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 planetA 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 and producer Dean Devlin 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 the majority 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 scifi seriesnote We're not counting spinoffs here, or Star Trek would be there after Doctor Who and Smallville. The planet where this movie takes place was named "Abydos" in the series and other material, 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 promotional website.
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.
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. Oddly enough, the one that dragged Daniel through the sand was actually played by a dog in that shot.
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.
Artistic License - Military: While the film's treatment of the military is far from accurate or flattering in general, there is one military error that could have been corrected by anyone with a little military experience. 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 is that his rank insignia are a pair of silver oak leaves, which he wears throughout the entire movie in plain sight. Those silver oak leaves mark him as a Lieutenant Colonel, a considerably higher rank than Lieutenant. It can be presumed that filmmakers Emmerich and Devlin were simply unaware that you don't call a Lieutenant Colonel "Lieutenant" unless you want him very, very, angry at you. And if you don't want to use his entire rank, you'd call him "Colonel."
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.
Constellations: The film used the constellations as seen from Earth as coordinates for the gate's destination, marked as the 38 symbols on the rim of the gate. The subsequent TV series recognized the flaw in this idea (the constellations are not static and would look completely different from every planet with a gate anyway) and retconned them in various ways to make up for it, eventually settling on them being the letters of one form of the Ancient alphabet. Presumably they formed some type of comprehensible coordinate system when the gates were first built, but as the dialing devices periodically update to compensate for stellar drift they no longer do so.
Played for Laughs when the team first meets the people of Abydos and O'Neil tells him to communicate with them. All Jackson can manage is a nervous "Hi" before the natives see his Ra amulet and assume he's an emmissary. Later on it's played completely straight where he learns their language in less than a day with some help from Sha'uri.
He does note, however, that he can only learn it so fast because he knows the language in its modern form and is acquainted a fair bit with the ancient form, and merely has to learn where the language Sha'uri's people speak diverged. He's essentially taking a refresher course rather than learning the whole language from nothing.
Cynicism Catalyst: 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.
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) The fact that he didn't tell anyone this really pisses off the guys he came with.
The military didn't really give Daniel time to think this through, using Conflict Ball. They pressure him into a snap judgement, merely asking if he can get them back despite the fact that he knows as exactly as much about the destination as the military does — practically nothing. Of course if they would have thought this through the movie would be lacking, and Tropes Are Tools.
Dramatic Gun Cock: There's a LOT of this going on, especially for elite military men, and often with weapons that were already fully loaded and chambered (in the first encounter with the Anubis guards under the temple, the same guns get cocked over, and over, and over).
Empty Quiver: Ra plans to send the nuke back through the stargate.
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.
Grand Theft Me: Ra, as a dying alien, stole a human's body to achieve immortality via his technology.
The Greys: Ra's true form is depicted as such in Stargate. The official explanation from the Stargate SG-1 showrunners via the Stargate RPG is that the Goa'uld calling itself Ra was inhabiting an Asgard when it took over the human host.
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.
Inferred Holocaust: So all those children on Ra's ship got nuked? Sure, the bomb was rigged to go off anyway, so the choice was between letting innocent people die or killing the Big Bad and presumably fewer innocent people. Thus, nuking Ra and the kids is arguably the lesser of two evils, but the Fridge Logic still pushes the act straight into Black and Gray Morality.
Language Barrier: The Tau'ri stargate team is unable to communicate with the Abydonians due to them speaking a derivative of Ancient Egyptian, whose script is known but not its pronunciation. Daniel Jackson is quickly able to learn the language after discovering a wall of hieroglyphics and having Sha'uri walk him through the pronunciation.
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.
Let's Get Dangerous: Daniel acquits himself pretty well in combat, especially when he turns the weapon meant for executing his team on Ra and his guards, allowing him and the team, save for Freeman, to escape back to the village.
Lost Colony: The humans were originally transported from Earth by Ra.
Magic Countdown: In SPADES. As O'Neil tries to disarm the nuke, the timer has 45 seconds left to detonation. Then the villagers arrive on the horizon, charge the pyramid/temple complex, and defeat the 2 Horus guards outside. Ra witnesses this and decides that it is time to beat a retreat, possibly also realizing that the nuke has not been sent through the Stargate to Earth anyway and therefore will wipe out his pesky opponents for him, along with him if he sticks around (a moment of Fridge Logic there, but what the hell). Ra puts the sunroof up on the pyramid ship, takes off, and manages to achieve AT LEAST a low orbit by the time Jackson and O'Neil use his portal to send the nuke from the temple to the ship above. When the nuke arrives, there are still 6 seconds left on the timer. This must be the longest 39 seconds in film history. The brilliant bit is, everything moves so fast that the audience doesn't have time to question what point the countdown must be at — we are just rooting for the heroes to beat the clock!
Although one could argue that considering that he starts the film as a suicidal mess, his sense of humour returning at the end of the film is him finally letting go of his own personal demons. Likewise, he often seems bemused at Jackson's antics and during his interaction with Skaara and the Abydonian kids, so it's clear he's not alwaysThe Stoic.
Nuclear Option: They send O'Neil 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.
Pet the Dog: About the only time any of the military members of the team treat Jackson with any kind of sympathy is after he first exits the Stargate, covered in frost and disoriented from the transport process. Even so, they probably only give him said sympathy because they just dealt with that themselves moments before.
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.
Product Placement: Even alien ox-monsters love 5th Avenue bars. Which hadn't been popular for quite a while at the time of the film's release, so maybe Hershey's were hoping for a revival? (Didn't work so much.)
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. Of course, he's also the one that made the aforementioned "calling a Lieutenant Colonel a Lieutenant" mistake.
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.
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!
You Have Failed Me: One of Ra's henchmen blunders. Ra punishes him by frying his brain with a hand device.