Stargate is one of those films I didn’t really know anything about so when I watched the film the execution was quite a bit different from what I was expecting. I think it should have embraced the sci-fi nature of the story more and yet instead we’re stuck on a sand planet with no real tech for most of the film. I don’t know why so many sci-fi films like going to pre tech planets for a good chunk of the adventure, Star Wars, Dune, Star Trek The Movie, and Stargate now. I mean it defeats the entire purpose of seeing all the cool tech right?
So the movie starts off with Daniel being recruited by the government to help with some kind of super secret project going on. Basically there are some hieroglyphs with special messages and there is also a mysterious gate. If they can figure out how to use it then this could be a massive discovery. Daniel solves this pretty quickly which activates the gate and so he is picked to be a part of the team that goes through it. His expertise will be absolutely critical here after all. Plus if his theory is right they will need to activate a gate on whatever destination they end up in if they want to return. Unfortunately when they land they don’t see the missing part of the gate so it could be anywhere. The team is now stranded and they will have to find a way back before their supplies are shot.
Right off the gate the group is pretty mean to Daniel. They’re all giving him a tough time throughout and sure they are upset because he had more or less assured them that he would be able to get then home. This turned out to be more of a bluff but it would still be nice for the group to at least have some kind of unity right? If you can’t get along while on an alien planet then I’m sorry to inform you but you’re definitely going to be doomed. Surviving is hard enough on its own when you have the whole group, let alone when you’re all split up like this and sabotaging Daniel like when they threw all of his papers away.
As the film goes on most of them gradually start to soften up and be more reasonable but it was a rough beginning there without a doubt. Daniel doesn’t make for the best character though as he generally isn’t super confident and sort of stumbles around a lot. He is a genius which is why he was able to decode the puzzle. So the guy’s skills are legit but I think he could stand to be a little tougher and more self sufficient. The army commander Jack was a lot more interesting. Now he does start off a bit more antagonistic but the guy is also seeing the big picture and trying to stay alive out there.
I wouldn’t say he makes all of the right decisions but he is also put in a pretty tough position. He was basically given secret orders that would be super controversial if the world knew about them so he has to play things pretty close to the vest. It’s a lot of pressure for anyone to have to real with. He fights hard to the end and never waivers in setting up his attack. The rest of the squad are mostly on the forgettable side and a lot of them start to get bumped off once the villains get serious anyway.
The villains here had an absolutely epic introduction as they showed up in their full armor and were ready for action. I liked the robotic designs and their energy attacks which really stood out. Unfortunately they were not able to keep their momentum up because it turns out that these were robotic suits and that underneath them these guys just looked like ordinary humans. Yeah….not the most interesting design they could have chosen that’s for sure. These guys end up feeling really forgettable as a result but it was also such a let down because it’s another area that could have looked really cool visually on the sci-fi angle and they fumbled the ball on that one.
This film is going with the Egyptian origins for the villains so for example the big boss is Ra. Of course he isn’t actually the god from the myths but an alien that showed up back when humanity was still in its early stages and he was so advanced that they all treated him like a god. Ra enjoyed this and so he basically set up the whole culture. Yes, the pyramids and such did arrive thanks to aliens! That’s always a fun little nod but still they should have given Ra a really cool design. Instead he basically takes the form of a human when instead I’d have loved for him to actually look like Anubis or any number of other sci-fi type designs.
Any scene back at the village with the aliens would tend to be a little dull as well because you could remove the term “sci-fi” from the genres and you wouldn’t know the difference. The village has no tech at its disposal and since both sides can’t understand one another it makes for a lot of slow paced scenes. The foods the heroes have to eat were also pretty gross although it was smart to accept since turning away food could definitely be seen as a slight. I was just waiting for them to get back to the actual alien plot with cool sci-fi elements and all of that.
The climax does have some real action though even if the humans should have been immediately defeated. This was another case of villains that were created to be too powerful so they end up getting really nerfed by the end. You just don’t buy that they could possibly be defeated in the way that they were. They were stronger and faster than the humans in addition to having the better tech. So when you consider all of that….well that should be it. In the end they let their guard down too much and pay the price for it. The effects are good though and I can say that for the whole movie. It’s all aged well visually which is why they should have focused on that aspect more.
All told, this is still a decent movie but one that should have been pretty good instead. It’s a tale of two halves here. Anytime the sci-fi elements are around then you are bound to have a lot of fun but when they’re at the village you end up getting bored. The romance is also really weak considering that the two characters barely know each other. I find it hard to believe that the romance would happen so quickly especially when the humans are busy trying to get back to their world. There is just no time for any of this.
Overall, Stargate was really not what I was expecting but I can see the potential for how you could turn this into a really fun franchise. It just needs a few more steps into the right direction and then it will really be set. If the sequel can just double down on the action elements and have a portal to a more advanced world then we will be in business. If you’re up for a sci-fi film that forgets it is one for large parts of the film then this is the title for you but otherwise I would say to skip it for now.