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When Professor Daniel Jackson (James Spader) innocently accepts the offer of a mysterious woman to decode an ancient Egyptian artifact know only as the Stargate, he unwittingly takes the first step on an epic adventure that will span the galaxies and decide the fate of an entire planet. Colonel Jack O'Neil (Kurt Russell) a true soldier with nerves of steel and a tragic past, is brought back to active duty to commandeer the first trip through the Stargate. On a desert planet on the far side of the universe, Jackson and O'Neil must battle the powerful alien Sun God, Ra (Jaye Davidson). At stake: the freedom of an ancient civilization from slavery and any chance of ever getting home!
For more about Stargate and the Stargate Blu-ray release, see Stargate Blu-ray Review published by Sir Terrence on October 28, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson, Viveca Lindfors, Alexis Cruz, Djimon Hounsou
Director: Roland Emmerich
» See full cast & crew
Stargate Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Sir Terrence, October 28, 2008
Stargate comes to the small screen via the efforts of famous producing team of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, who also produced Independence Day (1996), and the not so good Godzilla (1998) (a movie I thoroughly enjoyed, but few others did). They also worked together on the movie Universal Soldier, with Emmerich behind the camera, and Devlin producing. With just Stargate, Godzilla and Independence Day alone, the team has a worldwide gross of over $1.5 Billion dollars. That is not in Lucas or Spielberg's lofty territory, but it is quite respectable in its own right. Stargate was to be the first of three films. However after Stargate was finished, the team moved on to make Independence Day instead, and the other sequels have never been made. While the sequels were never made, Stargate SG-1 finished a ten year television run last year. Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe are also offshoots of the Stargate franchise. Stargate Atlantis finished its run on the Sci-Fi channel in August, and Stargate Universe is scheduled for its initial run with a two hour movie, and a series on the Sci-Fi channel.
I have to admit, I have seen Stargate so many times that I almost have the dialog memorized. I have owned the flipper disc, and the Special Edition as well, neither anywhere near the quality of this bluray disc. I also owned the "Deluxe" THX approved laserdisc as well, and it is also nowhere near the quality of this disc. As you can tell, I like this movie. But apparently I am only one of 43% that rated it as good on Rottentomatos.com, as this movie has mostly gotten negative reviews from critics, and the public at large, mostly for the use (or overuse as some put it) of special effects, and excessive use of cliché. While I do not think this movie is great, the premise is interesting, as who would have thought to combine Egyptian culture with space travel?
It is 1928 and the film opens in the Giza desert where an archeology dig is taking place. I huge find is lifted out of the dirt and sand that looks like a giant ring. Fast forward to present day (1994) Daniel Jackson, an Egyptologist is giving a lecture on who built the pyramids. His theories that the ancient Egyptian people were visited by aliens, and this gets him laughed at and the professors begin streaming out of the room. As he leaves the lecture hall, he is stopped by a mysterious woman offering him a job testing his theories.
Jackson later finds himself at a secret underground bunker. He is shown a top secret archeological find, which turns out to be the ring found in the Giza desert back in 1928. He is able to find out more about the gate in a few minutes than it took the previous research crew in two years, Jackson discovers the purpose of the ring. It's a gateway to the heavens, or better known as a Stargate. He discovers the character sequence that starts the Stargate, and they start the gate. A watery vortex forms inside the ring. They decide to push a probe through the gate, and it is tracked going across the galaxy finally stopping on another planet deep in space. It is decided that a research team is needed to investigate what is on the other side of the gate. Colonel O'Neil is ordered to take a team through the stargate to identify any military threat. If so, he is directed to destroy the gate on the other side. On the other side of the gate the team discovers a civilization enslaved by aliens posing as Ra, the ancient Egyptian sun god, a major deity of the Egyptian culture. The teams befriends the slaves, but are later captured by the aliens. After a long struggle, O'Neil team assists the slaves in a successful rebellion that leads to freedom.
Stargate Blu-ray, Video Quality
Stargate comes to Bluray as a 130 minute Extended cut presented in 1080p/MPEG-2 encode on a BD-25 that for the most part looks pretty good for most of its runtime. Let's start with the good. Most of the exterior desert shots look terrific, highly detailed, and have a nice punch to them. People looked like small blobs on long shots on the various earlier releases of this movie now have a highly detailed shape and definition. Colors have been finely adjusted to yield a rich, vivid saturation without bleeding or smearing. Grain is well managed, a bit coarse, and sometimes a bit excessive but not distractingly so. Black levels are solid and stable. There was a little ringing around some sharp objects, but overall I am impressed with this bluray release, as it is the best I have seen this movie look.
Stargate Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Stargate's audio presentation is highlighted by a Dolby Digital EX track at 448kbps, and a 6.1 Dts-HD high resolution extended surround track set at a constant bit rate of 3mbps roughly double that of a regular "core" Dts tracks. In spite of the age of this film, the soundtrack is excellent, and there is a reference moments in it as well. On this one I give the Dts track the definite edge, as it sounded fuller, better channel delineation and separation, better channel coherence, and with a wider soundstage. The worm-hole segment is particularly effective, with inter-channel whooshes flying all over the room, front to back, side to side in the surrounds, and pounding deep bass from the main front channels as well as the LFE. There is consistent ambience coming from the surround speakers, whether it's the sound of wind blowing, or the score, or the ambience of the different locations in the movie. This makes for very audible scene to scene transitions, which adds to the realism of the overall mix. The overall frequency response and balance of the entire mix is excellent. The only issue I had with this mix was that at times it could sound just a bit strident, and that is especially evident during the closing credits. It does not seem that it's a problem during the movie itself. I have always thought the mix of Stargate was excellent, and this is the best audible incarnation of that great mix by far.
Stargate Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Extras on this disc are extremely sparse as there is only a commentary track which I found lively but fairly typical. They cover every aspect of the movie, and are quite passionate about. There is nothing else in the way of extras on this disc.
Stargate Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Stargate is not a great movie, but it sure is a fun movie to watch. It definitely has made an impact, as it has spawned a series of off shoots made for the small screen. The transfers is pretty good with just some small warts, but the lack of a lossless track and some extras makes this a pretty thin value for all but the most diehard fans of this movie
Stargate: Other Editions
Stargate Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Stargate Continuum Coming to Blu-ray - April 16, 2008
MGM Home Entertainment has revealed that they will bring the direct-to-video movie 'Stargate: Continuum' to Blu-ray on July 29th, day-and-date with the DVD release. Based on the popular Stargate SG-1 TV series, film will be presented in 1.78:1 1080p video and accompanied ...
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