3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2002
The low rating I am giving this disc does not reflect my opinion of the film, but rather my opinion of the discs poor quality. The below average image quality is surprising, considering the fact that this is already the second DVD release of this movie. Not only is the overall image quality not as good as it should be, but to top it off the entire film features a video burn on the right hand side of the picture. Lower end monitors may cut this area off and therefore hide it, but a good screen will feature this irritating flaw. One can only hope that a Superbit or Criterion version of this film will be released one day. The disc presently available is certainly a disapointment.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"Stargate" is, obviously, the movie that later spawned the hit "Stargate SG-1" TV series, and its spinoffs.
But taken on its own merits, "Stargate" is a pretty entertaining blockbuster with some big flaws. It uncomfortably straddles the fence between "shoot-em-up bombs'n'action" and "mythology sci-fi," but provides a solid villain, some sketchy writing, and the foundation for a hit TV show. Well, it's definitely far better than your average sci-fi blockbuster.
Egyptologist Daniel Jackson (James Spader) has just lost his job, when a mysterious old lady invites him to become involved in a secret military project. Soon he finds out why -- a massive stone ring found in Giza decades ago, with strange symbols on a central ring. When they use his calculations, the Air Force is able to open a wormhole to a distant galaxy.
Obviously a recon team is sent through, led by the grieving Colonel O'Neil (Kurt Russell). This new world is a desert planet, inhabited by a race of primitive human slaves who practically worship the strangers. But things turn deadly when a pyramid ship descends on the desert, and a malevolent "god" decides to obliterate Earth -- using a nuclear bomb O'Neil brought along.
It's a pretty straightforward action plot -- scientist opens gateway to new planet, bad guy shows up and makes trouble, good guys attack bad guy with the help of plucky natives. "Stargate" doesn't add much to the typical formula, but it does dress it up with gilded robes, giant stone statues, glittering starships and sandswept deserts.
In fact, spectacle is what "Stargate" excels at -- it has big armies of invading, big ships, big pyramids, and big battles with Ra's warriors. When it comes to gun battles and explosions, Roland Emmerich does a pretty decent job. However, he gets mesmerized by the gilded interior of Ra's starship and the prettyboy alien slinking around -- the middle part of the movie is very slow-moving.
It's more clumsy at the intimate stuff of character development, such as Daniel's serious romance with a chief's daughter, or O'Neil's depression over his son. It just never feels natural or deep. The accompanying dialogue is usually pretty solid, but sometimes gets downright clumsy ("I don't want to die. Your men don't want to die. These people don't want to die. It's a shame you're in such a hurry to").
Spade pretty much steals the show as a lovable geek who sticks to his guns, even if it makes him a laughingstock. And the geek gets the girl, not the military grunts -- a nice change. Russell is stuck with a rather stiff, humourless military man, although he loosens up in the last lap. And Alexis Cruz, Mili Avital and Erick Avari all get kudos for making the lovable, deep characters come alive without a word of English.
"Stargate" is a fun movie for the spectacle and slam-bang action scenes, so long as the weak scripting doesn't hold you up. And it served as a good foundation for one of the best "exploration" sci-fi series in ages.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2012
So having just viewed this Blu Ray version, I must say, aside from the majority of the scenes being very nice by Blu Ray standards, I found the rest of them lacking detail, or simply grainy and fuzzy. Not enjoyable!!! So I'm not sure if it's just my copy or if this was done from a poor source. The difference is very noticeable and almost brings the quality of VHS tape to mind.
Two days prior, I viewed my original DVD version and found it was good all the way through. A consistent 480p by DVD standards. This aside, the extended scenes were great adding much to a already familiar story. Here is hoping they improve the next release. Five stars for the content, but only three stars for the poor transfer. So 3 it is.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2013
Not the best story I have seen in terms of quality of filming and play of the actors. Nevertheless, the subject is very interesting, the movie lasts a while and my interest stayed focused all the way. You must see that movie at least once because of the unusual theme. Relationship to Egypt is interesting, but underexploited. I think that the rythme there is better than in the TV series. Anyway, it looks like a low budget film, not Spielberg... Image quality is questionable at times, mostly in dark scenes, when it can be quite grainy. Otherwise, it is always a pleasure to watch a movie in 1080p.
on June 30, 2004
Stargate, as a film, is really a solid example of imaginative science fiction. The characters are a little cardboard-y, and the plot is, of course, wholly unbelieavble (as is the norm for science fiction, though!)...Overall, though, this film succeeds in being very, very entertaining to watch. Additionally, the entire premise of the film is so original that it was a thoroughly enjoyable - if light - film experience. The ending had something to be desired, but this is still an entertaining movie.
Of course, this film really doesn't have much to do with the actual stargate conspiracy, but it is interesting, nonetheless. Kurt Russell does, believe it or not, an excellent job with his role and manages to balance a powerful character in this film.
