Having laid the foundation of a nexus of television spin-offs thenceforward(persisting two and a half decades and ongoing, with a possible reboot in gestation), Roland Emmerich’s filmic progenitor is de facto less a hardcore Sci-Fi adventure than a thinly veiled propaganda piece of colonialism, which nominally transports a contingent of earthlings (all American soldiers bar one scientist) into a terra incognita through a wormhole generated by Stargate, a mysterious instrument disinterred in Egypt.
A classic pair of brain and brawn, Daniel Jackson (Spader, when he is personable to a fault),an Egyptologist and Colonel Jack O’Neil (Russell, sporting a neat crew-cut) takes the leads, what they discover is a desert planet inhabited by Ancient Egyptians, enslaved by Ra, the God of Sun (an epicene Jay Davidson in his second and last film role before retiring from the showbiz altogether), a big question mark should be alerted for the ethnic semblance here, which can be readily construed as a crass fable boasting USA’s heroic inference of a less developed nation here on earth, liberating its downtrodden people and debunking the truth of their God (or any totalitarian figure), tellingly, the film’s atheist and scientific stance looks promising, but soon a sweeping whiff of smugness and self-congratulation will swamp everything and tenacious to dissipate.
As it turns out, the real identity of the so-called Ra, isan alien hosting a human body (thousands of years before he hijacked early humans to this remote planet and started his draconian rule), and what he presides over is a pretty tinpot reign (in spite of his stately pyramid-shaped spaceship), not only is he doomed to be vanquished by a team of earthlings in the end (yes, O’Neil follows the order, andsurreptitiously bringsa portable nuclear bomb on board in case of contingency, this is very American), but also he is clearly in short measure of both materiel and personnel in the first place (a dozen underlings and three laser-shooting aircrafts, that is all), not to mention the sole victim subjected to his seemingly almighty puissance is after all, one of his own incompetent guard.
Among the extraterrestrial hoi polloi, due focal points are projected to a rebellious youngster Skaara (Cruz) and a beauteous Sha’uri (Avital), who is bequeathed as a wife to Jackson by her father Kasuf (Avari), the leader of the tribe, whose awakening-to-rising route is a well-trodden but insipidly crafted one. If one must single out an asset from the entire enterprise, it could only be the set-up of the titular Stargate, an abstruse device can literally open portals to every nook and cranny of our cosmic universe (depending on which group of coordinates one employs), however,Emmerich is not a Sci-Fi polymath but a workmanlike skin-scratcher, so the end result is proximate to anyone’s skeptic forecast.
referential films: Emmerich’s WHITE HOUSE DOWN (2013, 5.5/10), INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996, 6.9/10).