Bone up on your ancient Egyptian heiroglyphics, because Stargate is the Greatest Movie EVER!
Click on the poster or the title above to download our review of the film,
featuring guest host Ro from Atomic Trivia War 9000.
Review in a Nutshell: Like many of Emmerich’s other films, Stargate is long on production value and short on plot. Spader and Russell are able to bring life and personality to their characters, though, and the costumes and sets still look great nearly two decades after the film’s debut.
The movie doesn’t need a remake or sequel. They’ve done it to death on TV. That said, I’d cast Justin Timberlake and Jeremy Renner.
This podcast reminded me that I still haven’t seen the new GI Joe movie. That was one where I avoided all the trailers and everything because I was definitely seeing it in the theater, but then when it came out it was only showing in fake 3D, so I figured I’d wait. Guess now I know one of the surprises in it that I managed to avoid all this time, but I guess that’s why http://ourvaluedcustomers.blogspot.com/2013/04/to-his-friend.html is so resonant. Double word score for putting it *AFTER* saying what the spoiler was!
But that’s whatever. The grandest Roland Emmerich film is almost certainly not this or Independence Day, but the original Universal Soldier. That doesn’t really exude the “this is a Roland Emmerich movie” vibe. No disaster movie, no “everyman” protagonist, none of the expected quantities one expects of “a Roland Emmerich film.” Just Van Damme beating up diner patrons and Dolph Lundgren as himself. I understand, however, that Paul is anti-Universal Soldier for the exact same reason he is anti-Fargo.
But I’ll admit it: despite seeing Stargate and owning a DVD of it (once upon a time, this was one of the movies you’d use to show off your home theater setup), I actually cannot watch Roland Emmerich’s movies. A question I asked which got excised for time was “what separates Roland Emmerich from Michael Bay? Is it that Emmerich writes his films whereas Bay does not?” The difference must exist given that I go and see every Michael Bay movie in the theater whereas Emmerich just elicits such sheer revulsion in me that I won’t even watch his movies for free.
Emmerich is SO safe and SO conventionally maudlin, I feel like he’s desperately trying to emulate Steven Spielberg…and I’m kinda so-so on Spielberg in the first place. When I see James Spader in Stargate, all I can think of is Emmerich studying Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park and telling him “do that, only MORE.” Maybe it’s just the power of Kurt Russell that I do like the bit where he snaps at the kid over how guns aren’t a toy. It’s undermined at the end when the kid gives him the proud military salute, but that’s Emmerich for you.
Despite resulting in apocalyptic body counts and collateral damage, Emmerich never seems to show that cost to the viewers at a personal level. Perhaps the closest was that one where the White House got destroyed (you know, that one?) and the President is like “aw phooey.” That bit was obviously played for laughs, but I can’t think of instances where Emmerich’s as-scripted comic relief bits have actually worked.
Bay certainly doesn’t script his movies, but everything he shows is so absolutely out of line and utterly beyond the pale for what is acceptable human behavior and decency that when the carnage ensues I’m ready to believe anything will happen, since little seems to be held sacred aside from the patriotic endurance of blue-collar Americans. Thus, I am completely jazzed for the upcoming Pain and Gain yet dread the coming of White House Down. Why, the latter is Roland Emmerich *AND* Channing Tatum!
The earliest example of a “water effects as portal” trope that I can think of is in Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus in 1950. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCYcWpMDWLQ
I know that other scream much better than the Wilhelm! I was disappointed when I learned that it wasn’t the Wilhelm scream. It’s the one that is suppressed at first – it goes something like nnnNNNNNEEEAARRRRGGGHH. I’ve heard it countless times
Yup, that’s the one.
The scream in question has no name, but in years past I have referred to it as the “Cromdor Scream” out of a misspelling of the Dark Lord from Wonder Showzen. I know there is a montage on Youtube that refers to it as the “youAAARGH” but this podcast reminds me that the Cromdor Scream along with the stock red-tailed hawk effect–or as the enlightened refer to it, the “Thoughtbird” as it’s the bird that swoops in and steals what you were thinking of and about to say before you say it such that you forget–used to be heavily featured on AWO.
Perhaps it’s due for a comeback. Or perhaps sound effects in vocal podcasts are obnoxious even when used at a rate of 1/1000 the average morning radio show program. Regardless, it’s truly come a long way from its “falling to your death in Star Wars: Dark Forces” origins, though perhaps its zenith was when Howie Long was kicked out of the train in Broken Arrow.
I think the thing about Roland Emmerlich is that weird American Exceptionalist/Imperialist streak that runs through his movies (at least, the ones I’ve seen). It’s present in STARGATE in how instrumental the US Army is in helping the natives easily overthrow millennia of slavery to God-Like Beings, and even more obvious in INDEPENDENCE DAY where Jet-Pilot President Bill Pullman, Cocky Pilot Will Smith and Heroic Genius-Geek Jeff Goldblum destroy the seemingly-invincible Alien Menace (with a virus written on a Mac Powerbook, no less!).
It’s what makes his movies go down easily when you’re watching them, but leave you with a bad aftertaste once you leave the theatre and think about the movie you just saw….
Good point about the music. It has basically become The Theme For Heroic Action (the way “Zarathustra” is The Theme For Epic Announcement) and was in virtually every trailer created between 1995 and 2002.
The idea of Ancient Astronauts is also a plot element in “Dune”, in that the Bene Gesserit would go to low-tech planets, perform a few technology-assisted miracles, and set up some prophesies about how Travellers From The Stars Would Return One Day And Save You (so that if another BG Sister were stranded on the planet she could get the natives to help her.)
Although Dune was written before Chariots Of The Gods, though.
Paul, your father is a good man with great taste.
Hi, Ro! Nice to “meet” you. I’ve heard the Trivia War podcast, but I don’t remember if I’ve heard you on it.