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.
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.