Starring: Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson, Viveca Lindfors, Alexis Cruz, Mili Avital, John Diehl
Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Written By: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 1 min
Stargate, the movie that created a universe of television shows*, books, video games and comics. And even though its run ended in 2011 when producer Brad Wright announced there were no more plans for the franchise. It now looks like Roland Emmerich is ready to direct a reboot. That is of course right after his other reboot project, Independence Day. Look for that two-partner to start arriving in our theaters in 2016.
Stargate begins in Egypt, circa 1928 , as a team of archaeologists uncover a mysterious ancient artifact. The story then jumps forward to the ‘present day,’ and Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader), an expert on Egyptian writings and history, is recruited to help the military explore the mysterious technology found all those years ago. Once solved, a gateway is opened to another world and the good doctor, plus a team of soldiers led by Col. Jonathan ‘Jack’ O’Niel (Kurt Russell, sporting an epic flat-top hairdo), step through to investigate.
In Stargate, Roland Emmerich channels his inner Spielberg. But unlike the seminal director, Emmerich doesn’t seem to have the same respect for character development, or the restraint to pull off a truly classic fantasy adventure film. Stargate, like his other productions, Independence Day, and The Day After Tomorrow, start really well. The characters might be a little two-dimensional, but they’re likable, and the pacing and development of the story going into the second act is really nicely done.
The problems however, start as we head toward the final act, and the production begins to derail. Stargate sized plot holes suck any semblance of logic out of the film, and what remains is an action packed mess with extra helpings of cheese. It is entertaining, as long as you don’t question anything. If you do, you’ll quickly discover a lot of inconsistencies, and maybe even find some elements unintentionally funny.
* 17 seasons (354 episodes) of television! SG-1, Atlantis, Universe, The Ark of Truth & Continuum.
This is a fun but mindless action adventure yarn, so watch this with expectations set low and you should find it quite enjoyable. The PG-13 rating means this movie is family friendly, but not suitable for really young kids.
The film looks great, and the action and visual effects will work best on a theater sized screen. At home a HD viewing on a nice TV and sound system is the way to go. I wouldn’t recommend forcing this epic scale production onto a tablet or phone sized screen.
I liked everything about the first act. The initial discovery in Egypt, right through to the point where they appear on the other side of the Stargate, and discover they’re not alone.