Stargate, the Director's Cut

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The plot in a nutshell
In the 1920's, a strange metallic circle, easily 15 feet in diameter, is found in the North African desert, under 'cover stones'.  In present day America, a young linguist and Egyptian historian (played by James Spader) is asked to help decipher the hieroglyphics, and determine how to operate the 'star gate', a portal to another planet.

Kurt Russell plays the military man with nothing left to live for, sent into the Stargate to investigate.  Spader comes along, since he's the only one that can figure out how to get them back once on the other side.

They meet the locals, strangely human in appearance yet seemingly identical to the Egyptians of thousands of years ago.  They mystery of the Stargate may be figured out pretty quickly in the film, but the true mystery of who built it and why takes a little longer to unravel.

Relatively Spoiler Free Thoughts
I remember enjoying this film when it hit theaters almost a decade ago, and it still holds up well as a fun sci-fi flick.  However, after recent television events, I couldn't get over how much this is like the life of one of our pop stars...

I won't spoil the whole thing for you, but if you don't notice some amazing similarities to the weirdness that is Jacko, King of Pop, master of Neverland, and all around nut case then you missed the last half of the film.

This is a fairly standard plot, ala Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods.  It was his theory that aliens came along early in man's development, and helped them do things (like build the pyramids or the statues on Easter Island) that they could not have done otherwise.

This film follows that train of thought, although fleshing it out a little more as one being's search for immortality.  The general pace is good, with plenty of action from start to finish to keep the movie entertaining and avoiding too much plodding dialog.  While it's more fi than sci, it still avoids too many gaping plot holes or ridiculous psuedo-science.

The love interest for Spader never quite gels, and the technology of the alien was a bit outlandish at times.  But this is a decent popcorn-muncher, and the new directors cut apparently adds some new scenes.  I wasn't sure where, but since the original was supposedly 119 minutes, and this director's cut is around 124, I'm assuming a couple minor pieces were put back in.

Speaking of which, the 'ultimate edition' DVD itself is fairly good.  The new DTS ES 6.1 sound track worked pretty well, particularly during the scenes where they traveled through the star gate, and the digital transfer was good through the majority of the film.  There were a few scenes that were grainier than you'd like, but overall it was a visual and auditory pleasure.

Rating - Rent It.
This is certainly worth a rental, particularly if you're a big sci-fi fan or a fan of the theory's of von Daniken.  Once you've seen it, you may find yourself drawn to buy it at the currently cheap price of $15.  That's a great price considering the extras, including both the director's cut and the theatrical release on the two disk set.

Spoiler Laden Thoughts
Okay, this is the section where I get to talk about any and all plot points, twists and turns.  Stop reading if you haven't seen the movie!
Still here?  Let's discuss that certain pop star.

It turns out the star gate is a portal for one alien's purposes, an alien that looks an awful lot like your standard gray, big eyed, small nose version we've gotten so accustomed to.  He came to Earth about eight thousand years ago, and found the human bodies to his liking - see, they are easy to inhabit and repair, making it possible to live forever.  He takes the form of a young boy, with light skin and dark hair.  As the film progresses, we see this 'boy' who is truly ancient wearing a wide variety of bizarre costumes, masks and jewelry, and he appears extremely asexual.  There are many scenes in which you're guessing whether he's really a boy or a girl, although you know from the early explanation what the truth is.

On top of that, he's surrounded by young boys, although why is never apparent.  They appear to attend to him, bathing him, dressing him, etc.  He even repairs his body - and stays permanently young - using a Egyptian coffin-shaped chamber. Now tell me - did Michael Jackson steal this idea for the story of his life, or did they steal his life as the basis for this story?

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