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Human Rating: 2.5 / 5 Alien Rating: Crop Circle

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StargateThe unexpected box office takings of this sleeper sci-fi hit no doubt gave other sci-fi projects the green light and so 1995 saw more than the usual number of SF flicks. For that alone it must be thanked by special effects aficionados. (For post-Stargate sci-fi movies seem to offer little else - witness the team behind this film, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin's next effort: Independence Day (1996)...)

The plot? A mixture between Erich von Däniken, Dune (1984) and Aliens (1986) as a marine platoon enters a mysterious dimensional portal activated thanks to the ingenuity of an Egyptologist (James Spader) to find a desert planet ruled by an advanced and vicious alien who uses humans as his slaves. (Of course, this idea is laughable: how a high-tech production process would demand unskilled human labor!) Action follows ā la Dune gigantic battle scenes in the desert.

StargateThe effects are well-done and both Spader and Kurt Russell (as the tough-as-nails platoon leader) give likable performances. But this remains a matinee movie for the kids and little else. Actually this rather derivative film made me long for other movies: the opening shot with the "stargate" being discovered in Egypt made me want to see Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) again: the film from which the scene was no doubt stolen...

Review by James O'Ehley from The Sci-Fi Movie Page.

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