Friday, February 20, 2009

Stargate (1994)

Well, before I even get started, let me clarify that the movie came long before the television show, so in case you were harboring any doubts because you've seen that ridiculous piece of foolishness, please, place them aside delicately. No, no, this movie is clearly a work of sheer genius. Written and directed by the man who has worked on some of the most iconic sci-fi of our generation (Universal Soldier, Independence Day, etc.!), this movie is vastly superior to almost any other sci-fi that came out of the 90s. And while some deem it blasphemy, I hesitate only slightly before saying that it is reminiscent of Star Wars (you know, the good ones), and we all know that's a pretty lofty statement these days. It's the effects. They're just so amazing! It's like they actually put effort into making a movie that looked good! And I know that you may be skeptical of a comparison to technology and cinematic feats from 20 years earlier, but hey, I don't care how fucking old it is if it looks awesome. The sets are really nice as well. It seems 3-dimensional, like they actually bothered to build real buildings. And there are creatures! Totally bizarro, animatronic aliens with roiling eyes and slobber galore. There are also crazy aliens from another part of the Universe, dressed up in fancy clothes with CGI helmets in the shape of cobra heads and all the androgenous, scantily-clad youth a power-monger could hope for. If you don't believe me about all this goodness, just watch the trailer. Actually, the head alien got his film break in The Crying Game, where they totally just used him for his on-screen tranny nudity. But the film actually won a shit-load of awards, and this dude was offered the head androgenous alien part, and apparently he requested a million dollars because he thought they would never give it to him, but they did! And then he retired! What a sweet deal! So: tranny aliens, foreign languages, nerdy archaeologists, cross-cultural confusion, nuclear weapons, religious revolts, political piracy, and all that awesomeness before we even get to Kurt Russell! Yes, Kurt fucking Russell! He's the glory of all things godly, and seeing The Snake in his native desert and desert fatigues can truly make any doomed day seem delectably delightful. And, for the nerdy cherry on top: this movie was the first one to have an official website. Yes, the first one. Wowzah! It's really no wonder it sparked a chain reaction of science-fiction nerdiness that would eventually degenerate to the point of giving all us legitimate science-fiction intellectuals a bad rap. But I guess that's always the case. The only bad thing about this movie is that it debuts the squinty and always complaining French Stewart. And no, he's not one of the aliens. But other than that, it's seriously top notch. Don't think I'm kidding around; it's not often you come across science-fiction that's not ironic but is still good. I mean, think about it. How many can you name? And I guess it paid off since this movie made a cool $200 million in theaters alone. Shazam! I don't know how many people have seen it since then though, so I just thought I'd remind you awesome and truly iconic this piece of cult-culture is. And the theme song is just so fucking classic (the end is the best! or...if you're feeling desperate...)!

I guess Ebert (once again) says it best:
""Stargate" is like a film school exercise. Assignment: Conceive of the weirdest plot you can think of, and reduce it as quickly as possible to action movie cliches. If possible, include sun god Ra, and make sure something gets blowed up real good."

Damn straight.

Final Judgment: "Stay away from the fan-sites, but pay homage to the vision!/Kurt Russell's hardened warrior type is to melt for!/A perfectly scrumptious melding of Star Wars, Indiana Jones and The Mummy that brings glory to the action sci-fi genre!/Kurt Russell finally shows that he's in Harrison's league!

And just to be clear, I don't give a shit who came up the fucking idea; all I care about is the final product. And it's glorious.

1 comment:

Ana Bastow said...

I haven{t watched the series (its blasphemy to try and replace James Spader) but I adored the movie and you are right is a great feat with its effects and Egyptian scenarios. Great post!