The adventures continue with the Sci-Fi Chronicles book, as I kcik back and enjoy Kurt Russell and James Spader in this science fiction actioner that seems to be heavily influenced by Chariots of the Gods, and wonderfully marries Egyptian mythology, with action, and space opera.
Long before the successful television series, Colonel Jack O’Neil (Russell) and Dr. Daniel Jackson (Spader) were thrown together by the American military after the discovery of a giant glyph covered ring in Egypt is brought to their attention.
Jackson deciphers the ring, and is able to open a ‘stargate’, a wormhole to another planet. Finding themselves on the planet Abydos, Jackson, O’Neil and his team (including John Diehl and French Stewart) find transplanted humans, who are working as a slave race to a race of aliens who seem to have embraced the iconography of ancient Egypt, posing as gods, including Ra (Jaye Davidson), and travel around in space, carried in giant pyramids.
I love the fringe science and pseudo-history at work here at the beginning of the movie, before things really take off.
Jackson is brought on to the project because of his views and papers on the pyramids, and the belief that they are older than believed, while O’Neil is carrying emotional baggage over the death of his son. The two are thrown together, and could not be more dissimilar, and yet together they are ready for the trials and enemies that they face on the other side of the Stargate.
There is fun humor, well-paced action beats, and a joyous sense of wonder and discovery in this film. It stills plays as a fun movie, and it’s no surprise that it inspired multiple television series.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of Emmerich’s films, they tend to be superficial at best, and do not stand up to multiple viewings, but this one is such a joy. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in something amazing, learning about a secret project that directly came from our own history, and influenced our culture to eventually lead us on an adventure beyond imaging off planet?
There’s cool technology, a fun adaptation of our own history into a new mythology, and I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that it has a gorgeous score by David Arnold, one that to this date, I find myself humming and whistling more often than not.
This is just a big, fun, popcorn movie, one that fired my imagination the first time I saw it, and re-watching it for the blog was a joy. For me, this one still works! It feels like a movie I would have watched when I was a kid some Saturday afternoon in a darkened theater (I missed it when it originally came out, but boy did I wear out my VHS copy!).
Solid effects, a great score, a strong cast, and a sense of wonder and adventure, just what a sci-fi action film needs!
So, dial it up, and step through to adventure!