Stargate (film)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
An adventure across the universe.
"It's not 'Door to Heaven', it's... 'Stargate'."
—Dr. Daniel Jackson, doing a Conveniently Precise Translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs

An action-adventure film, released in 1994, that later bloomed into the Stargate Verse.

In 1928, a strange circular device is uncovered in Egypt. Cut to the present day, where it somehow ended up in possession of the United States military. With the mind of the unorthodox, absent-minded archaeologist and linguist Daniel Jackson (James Spader), they manage to figure out how to use that ancient device. What they learn is that this "Stargate" opens a wormhole, leading to a desert planet

A recon team led by Colonel Jack O'Neil (Kurt Russell), and with Jackson along to reopen the gate from the other side, finds an Egyptian-style pyramid and primitive human society. While Jackson is struggling to identify the correct symbols to get the team back to Earth, the Sufficiently Advanced Alien Ra (supposedly the same entity as the Egyptian god of the sun) appears on a humongous pyramid-like starship, using the alien pyramid as a landing pad. Declaring his intentions to eliminate the Eartheans, it forces the team to cooperate with the natives to free them from Ra's tyrannical control. In the end, O'Neil destroys Ra's ship with a nuclear bomb and leaves via the Stargate with the rest of the team -- except for Daniel Jackson, who chooses to stay with his new wife Sha'uri (Mili Avital) and live Happily Ever After.

Well until Stargate SG-1 came along.

Originally, two feature film sequels were planned, but they were scrapped by director Roland Emmerich in favor of Independence Day. A lot of back story was written for the movie and the supposed sequels, which was eventually released in the form of several tie-in novels. However, when the sequel series Stargate SG-1 was handed to Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright, the new producers threw out most of this behind-the-scenes backstory, while keeping most of the actual on-screen Canon intact.

The TV series it spawned was very popular and went on for 10 seasons - it is the third-longest-running sci-fi series after Doctor Who and Star Trek. The planet where this movie takes place was named "Abydos" in the series, so if you are new to this movie and haven't seen the series and you see that name listed on this page or a subpage, it means the planet in this movie.

This film also has significance, in that it was the first movie to get its own website.