Now, for this DVD. Firstly, the DVD is cheap. That's always a plus. However, all the DVD has on it is the movies: I was pretty much expecting there to be what MOST DVD's have (-ie, traliors, interviews, etc)...I was disappointed to find that this edition did not contain any theatrical trailers. There is, however, a short side-film about the Stargate and the prospect of there even being one.
on June 19, 2004
First off, once you get past the idea of a Stargate the rest kind of falls into place. The government, with the help of Professor Daniel Jackson (James Spader), figures out how to work it. Pro. Jackson, with an escort of soliders led by Colonel Jack O'Neil (Kurt Russell) step through it to the other side.
They find a desert planet where humans are being made to mine for the same material that the gate was made from.
The people are Egyptians who were removed from Earth over 10,000 years ago, by an alien, and even Daniel Jackson can't understand their language because living languages CHANGE.
The movie is careful to stay away from many of the cliches of most sci-fi movies but also stays away from having characters which are TOO simple. Both Daniel and Jack (played by James and Kurt) are real people, not cardboard cut-outs, with all the flaws and merits of our own reality. The natives are catch between trying to be friendly towards strangers AND not pissing off their Gods.
The science and technology used by Ra and his men look very sleek and very real. From the spaceship to the gliders, everything has a touch of old Egyptian myth mixed with advanced alien know-how.
The DVD comes with two versions of the movie, Director's Cut and the theatrical cut, in which the former has audio commentary. The DVDs also have a great 'Making of Stargate' featurette, a 'Is There a Stargate?' short starring Erich von Daniken himself, trailers, scane access, crew and cast information and production notes.
Everything you could want in a DVD set, a mixture of sound science fiction, a touch of great effects and the pinch of old fashion adventure. This is a great pop corn flick. Enjoy!
on May 21, 2004
In "Stargate" an ultra-secret military experiment on a mysterious ancient Egyptian artifact reveals it to be a device for crossing huge distances of interstellar space. How or why the device works proves less important than how it can be used. So, with eccentric Egyptologist "Mr. Jackson" (Spader), and led by burnt out Col. Jack O'Neal (Russell), a crack team of American commando travels through the gate and finds themselves on a distant planet on the other edge of the galaxy. There, they will find a primitive civilization of humans looking pretty much like those of Khemitic Egypt. They will also learn the secret of the Stargate's creator, and its dark plans for humanity. Turns out that the gate was created by Ra, a super-intelligent being that used super-science to create the ancient Egyptian empires. Fearing Ra's power, his ancient slaves buried their stargate, thus trapping Ra on the other side. Now realizing the way is open to return to Earth, and feeling somewhat vindictive, Ra plans to attack our planet. Only Jackson and O'neal stand in its way.
This was a nifty idea for a movie, though not a very original one. (If "Independence Day" was like "War of the Worlds" with F-18's, then "Stargate" was a rip-off of the "Dr. Who" serial "Pyramids of Mars" of 1975 - both feature a vindictive demi-godly Egyptian being trapped on one side of a stargate; "Stargate" swaps Tom Baker's jibes for Kurt Russell's machine guns). The flick generates little suspense (Spader's character can read the hieroglyphics that helpfully explain the premise behind the scrtipt) and the villains (once we've determined that they are just that) have little depth or menace - the script calls for them to look like ancient Egyptians, which gives them the appearance you'd expect from CB Demille. Spader and Russell are two interesting actors, but the script gives them little to work off each other with. O'Neal, we learn early on, is grief and guilt stricken because his son accidentally killed himself with O'Neal's gun. By the end of the flick, he's found his groove again, and is ready to battle evil - but the turnabout seems shallow, and doesn't seem as much fun as it should. Like the rest of the movie, it's big and loud, and not as much fun as it should be.
on March 28, 2004
indeed this is probably the best sci-fi movie, personally speaking of course. i've seen it countless times and this special edition includes the way-better director's cut which features more depth and more action. first i'll mention that the actores are all amazing - james spader and jay williamson in particular deliver exceptional performances, especially during their scenes together (i'd even say you can write a queer studies seminar paper on ra's character), and mili avital was an excellent casting choice as well (though too bad she has not gathered much momentum since and mainly does israeli tv nowadays).
dvd-wise the featurettes are great, especially the erich von däniken segment, the director/producer commentary is very very interesting as well just because of the great thought and resources that went into creating this film. i have to say that the reason this is one of the best sci-fi films ever is because it's so well researched, and it doesn't try to make itself simple to understand for the average joe viewer. i've also read the novel adaptation and it's the same case there as well. when you compare this movie to the tripe that's usually being produced when it comes to sci-fi, you can see that there is a clear motivation for everything and even a highly believable scenario - aliens don't just come to earth out of the blue, just like von däniken's book states, there has always been enough 'evidence' on earth to suggest that the ra character exists, that the stargate existed etc.. of course it's all far-fetched but not impossible nonetheless.
