Written by: Dean Devlin & Roland Emmerich | Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Colonel Jack O’Neil… Kurt Russell
Dr. Daniel Jackson… James Spader
Ra… Jaye Davidson
Skaara… Alexis Cruz
Kasuf… Erick Avari
Sha’uri… Vivi Avital
Dr. Gary Meyers… Richard Kind
Genre: Science Fiction, Aliens
DR. DANIEL JACKSON: A million years into the sky is Ra, sun god; sealed and buried for all time… his Stargate.
An action movie employing every cliche in the book, Stargate sees the US military handed control of an alien device they don’t know how to use. Then along comes discredited archaeologist Dr. Daniel Jackson, who deciphers the symbols and enables a team to step through the device, called a Stargate, and onto a distant planet. This planet is ruled by an alien creature claiming to be Ra, the ancient Egyptian god. He gets blown up.
Why It’s Must-See: From the moment the alien ship starts descending over Ancient Egypt, the film sets out to deliver grand images. The sight of the Stargate being hoisted into position evokes a sense of discovery and wonder; same when the team steps out of the pyramid on the other side and gets their first look at its vast size. It’s WOW. But mostly, it’s must-see for the television shows that follow it.
Romance Factor: Absolutely, and here it’s the geek who gets the girl, which certainly provides an interesting twist when it comes to action movies.
Box Office: The film grossed close to $200 million worldwide, on an estimated budget of $55 million.
Critical Reception: There’s no doubt that the success of the film took some critics by surprise, given that it was panned for its clichés, uninspired acting and lack of spectacle. Noted critic Roger Ebert went so far as to say: “The movie Ed Wood, about the worst director of all time, was made to prepare us for Stargate,” and gave the movie one star.
Influence: Well, it gave us four television series, the magnificent Stargate SG-1 (1997 – 2006), the animated Stargate Infinity (2002 – 2003), the enjoyable Stargate Atlantis (2004 – 2009) and the controversial Stargate Universe (2009 – 2012). So that’s pretty influential.
On the Page: A novelization of the movie was released in 1994, and five further novels, written by Bill McCay and published between 1995 and 1999, continued the story. Dozens of novels have been released to tie-in with SG-1, Atlantis and — to a far lesser extent — Universe, as well.
Did You Know? Stargate was the very first movie to have an official website.