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Stargate (15th Anniversary Edition)
BLU-RAY disk
Dec 4, 2009 By: Aaron the H
Stargate (15th Anniversary Edition) order download
Director:
Roland Emmerich

Actors:
Kurt Russell
James Spader
Jaye Davidson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A strange, sophisticated archway is discovered near the Pyramids in Egypt in 1928. Sixty-five years later, a team of scientists and soldiers step through itand into another world.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
A funny thing happened on the way to reviewing this movie. I watched it for the first time in years, wildly excited to see an old favorite of mine. Then I watched it, and found myself strangely underwhelmed and disappointed. Then, I watched the special features, and miraculously (if not inexplicably), my love for Stargate returned.

I cant really explain this phenomena, but its also kind of tough to explain Stargate. Part science-fiction, part historical epic, part romance, part action, Stargate offers a mixed bag of treats, and perhaps only now, fifteen years later does it underwhelm due to its relatively modest budget (in todays standards) and the release of much more massive sci-fi epics like Transformers and the new Terminator: Salvation. And yet, none of those films are able to cross genres like this one, and being adaptations of previous works, their narratives dont possess even a fraction of the creativity of this film. Where today's summer popcorn flicks emphasize impressive action and breakthroughs in flashy displays of new FX technology, Stargate is a more patient film that relies on the uniquity of its storyline (but still throws in some nifty action to boot).

The odd combo of nerdy, soft-spoken scientist James Spader and brooding bad-ass soldier Kurt Russell (who sports a gnarly flat-top) make for a nice tag team with some light comedic beats. Genderly-challenged Jaye Davidson (he/she of The Crying Game infamy) has little to do as the villain, Ra, but is plenty menacing when wearing that gnarly headpiece, which brings to mind another strength of this film, and one that really comes through in the special features- production values. While the Digital FX work is nothing to write home about, sets are absolutely massive and majestic, and costume design is extremely intricate and often striking. In an epic film like this, these elements are absolutely crucial.

As for shortcomings, this is afterall a Roland Emmerich joint, so the acting wont win any Oscars, and theres little in the way of emotional depth, which is a problem since there are large gaps of time without any action. The ending definitely has that Patriotic raised-fist Emmerich signature moment, but at the end of this ride, youll likely be hooting and hollering too.
THE EXTRAS
Ultimate Knowledge P.I.P.: A sort-of video commentary track that occasionally takes up the lower right chunk of the screen, playing during the movie. It contains interviews, behind the scenes footage, etc. but it doesnt necessarily sync up with the movie, so unless youre an incredible multi-tasker, its hard to pay attention to everything going on.

Stargate: History Made (22:30) - A fairly standard but well-made 3 part documentary. The first part tells the story of how the film came to fruition, the second part is a decent making-of, and the third details the legacy the film has left behind.

Master of the Stargate: Interactive Trivia Challenge - Two different trivia-style games for up to 4 players, where you watch the movie and answer trivia questions (that arent necessarily tied into the film) along the way. For Sci-Fi and history buffs mainly.

Is There a Stargate? (12:11) - A what if type featurette where a few kooky alien enthusiasts try to provide evidence that the great pyramids may really have been built by aliens- makes a decent case too.

The Making of Stargate (23:33) - This is sort of an expanded version of the second portion of the History Made featurette, except this one was clearly made back in the 90s. They dont make em like this anymore, and thats a sad thing. A very candid and interesting making-of, not to be missed if youre a Stargate fan.

Gag Reel (3:15) - This is one of the coolest, weirdest, most intricate little featurettes Ive ever seen. This is NOT a gag reel, its a rad reel. I have no idea whats going on, but I dont care. This crew had fun, and apparently, a lot of spare time on their hands. I want to watch a featurette on the making of THIS.

You also get the films Theatrical Trailer and a few other Lionsgate previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
There's a reason this film spawned a TV series spinoff (which then spawned another spinoff itself). Ancient Egyptians, a sexy slave chick, soldiers with heavy artillery, an evil alien and Djimon Hounsou wearing a mechanized bird helmet?

Hellsfrickinyeah.
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