finally the musical score in the movie is one of the greatest scores ever so make sure you have your sorround system installed for this movie.
on March 13, 2004
I have to hand it to science fiction; it is one of the few genres that can have mediocre acting and still be a good movie. Stargate's story is the reason for its success. The movie tells the story of a race of aliens that used (notice how I did not say built) an interstellar portal, called a Stargate, in order to bring humans to a new planet for slave labor. This all happened during the time of ancient Egypt, so there is a disticnt Egyptian flavor throughout the film, which I found very intriguing. In 1928, archeaologists find the Stargate and are baffled by it. In the present day, the Stargate is in the hands of the United States Air Force, and they hire an Egyptologist named Daniel Jackson (James Spader) to decipher the markings on the gate. Jackson is somewhat infamous in his field, because he denies that humans built the pyramids. He believes that it was done by aliens, but he has no proof to back it up. The Air Force also brings in an old retired colonel, named Jack O'Neil (Kurt Russell) in order to "supervise" the project. Once Jackson gets the Stargate operational, a team, led by O'Neil and including Jackson for scientific purposes, goes through the gate and ends up on a planet in a galaxy far far away (sorry, I couldn't help myself). On the planet, they encounter other humans who still speak ancient Egyptian as well as a race of humanoid aliens who are keeping the men as slaves.
The story is very inventive and it is what finally saved the movie for me. Spader did okay in his role, but Russell seemed to have two modes: angry and sarcastic. One thing that I didn't understand was that Russell gets top billing, but the movie is essentially about Spader's Jackson. Also, I didn't like Ra (Jaye Davidson), the leader of the aliens. He was a good character, but he was so creepy just because he looks so much like a woman! I could barely look at him it was so disturbing. But besides these two things, Stargate is a great movie. The effects are great, and as I have already stated, the story is amazing.
on March 12, 2004
I think one of the reasons a highly successful television show spawned from this film is because the producers felt they had to redeem themselves. Although the movie manages to fit ancient Egyptian deities, a pyramid-shaped spaceship, aliens,a nuclear bomb, military ops, a marriage, and messages about everything from slavery to gun control into its two hours, there are still enough plot holes to fit the Giza pyramids in.
In fact, the film seems like it would have made a much better movie for TV to begin with. Throughout the entire film, I felt like I had already watched every scene in some other Sci-fi flick. Maybe it was a prototype ten years ago, but now the ideas seem just too stereotypical. The film starts out with an ancient Egyptian dig in the 1920's- Indiana Jones, anyone? - where an ancient stone portal is unearthed, then flashes forward to an unappreciated scientist in the present day, who is recruited to work on the mysterious project of figuring out what the heck the so-called Stargate is supposed to do. Once he does (which takes him all of seven minutes, and you're supposed to assume that the scientists before him couldn't figure out what a triangle symbolized in ancient Egypt)he goes with a scout team led by Kurt Russel into a strange desert planet where dread-locked, shabbily dressed people mine minerals.
From there, what could have been a promising movie disintegrates into one goofy scene after another: the native's discovery of the miraculous workings of guns and cigarette lighters (just what I would want to give another civilization), a group of liberty-minded teenagers form a motley crew of militants dressed in the scout team's army vests and helmets,James Spader suddenly learns how to speak ancient Egyptian, subtitles appear, than inconveniently disappear, then appear again, and Kurt Russel gets to kick the stuffing out of Anubis and Horus.
There are, however, advantages to this film. There are some winning scenes, most of them with Viveca Lindfors, who plays the aged leader of the Stargate investigation team. She's absolutely charming. James Spader is presentable as the geeky but heroic Daniel Jackson, but he doesn't really have to do anything in the last forty minutes or so because he's always running around. He's much better playing skeevy guys (for instance, his neat role in Sex, Lies and Videotape). Kurt Russel and Jaye Davidson, as Colonel O'Neil and Ra respectively, are the best parts of the whole movie, probably because they just look so fabulous. Jaye Davidson is so androgynously beautiful you wish there were more scenes with him. Kurt Russel plays the melancholy but efficient O'Neil with far less humor than Richard Anderson does on TV, but golly, does he look handsome. Plus, keep an ear open for David Arnold's score. Like everything else in this movie, it borrows heavily from its genre predecessors (in this case, Star Wars), but it's still very, very good.
As for the DVD, the special features didn't mean much to me, since I didn't like the film too much anyway, but the color was striking (much yellow and blue, which seems to have been picked solely to accent Mr. Russel's blond hair and blue eyes, and I'm not just saying that) and the sound was also great. If you're in the mood to get a movie that you don't have to think much about, or if you're looking for a creative explanation of the origin of mankind, then this might be of some interest to you.