Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Movie Review: Stargate

Everything I think is wrong with television Science Fiction, hell television period,  can be summed up in one word, well two. Stargate Universe. I loath that show. So very very much. I loath that show. It was the last nail on the coffin of adventure sci-fi.

Going to cool places, seeing cool stuff.  Meeting alien cultures. Going where no man has gone before. Can't have that anymore. Um uh. Some would blame BSG. But I like BSG so allow me to have my displaced anger, you frakin' toasters! There is only one BSG accept no substitutes everything else is a pale imitation. (Miles, what about the original... and Galatica 1980, ...and Caprica,...  and Blood and Chrome? Eh em . I SAID THERE IS ONLY ONE BSG! ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES!)

And oddly enough Stargate Universe was the antithesis of what the Stargate Universe had become known for so let's go back to the beginning to the movie that started it all. Stargate.

Tales of Wonder
Yeah this movie couldn't happen again. It opens on an Egyptian archeological dig site. That should tell you the kind of science fiction we're talking here. Wait. Egypt, aliens, I know where this is going.

One of my favorite characters in all of fiction is found giving a ill received lecture about how the pyramids were built by aliens. I'll say it now when I was growing up Dannel Jackson was the guy I wanted to be.  In the original series of the movie he mostly holds his own with military types not because he's a bag of muscles though, by the end of the show dude is ripped. He's the diplomat and on occasion strategist. Hell I even share a name with the guy. Though I will lay anybody who calls me by my middle name out.

All that said when making the series some stuff changed. Never again do they mention that Jack O'neil was one the edge of suicide, though why does occasionally get a mention in the show.

In reviewing this I have to be honest. I'm a fan of the movie but I got into Stargate SG-1 first. Meaning while it wasn't meant to be I've always watched this movie as a prequel. The show is a long runner and it's first episode is kind of odd. Other than that though, while it takes steps to reintroduce the core concept to a new audience it keeps a good chunk of the back story of the movie intact. Meaning they talk about all this stuff but don't show it because well, they already did, with a theatrical budget no less. They got close with the season 8 episode, "Mobieus"

Jack's stated suicidal tendencies make him a little more of a hardass here than in the show, but his basic conflict with Daniel remains the same here as there. Daniel is a scholar. I'll get into the plot in a bit, but he sees it as an opportunity to expand the knowledge of all mankind. When the most expedient option is to blow it back to hell he will wrap his body around the bomb. Jack, being an Air Force officer, is more pragmatic. He will shoot the dog without hesitation. Stick a pin in that.  This movie explains how they met and became friends.

Get Into The Gate

Alright, let's talk about the eponymous gate, one of the greatest discoveries of our age. An ancient interstellar teleportation system. The movie is basically about the first manned expedition to another planet.  You know all of the fascination and wonder of the moon landing. This movie tries and succeeds to recreate it. Space is cool. The last frontier of man, the last great unknown.

Right before the team goes through the gate you get great shot of the apprehension on everybody's faces, not just the away team, no everybody in the base. They all know that this is a moment that could potentially reshape the existence of mankind. Okay to go into the plot much further would be to ruin the experience. What do they find?

Other than all that stuff the central problem of the movie is how do they get back home.

The Go'uld
I'm not going to go into detail, but I'll just say they changed the nature of the Go'uld for the show and it might surprise the people watching the movie. That said the Go'uld are not the point. The wonder of space travel and exploration in general is the point.

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