I’m not usually a big fan of spoof films, which may be why I didn’t like Stargate. Now you’re probably saying “hey, Stargate isn’t a spoof film!” Well, maybe not technically but it sure as hell plays like one. This is the exact reason why some people say they hate science fiction; it’s so painfully stereotypical that at times it really does seem like a big joke. It’s a shame because this film had the potential for a big fun 90s style adventure.
The first scene in this film is nearly identical to Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Might sound random, but we have a misunderstood scientist talking about stuff no one takes seriously before a car shows up in the rain and it’s a older person who believes in his work and offers him a mission of some sort. We open with James Spader doing everything I just described and then we are introduced to this investigation led by an older woman. They’ve found this huge round structure that they come to believe is a gateway or portal to space. Kurt Russell is also introduced as a man sent by the military to oversee this whole investigation. I’ll start with the aspects I thought worked.
So James Spader is actually pretty good here. He’s a talented actor and even though the material he’s straddled with is poor, he does the absolute best he can with it. Kurt Russell is a great actor as well and although sometimes he gets stereotypical with his portrayal, overall he does pretty well. Viveca Lindfors is another really good thing Stargate has going for it. She doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but she makes great use out of what time she does have. That’s about it as far as good things go.
So the first glaring problem here is that the narrative is so unbelievably boring. There is nothing new to bring to the genre or anything to spark a viewer’s interest. And I’m not one of these people that will give a film a thumbs down because “we’ve seen it before”. A film that is predictable can still be a lot of fun if done well, but Stargate can’t even get that right. One of the things I like about science fiction films such as these is the wonder of the of new places or in this case, the Stargate itself. But when they go through the Stargate, instead of showing us the cool journey of the portal transporting them, everything just goes black and they show up in some pyramid.
From there, the crew comes across these people who are, of course, controlled by this evil alien ruler. Then, of course, that ruler arrives and they must take him on. We know where this is going, so damnit just get there already. Like I said, it could’ve been predictable but still entertaining, but these people they come across aren’t interesting at all, and they barely have any interaction with them. While Spader’s character does end up getting to know one of females they actually give him as a gift (kind of a prostitute thing) they have no palpable chemistry and the only real reason they even interact is so she can reveal to him this long backstory of how this evil alien ruler came to dominate them. That’s another thing, you don’t care at all about the exposition because the film hasn’t given you any reason to. But hey at least the evil alien ruler is cool right? Well no, laughable is more like it.
So I’ll just give you the name of this ruler. His name is Ra, but more laughable than that is his appearance. He is an alien that’s possessed the body of a teenage boy. It’s extremely hard to take an evil alien villain seriously when he is this kid trying to act menacing. It falls completely flat and once again you don’t care. It’s really unfortunate that everything here is so disappointingly bland because this had some good potential to be a fun space adventure. I think it’s obvious that no I do not recommend Stargate In fact, I strongly advise you skip it.