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STARGATE is the revolutionary sci-fi film that speculates a fictional, albeit possible theory of the initial origins of mankind. Finding a technology advanced 'transporter', Stargate, the government sets about discovering how to reactivate the 'alien' relic. But when the transporter reopens the gap between planet earth and planet x, present day humans are sent to the planet to discover humanity's worst fear: humans are being transported and manipulated into slavery on a planet in a far off galaxy where we, oppressed and unable to evolve, work under the authority of the notorious Egyptian God, Ra, mining a mineral that enable the proliferation of his race at the expense of ours.
Written by: Dean Delvin and Roland Emmerich. Directed by: Roland Emmerich.
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Adventure, Sci-Fi.
Rated: PG-13 for thematic content and occasional scenes of violence.
Giza, Egypt, 1928: An American professor and his team of archaeologists discover a rare and priceless find; a mysterious relic of inherently technologically advanced capabilities containing inscriptions of an ancient Egyptian writing system. Pan to present day where the daughter of the professor heads to an academic conference where Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader), PhD, is giving a lecture on a possible conspiracy theory relative to the origins of the ancient Egyptian pyramids. Believing the pyramids to have existed previous to the historically recognized 4th century dynasty, Jackson speculates that both the writing system and the pyramids existed prior to the Egyptian culture, and possibly, didn't derive from Egypt at all. But as is the fate of most conspiracy theories, his attentive listeners quickly turn sour and leave the hall; with only Dr. Jackson and a curious woman remaining.
As Dr. Jackson prepares to head home he is escorted into a limousine where the woman mysteriously alludes to a confidential project involving the translation of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Within 48 hours Dr. Jackson is flown to Colorado where he will meet the likes of Colonel Jack O’Neil (Kurt Russell), his right hand man, Lieutenant Kowalski, his superior, General West, and the rest of military personnel along with the mysterious woman. There too he also finds the answer to his theories… Apparently the government has obtained the woman's father's findings from 1928 and for the past two years has been working on translating the hieroglyphs so as to understand the function of the relic. Assigning Jackson to the job, he does in 2 weeks what no one was able to do in 2 years. Understanding that the primary hieroglyphs are an Ancient form, he re-translates the initially incorrect translation and merges it with the message written in a completely foreign, unknown language writing system. As Jackson discovers, what was originally believed to be a symbolic lexicon to translate, was actually in fact a series of star constellations positioned in a way so as to formulate a map of sorts. Immediately all involved set about unveiling the pivotal "7th symbol" and attempting to align the cover stones with, to Jackson’s surprise, the precarious 'Stargate'. Quickly identifying the 7th symbol on the device, the operation is put in full swing and shortly thereafter they have a fully functional alien transporter.
Sending a probe into the portal, the machine sends back data concluding that it has been transported to the other side of the known universe on a planet whose atmospheric conditions exactly match Earth's. The next step, then, is to send a group throught he portal where, once there, they will translate the differing symbols on the Stargate on the other side. Enlisting Dr. Jackson, Colonel O'Neil and his men prepare to travel the speed of light to the ambivalent 'Planet x'. But what should be a quick trip there and back turns into a possibly permanent hiatus as, once there, Dr. Jackson discovers the 7th symbol to be missing. Needing a point of origin, Jackson is intent on searching for life forms and discovering a possible answer to the mystery.
As the men set up base camp, O'Neil and Jackson make their way out of the strange building where, once outside, they encounter a desert looking landscape, much like Egypt, where, ironically, and much to Dr. Jackson's delighted amusement, an exact replica of the Pyramid of Giza stands erect before them. Understanding now that his conspiracy theory was correct, Dr. Jackson goes in search of life, which he finds in the form of a strange yak/camel/alien hybrid that leads him to an alien civilization. But, oddly enough, the aliens are humans speaking an Ancient Egyptian dialect, which, at first, even Jackson is unable to understand. As the simple people invite them into their home, Jackson, O'Neil and his men do their best to communicate using symbols; but it seems as if writing is forbidden. Left to instincts, it isn’t until a beautiful woman by the name of Sha’uri (Mili Avital) befriends Jackson and leads him to a cave where she teaches him how to read and speak her language as is preserved on the walls of the mysterious building. Immediately understanding the connection, he realizes that she is speaking an Ancient Egyptian dialect, and that the written tablets preserved on this planet reflect an Ancient form of Egyptian hieroglyphs not discovered anywhere on Earth.
Quickly Jackson begins transcribing the hieroglyphs in hopes of discovering a point of origin for the stargate. What he finds, however, is a story about the origins of mankind, and the means by which they found their way to this planet. Apparently an alien species was going extinct on their dying planet, and, under the leadership of one, they traveled the galaxy in search of a way to cheat death. Finding planet Earth, the alien race invades the Earth, in what is now Egypt, and begins to use a parasitical means of surviving by inhabiting human bodies and thus extending their life. In the body of a young boy, the leader assumes the form of man, calls himself Ra (Jaye Davidson), and assumes authority over the civilization. After constructing a stargate, or portal, he finds a way to transport humans from Earth to this precarious planet where he forces them to mine a particular mineral that is pivotal in advancing the technological capabilities of his race. But a rebellion on Earth results in the burying of the stargate, which remained buried until its rediscovery in 1928. On 'Planet X' however, in fear of another rebellion, Ra outlaws reading and writing, and thus the humble civilization is inept to evolve and remains completely dependent on their ‘god’.
