Stargate is something of a cult phenomenon among sci-fi buffs. It is so popular, in fact, that it produced not one, but three spin-off TV shows. It is amazing that the big business of the Stargate franchise started with a quirky little film. Now there are some big fans of this movie that will surely have strong words of disagreement for me, but this is really not a very good film. The premise alone is enough to make most moviegoers roll their eyes. An Egyptian historian cracks an ancient code on a strange artifact, and discovers a method by which to travel to the other side of the universe. Accompanied by token military-types, the whole crew jets off to a strange and distant land, where they find an alien slave camp run by an Egyptian god and… oh, what’s the point. This is all really just the stuff of a 16-year-old geek writing stories in his parents’ basement. The real story here is that, for some completely unexplainable reason, the movie actually kind-of works in an odd action adventure sort of way. If viewers can suspend belief and go into this with low expectations, you might find an exciting flick to fill an afternoon.
For those that wish the story in this action thrill ride made more sense, this disc includes the extended cut of the film, though unfortunately this cut extends the film by only five additional minutes. Still, with a film like this one, every little bit helps.
I am always pleased when a studio goes the extra mile, and provides a Dolby Headphone track. The difference between this and a standard audio track is significant. The audio on this disc is quite powerful, with plenty of detail and even a sensation of virtual surround. The audio doesn’t sound like it is coming from a left and right speaker, as much as it fills the space between the listener’s ears. With an action packed film like this one, it is important for the audio to be of the highest quality. This track does not disappoint.
A standard stereo track is also provided for those that are going to watch this film through the PSP’s proprietary speakers. This track is louder and more forceful, but lacks the nuances present in the Dolby Headphone track.
I am impressed that Lion’s Gate has kept the film in its original format, even though it means that there are black bars on the top and the bottom of the PSP’s screen. The intentions of the director should always be kept at the forefront of any home video release, no mater what size the screen.
The good news doesn’t stop there however, as the images on the screen are also crystal clear, especially in the brighter scenes. Some scenes do appear a little washed out, however, which is typical of almost all UMDs for some reason. On the whole, I would say that this is a quality transfer that easily does the film justice.
There is only one extra on this disc, a “making-of featurette”. While this may not be a fact that will make fans jump for joy, it is a quality piece that runs a surprising 23-minutes in length. What is even more surprising is that the extra is not even listed on the box. This extra is something that should be a big selling point for this disc, yet for some reason, the average consumer in the store would never even know it was here.
Not only is the piece long, but it is also well made and filled with quality information. The featurette is presented in widescreen format, and covers how many of the special effects in the film were created. While they may not be too impressive today, the effects used in this film were groundbreaking in their time, and this extra serves as a useful teaching tool for those that want to learn more about how these special effects methods were invented.
Fans of this film should be thrilled to have this UMD available to them, as it contains fantastic audio, above average sound an a truly worthwhile extra feature. However, newcomers should be forewarned that this is not a film for everybody. You may want to rent the DVD before plunging in to this UMD product.