- Adaptation Displacement: The series is more widely known to audiences than the film that inspired it, partly because the original cast got replaced in all subsequent entries. Interestingly, most of those same people are introduced to the film retroactively, after watching the series first.
- Awesome Music: The theme song. Perfectly captures the epic scope if the film, and would go on to be recycled in several spin-off series and countless trailers for unrelated films.
- Better on DVD: An extended cut that was released on DVD adds more character development and explains elements of the plot better.
- Cliché Storm: Roger Ebert's review (he put this movie on his most hated list) boiled every element of the movie to this, right down to the snare-drum "military" music as Daniel arrives at headquarters.
- Complete Monster: The supposed god, Ra, is an alien overlord who possessed a young boy on Earth and ruled it as a god-king until a rebellion forced him to the planet Abydos. Ra exploits the humans for slave labor, and when the heroes arrive and present a threat to Ra's divinity, Ra takes his anger out on the population by having his forces strafe them in their ships. Ra offers Daniel Jackson a choice: kill his comrades and proclaim Ra's divinity, or Ra will kill him and everyone who has seen him because "there can be only one Ra!" Finally, in retribution for his defeat long ago, Ra plans to send a nuclear device the soldiers had brought with them back to Earth, equipped with a mineral to enhance the explosion a hundred times over, claiming "I created your civilization. Now I shall destroy it."
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Jaye Davidson's Ra, whose creepy presence and androgynous appearance made this alien tyrant a very memorable villain. It helps that this was Davidson's much-hyped follow up to his groundbreaking film debut in The Crying Game...and then he immediately retired from acting to go back to the fashion industry.
- Evil Is Sexy: Ra, to some. Possibly an Invoked Trope; considering his mannerisms, it's likely Ra found his host body physically satisfying.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- 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.
- The Novelization has the children escape the ship at the last moment though. Specifically, it's stated that the teleporter only works if there is something on each pad, to be switched with each other—this is why Daniel and Sha'uri (with Ra's hand) were able to beam down as Anubis's head went up, and the children coming down enabled the bomb to be sent up.
- Retroactive Recognition: In one of his earliest roles, Djimon Hounsou, credited by just his first name at the time, plays one of the lead guards (he's the one who's exposed by Daniel as just a man after being shot dead, ending the god charade for Ra among the villagers).
- Slow-Paced Beginning: Ra and his buddies only show up about an hour into the movie.
- Special Effects Failure: Retroactive example from the Blu-ray edition. The picture quality is so much higher than when the movie was filmed that you can see the wires holding up the Death Gliders (especially during close-ups on the pilots.
- Tear Jerker: Nabeh gets blasted.
- Values Dissonance: You have to admit that all those scantily-clad children running around Ra's ship would raise eyebrows if it were done today. Yes, apparently 1994 was a more innocent time. Either that or they wanted to give Ra an implied push across the Moral Event Horizon.
- Given how he has them trained to use themselves as human shields for him and has his own little Child-Emperor theme going, it's likely it was a different horizon they were aiming for.
- The novelization of the film says the kids are there just for such an occasion; if someone managed to get into position to take a shot at Ra, they'd be unlikely to shoot through kids. It certainly works to keep O'Neil from taking the shot.
- Still an improvement over reality considering Ancient Egyptian children generally went around completely nude aside from jewelry.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The film had some really good special effects for its time:
- The first Kawoosh, when you had no idea it was coming, and in movie-sharp clarity, epsecially if you were watching on the big screen. In the shows, it's cool, but seen in the movie, for the first time ever? Breathtaking. Also, the way the masks retracted into themselves.
- The trip through the portal itself is pretty spectacular in its own right.
YMMV / Stargate