As a curious young boy, Skaara (Alexis Cruz) begins to take a fond interest in Colonel O'Neil, and Sha’uri takes an even fonder interest in Daniel Jackson, Jackson tries to convince O'Neil and the men that they have a responsibility to rebel. Meanwhile Ra has returned to the planet, using the pyramid as a base for which to land his vehicle, and has set about capturing the rest of O'Neil's men left at base camp. As O'Neil and Jackson and several other troops head back to the pyramid, they too are captured and soon come face to face with the notorious Ra.
There, Jackson discovers another secret; O'Neil brought an atomic bomb across the Stargate intending to blow it up and close the gap between Earth and ‘Planet X’. But when Ra discovers the bomb, he threatens rebellion and begins to wreak havoc on the humans present on his planet, as well as making plans of sending the bomb back to Earth, in conjunction with a shipment of mineral that will amplify the nuclear power to a power times 100. With mankind’s future existence on the line, O'Neil and Jackson set about trying to intercept the bomb, while Sha'uri and Skaara try to convince their people to rebel against the nefarious Gods. But in a land where evolution has been thwarted and superstitions are a powerful cultural influence, it isn’t until Jackson and O'Neil can unveil the masked nemeses and reveal their mortal human frame that the humans become willing to rebel and rightfully reclaim their freedom.
A final showdown occurs at the pyramid where the rural people will attempt to overtake the nefarious alien race via the power of numbers. Meanwhile O'Neil has activated the nuclear bomb and it becomes a race against time to stop Ra and his race from their malicious plans before all are dead.
STARGATE is an intense and intriguing Sci-Fi action adventure film that has a lot of potential. The content is extremely fascinating, and rational enough. Never going overboard with special effects, but beautifully conflating the antithetical extremes of rural society and a technologically advanced species, STARGATE postulates a highly threatening, albeit reasonable nightmare for human existence. Perhaps what is most intriguing is that STARGATE doesn't just address the origins of mankind, in a conspiracy theory sort of fashion, but so too does the film address the future status of mankind within the plotline's action-filled content. Once a dependent race, the film relies on the operation of the fundamentally real and scientific occurrence of evolution to proliferate the human race, which has tragically been reduced to a stagnantly ancient civilization under the oppressive rule of an alien godhead on planet x. Without the ability to read or write the civilization cannot evolve, and thus they have no way of ever remembering, thus challenging, the grievous wrong that occurred so long ago.
STARGATE is a highly alluring film with a reasonable mystique that conflates history, philosophy, psychology, anthropology etc, all into one socio-evolutionary, albeit, fictional representation of the origins of man, his artifice, and the precarious state of his future. STARGATE accounts for many of the important nuances of the script that shed light on the devolved status of the society, of man's capability to learn and progress, and realistically addresses the many postulations of alien life without ever being overboard or too fanciful in theory.
Likewise the special effects are tasteful, and proper tension and suspense are created by a powerful score that resonates and operates in much the same way of the classic action adventure dramas of the "Indian Jones" trilogy. Though the acting wasn't spectacular, all involved did a credible job and solid performances did not hinder the believability of the film by any means. Also fundamental to the film's success was the mergence of fiction and nonfiction by altering the lens from a perspective of alien societies to the interaction of two antithetical states of mankind which represent the full spectrum of the evolution of our species. Humor, action, drama, romance, adventure, and science fiction are all rolled into one in this enjoyable and palatable film that, in all its fictitious glory, is realistic enough. More importantly, the fact that it is realistic is just another strongpoint for the film; the fact that "it could happen" is what helps make STARGATE all the scarier, and all the more enticing.
STARGATE was the recipient of 6 critical film awards including the BMI Film Music Award, Germany’s Golden Screen Award, as well as 3 awards from the Sci-Fi Universe Magazine for Best Actor, Best Special Effects, and Best Supporting Actress, and the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Film's Saturn Award for Best Sci-Fi film. “Stargate” also received 10 other nominations.
Kurt Russell plays Colonel Jonathan 'Jack' O'Neil, the cynical, jaded Colonel who heads the Stargate operation under the authority of General West.
James Spader plays Daniel Jackson, the awkward Academic whose radical ideas about the formation of the Egyptian pyramids and theories of a foreign hieroglyph system provoke his being hired as head researcher for the confidential Stargate project.
Alexis Cruz plays Skaara, the curious and inquiring boy encountered on 'Planet x' during the Stargate adventure.
Jaye Davidson plays Ra, the notorious chief leader of the people of 'Planet X', whose initial origins are from a dying planet in a far off galaxy.
Mili Avital plays Sha’uri, the beautiful human from 'Planet X', who falls in love with Dr. Jackson as she begins to teach him to read and write her ancient Egyptian language.