Tropes used in Stargate (film) include:
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Daniel.
  • Accidental Marriage: Sha'uri is given as a gift to Daniel. After he turns her down sexually, he thinks this is the end of it. Once he knows their language though, he hears Skaara refer to him as her husband and finally puts two and two together.
  • Adorkable: Daniel.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Notably averted -- the only time in the entire Stargate franchise that this trope is not in effect -- with Ra and the local humans speaking an Ancient Egyptian dialect throughout the film. Interestingly, the language isn't subtitled until Daniel learns how to speak it.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: The Mastadges.
  • Always Save the Girl: Daniel, who is the only one who can get the others home, goes up onto Ra's ship to revive Sha'uri. Meanwhile, tons of other people are dying and the clock is ticking on a nuclear device that is going to kill them all. But it's perfectly reasonable for Daniel to take the time out to get his girlfriend back.
    • In all fairness, he did ask Jack to stop the bomb before he left, he just didn't know the thing couldn't be shut off anymore!
  • Ancient Astronauts: Ra. And the Pyramids were, indeed, landing platforms for spaceships.
  • And Starring "And Jaye Davidson" (he plays Ra).
  • Applied Phlebotinum
  • Artistic License Astronomy:
    • Not only are the three moons too close to the planet, but they look exactly like our moon.
      • They're also all in alignment (all on the same side of the planet at once) - the tidal forces on that planet would be insane.
    • You can't - or at least shouldn't - use constellations for coordinates for a transportation system that can exist for thousands of years. Stars move - not much during our own lifetimes, over the course of thousands of years.
      • The TV series uses this as a Hand Wave to explain why they never found any other gates until they thought to make the dialing computer take stellar drift into account. Apparently, the DHD network as shown in the series does this automatically, so the symbols wind up being more like a phone number than coordinates.
    • Most galaxies don't have names - and certainly not ones "on the other side of the known universe."
    • The clear "map" they have the tracker move across when they open the Stargate makes no sense at all - the first issue of all being that it is 2-dimensional.
  • Artistic License Military: At one point, O'Neil calls Kawalski, his second in command, "Lieutenant". Not only that, he's credited as "Lieutenant Kawalski" in the credits. The problem? He's wearing silver oak leaves throughout the entire movie, making him a Lieutenant Colonel. While the film's treatment of the military is far from accurate or flattering, that's actually a pretty easy mistake to make. After all, he's a "lieutenant colonel". It can be presumed that filmmakers Emmerich and Devlin were simply unaware that the appropriate abbreviation of the rank "lieutenant colonel" is not "lieutenant", but rather "colonel".
  • Background Halo: Ra invokes this trope with a classical Sun Disk.
  • Badass Bookworm: Daniel Jackson.
  • Bishonen: Ra.
  • Berserk Button: To O'Neil, untrained kids handling firearms. Understandably.
  • Brand X: In the film, the gate is located inside a Cheyenne Mountain analogue. SG-1 ironically Ret Conned it to actually be Cheyenne Mountain.
  • Chekhov's Gift: The lighter. There is a reflection when he gets it, and later they reflect the sunlight to let Daniel know they have a plan.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Two of them -- the pendant and the bomb.
    • The pyramid with the three moons over it... turns out to be exactly the symbol Daniel is looking for.
  • Collapsible Helmet: One of the most iconic examples, with the scene where the Horus Guards, Anubis and Ra reveals their faces.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Daniel Jackson.
  • Conveniently-Close Planet: Averted -- the earth-like planet is in a completely different galaxy.
    • Played straight in the TV series -- the location was Ret Conned to within our galaxy, and the closest planet to Earth with a Stargate.
  • Conveniently Precise Translation: The term "Stargate".
  • Cool Gate
  • Cunning Linguist: Daniel Jackson.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: That building being the temple of the Stargate.
  • Dead Little Sister: Colonel O'Neil originally left the military and went basket case because his son accidentally killed himself with O'Neil's own gun. He only joins the mission to the alien planet (from which there is little chance of returning) because he's downright suicidal.
  • Death Seeker: Jack O'Neil.
  • Deus Ex Nukina
  • Didn't Think This Through: Daniel just assumed the cover stone with the symbols needed to dial the Stargate back to earth would be nearby when they came through. He also didn't know what the seventh chevron (the point of origin) was going to be (see also Idiot Ball below).
    • The fact that he didn't tell anyone this really pisses off the guys he came with.
  • Distant Prologue
  • The Dragon: Anubis.
  • Dramatic Alien VTOL: When Ra's ship descends on the pyramid.
  • Empty Quiver: Ra plans to send the nuke back through the Stargate.
  • Energy Weapons : The staff weapons of Ra's personal guard.
  • Enhance Button
  • Eureka Moment: Daniel finally figures out that the symbols aren't hieroglyphs, but star constellations when he sees a picture of Orion on a guard's newspaper and recognizes the shape as one of the symbols.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Ra especially, but his guards are also in the James Earl Jones vocal range.
  • Floating Head Syndrome: See the poster on this page.
  • Get On With It Already: Ra and his buddies only show up about an hour into the movie.
  • God-Emperor/God Guise: Ra uses alien technologies to pose as one.
  • Grand Theft Me: Ra, as a dying alien, stole a human's body to achieve immortality via his technology.
  • The Greys: Ra's original form.
    • This was explained in the Expanded Universe as Ra's former host being an Asgard. Because their physiology is able to reject Goa'uld symbiotes, this was why he was dying when he came to Earth.
  • I Choose to Stay: Daniel.
  • Idiot Ball: As Siskel & Ebert point out in their review, the leaders of the Stargate program take Daniel at his word that he can bring them back...without asking him how. So, of course, once on the other side, when they ask Daniel to take them back, he says he can't because they don't have the coordinate symbols and that he just assumed they'd be there.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: The Stargate.
  • I Was Just Joking: Meta-example: Jaye Davidson did not want to act again after The Crying Game, so he demanded a million dollar salary, thinking it would be unreasonable. He got it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jack O'Neil is a right ass for most of the movie, but it's only because his son died.
  • Leaving Audience: The audience at Daniel's lecture laughs at him and walks out after he admits that even though he is certain that the 4th Dynasty Egyptians did not build the pyramids, he has no ready explanation as to who did.
  • Lost Colony: The humans were originally transported from Earth by Ra.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: The team is mistaken for Ra's emissaries because of Daniel's pendant.
  • No Sense of Humor: Colonel O'Neil. Used for a joke in the television series, whose Colonel O'Neill actively distinguishes himself from the movie version.
  • Nuclear Option: They send O'Neill in because they know any nuclear deployment will be last ditch and suicidal.
  • Nuke'Em: Daniel finds out about the plan, which would kill all the locals to seal the gate.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Daniel Jackson.
  • Portal Cut: Please keep your hands, feet, and head inside the Ring transporter at all times.
  • Portal Slam: They ended up trapped on Abydos because they couldn't get the gate working due to not knowing Earth's address.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Give my regards to King Tut, asshole!"
  • Prepare to Die: Ra is no longer amused...!
  • Protected by a Child: Ra has a whole group of children trained to do this.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Jack is sent specifically to stay behind and detonate the bomb if something goes wrong. They know he has suffered tragedy and has nothing to live for.
  • Shown Their Work: Kurt Russell gets a detail of military etiquette right that some people who actually were in the military often forget (or choose to ignore): you don't salute civilians. When the young rebels salute him, he clearly appreciates the gesture and wants to return it, but doesn't until his own men salute him so that he can salute them in return.
  • Sickly Neurotic Geek: Daniel. His allergies act up when traveling.
    • He's apparently allergic to sand, considering the lack of vegetation on Abydos for there to be pollen from.
      • Could just have sensitive sinuses in general. Thus, not only are they getting sand in them, they're drying out. Ow.
  • The Smart Guy: Daniel.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Ra. Did anyone say "Goa'uld"? Hmm...
    • Ironically, his technology isn't very good in the context of his own civilization but it works wonders on human biology.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: The desert lizard thing the locals eat, according to Daniel. And you should see him trying to convey this to a group of people whose language he doesn't speak and who have never seen a chicken.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Daniel, basically when meeting anything.
  • Tele Frag: The movie's Crowning Moment Of Awesome. See Pre-Mortem One-Liner above.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: The Stargate and the not-quite-Star Trek ring transporter.
  • Tempting Fate: "It's OK, it has a harness! It's domesticated!"
  • This Is My Boomstick
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers
  • Transplanted Humans
  • Trapped in Another World
  • The Worm Guy: Daniel Jackson embodies this trope.
  • You Didn't Ask: The team are not happy when they find out that Daniel admits he can't get them home, meekly explaining that he'd been under the assumption that the tablets with the address to dial home would be located near the Gate.

Kawalsky: "Find it?" What do you mean "find it?" You didn't say about finding anything?!
Daniel: Well, I assumed the tablet would be here, right here?
O'Neil: You assumed?!
Kawalsky: You're a lying son of a bitch! *knocks Daniel over* You didn't say a word about FINDING ANYTHING!