Russell saves another almost terrible movie 3 stars
6/07/05 JD great idea but, movie a bit dissapointing, still worth seein once at least. 3 stars
5/15/05 Indrid Cold Feels exactly like a solid Sci-Fi channel movie. 3 stars
2/22/05 Captain Craig Good Sci-Fi for its time. 4 stars
2/03/05 Nick The show is better but the movie has better Jaffa in it. 4 stars
11/10/04 Westwood Incredible....Incredible... 5 stars
7/24/04 Valerie The movie is ok, but the TV series based on the movie, Stargate SG-1, is SUPERB! 3 stars
6/21/04 Rock Hound Ra! Ra! Ra! for the ancient Egyptians and their magical doughnuts! Exciting is not the word 2 stars
6/16/04 franknutz great movie see the directors cut and tv show 5 stars
6/05/04 alien assassin It may be silly, but it's nowhere near as bad as "Battlefield Earth" or "Waterworld" !!! 4 stars
4/27/04 Travis One of the best Sci-fi movies ever. Great plot, who else could have built the pyramids? 5 stars
1/19/04 jmsynth Don't know why I hate Stargate so much but I do. SG1 is even worse! 1 stars
12/06/03 john very boring sci fi movie - 1 stars
11/27/03 John if I can't sleep at night I put in this film and I'm snoring under the covers in 10 seconds 1 stars
8/05/03 I Would You don't feel any empathy for the lead characters, in fact I was rooting for Ra. 3 stars
7/25/03 Spunky001 An overall good sci fi movie for a family with young children 4 stars
7/01/03 francis So the millions years old alien is a petty, vindictive, spoilt brat! Right! 2 stars
4/23/03 R.W. Welch Nice premise but they didn't know what to do with it. 2 stars
3/12/03 The carpen excellent 5 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Good start, familiar follow-through with guns a'blazin! Spader is only real asset. 2 stars
12/30/02 JCC Starts well - the idea is excellent, but Ra seems unconvincing. SG1 adds 2 extra dimensions 4 stars
12/18/02 snowconehead not quite a good movie, but a great idea 4 stars
7/29/02 O Justo A great idea wrongly put together. 3 stars
7/23/02 snowconehead it was a good idea at the time 4 stars
7/12/02 KMG BORING. Jaye Davidson sucks ass....literally 1 stars
6/16/02 Patrick Riley Stargate is all style and no substance 2 stars
2/20/02 Xaver It's fun. Interesting premise. Good character development. 4 stars
1/23/02 Doug Very good. 4 stars
1/10/02 Andrew Carden Nothing At All, Excpet For A Boring and Tasteless Sci-Fi Flick. 1 stars
12/30/01 Cracked head A big yawn of sci-fi crap. Not the worst crap ever, but close enough. 1 stars
12/02/01 Tim Bennetts I dont think Kurt Russell enjoyed himself! 3 stars
9/18/01 Margo Davidson It very good, but absurd. Jaye-Ra-best! 4 stars
8/11/01 IP_Freely this movie sucks,,,nuff said 1 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk I enjoyed it. Kurt Russell is cool and James Spader finally surfaces in Hollywood again! 4 stars
8/06/01 badfish Awesome. 5 stars
8/02/01 TLsmooth I wish Stargate was real and eliminate Spader and Russell for the sake of mankind. 1 stars
7/30/01 Bob jones Fun, different, okay 4 stars
7/28/01 Steve Don't buy it, rent it. Worth watching, had some good ideas, didn't carry them out well. 3 stars
7/09/01 Caligula Danielle Ophelia good fucking direction my ass, this movie blows 1 stars
6/03/01 Thrillhouse TV series was better 3 stars
5/13/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Good direction, decent acting...STUPEFYINGLY boring... 3 stars
5/08/01 Gracy Lionheart Worth seeing once. Gets old quickly though. 3 stars
4/28/01 R.W. Welch Rambling sci-fi fantasy that feels like they're making it up as they go. 2 stars
4/25/01 Scott G. Very good science fiction movie. Definately worth seeing 5 stars
4/19/01 Taja The movie sucks, but Jaye Davidson rules! 1 stars
4/08/01 Jes 2 hour twilight zone... 2 stars
3/25/01 Monster W. Kung 7 years ago everybody was talking about this movie. One year later 2 people... IT SUCKS! 1 stars
2/01/01 jordan not horrible but definitely not good. just plain boring. 3 stars
12/28/00 Viking this was never intended to be a great film 4 stars
12/04/00 Cristopher Revilla i loved the scientific part, in overall the movie was good, if you're in the right mood 4 stars
3/13/00 Paradox Great movie, as long as you just watch and don't think about it too much. 4 stars
3/11/00 JonnyAngel egyptian aliens are neato 4 stars
3/11/00 bullit17 So maybe it WAS the Egypt buff in me. I still liked this movie. 4 stars
1/10/00 Will oh come on that was fun! 5 stars
1/08/00 Doug Paulsen awesome 5 stars
10/25/99 Lame-Oh Kurt Russell! What have you done! 1 stars
6/11/99 JDC Pretty typical of Devlin/Emmerich: copy other movies but make everything crappier 1 stars
5/27/99 GothamDK Good plot. Could have been so much better. Makes a decent cable series, though. 3 stars
1/29/99 Angus It's a good looking movie with alot of potential but it just falls short 4 stars
12/04/98 Shadow Raider TV series is better. That shocks you? Screw this crappy movie! 1 stars
11/14/98 Rageboy Loved this movie! But it ain't for all. Much better in context of the books. 5 stars
9/02/98 J-Guy watched it in highschool and got kicked out of class for sleeping. fuck this movie. 1 stars
8/30/98 Johny Emmerich and Devlin's first movie sucks. That surprises you? 1 stars
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  28-Oct-1994 (PG-13)

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