Before they unleashed the idiotic mayhem of Independence Day and Godzilla, the idea-stealing team of director Roland Emmerich and producer-screenwriter Dean Devlin concocted this hokey hit about the discovery of an ancient portal capable of zipping travelers to "the other side of the known universe." James Spader plays the Egyptologist who successfully translates the Stargate’s hieroglyphic code, and then joins a hawkish military unit (led by Kurt Russell) on a reconnaissance mission to see what’s on the other side. They arrive on a desert world with cultural (and apparently supernatural) ties to Earth’s ancient Egypt, where the sun god Ra (played by Jaye Davidson from The Crying Game) rules a population of slaves with armored minions and startlingly advanced technology. After being warmly welcomed into the slave camp, the earthlings encourage and support a rebellion, and while Russell threatens to blow up the Stargate to prevent its use by enemy forces, the movie collapses into a senseless series of action scenes and grandiose explosions. It’s all pretty ridiculous, but Stargate found a large and appreciative audience, spawned a cable-TV series, and continues to attract science fiction fans who are more than willing to forgive its considerable faults. —Jeff Shannon
About Stargate (1994)
Starring: Frank Welker, Kurt Russell, John Diehl, Djimon Hounsou, Erick Avari, Christopher John Fields, Alexis Cruz, James Spader, John Storey, Jack Moore, Sayed Badreya, Steve Giannelli, Viveca Lindfors, Scott Alan Smith, Leon Rippy, Kenneth Danziger, Richard Kind, French Stewart, Erik Holland, Carlos Lauchu, Kairon John, Derek Webster, David Pressman, Nick Wilder, Michael Concepcion, Jerry Gilmore, Michel Jean-Philippe, Dialy N'Daiye, Mili Avital, Gladys Holland
Director: Roland Emmerich
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