Stargate 15th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review
Studio: Lions Gate
Release Date: October 27, 2009
Run time: 130 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD50
When Professor Daniel Jackson (James Spader) innocently accepts the offer of a mysterious woman to decode an ancient Egyptian artifact known only as “Stargate,” he unwittingly takes the first step on an epic adventure that will span galaxies and decide the fate of an entire planet. Colonel Jack O’Neil (Kurt Russell), a true soldier with nerves of steel and a tragic past, is brought back to active duty to commandeer the first trip through the “Stargate.” On a desert planet on the far side of the universe, Jackson and O’Neil must battle the powerful alien Sun God, Ra (Jaye Davidson). At stake: the freedom of an ancient civilization from slavery and any chance of ever getting home!
It is interesting to have the thought that aliens did interact with the ancient Egyptians. It is used as a backdrop for a wonderful story in which Spader, Russell, and a team of soldiers trek off to the other end of the Stargate in order to see what’s there. When they do get to the other side, they find a colony of people enslaved by Ra. They’re also trying to decipher the gate on their end of the universe in order to get home. They figure out the entire gate’s code almost immediately, except for one symbol, which forces them to interact with the slave colony. Slowly but surely, they prove to the slaves that Ra can be overthrown and that he isn’t an actual god. Rebellion ensues, and our heroes aid in the battle all the while trying to break the final code.
The acting is good, occasionally great. The perhaps the best character is Viveca Lindfors, who plays the daughter of the original archaeologist who discovered the device; now an elderly woman, her dream comes true of activating the device. Lindfors died the year after this film was made, after a career in acting that spanned over six decades. Watch closely for French Stewart, as a disgruntled soldier, barely recognisable as the same person who plays on ‘Third Rock from the Sun’, a very different science fiction idea.
In all, this is a good story, a fine film and it captures the imagination well. It is not over the top and doesn’t overwork the classic science fiction stereotypes. The special edition contains interesting commentary from the director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin in director’s cut, includes the theatrical trailer, includes both director’s cut and theatrical cut, and presents things in a widescreen format.
Movie Quality: 9/10
The print is presented in 1080p/VC-1 with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. It was about time that we received ‘Stargate’ with the proper treatment as visually the previous Blu-ray release was marred by many issues. It was one of the most inconsistent transfers to be released in high definition. Things look to have been greatly improved here with this new transfer. My biggest issue before was with the inconsistent grain which ran too heavy at times. Grain looks to have been evened out and looks very natural. Colors were flat in the previous release, while in this new transfer colors fair better making this a much more pleasing image to the eyes. Black levels are strong. Details are much more prevalent with this print as opposed to before where the image was out of focus. I am glad to say that this print is much better overall.
Video Quality: 9/10
The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. With a nice new transfer we also get a very well done and explosive DTS-HD MA mix. I was surprised as to how bombastic this mix was in the soundfield that it really made me impressed what can be done if a film is given the proper care. I wish that the initial release had received this kind of care as we wouldn’t be waiting for a better version so ever patiently. There are a lot more dynamic effects in the rear speakers now. Bass management is about right giving that extra needed oomph to gun shots and explosions.
Audio Quality: 8/10
- Deciphering the Gate: Concepts and Casting [HD]
- Opening the Gate: The Making of the Movie [HD]
- Passing Through the Gate: The Legacy [HD]
- Gag Reel
- “Master of the Stargate” Interactive Trivia Challenge
- Bonusview Picture-in-Picture “Stargate Ultimate Knowledge”
- Commentary by Writer/Director Roland Emmerich and Writer/Producer Dean Devlin (Extended Cut)
- The Making of Stargate Documentary
- Is There a Stargate?
- Theatrical Trailer
Special Features: 9/10
I have always enjoyed the ‘Stargate’ universe of television shows and of course the film that started it all. This new transfer is an remarkable improvement over the previous Blu-ray release. With the addition of a decent amount of extras, this is the ultimate edition. If you own the previous release, time to sell that version for this 15th Anniversary edition.
Overall Rating: 9/10