Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. France/USA, 1994. Canal+, Centropolis Film Productions, Carolco Pictures. Screenplay by Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich. Cinematography by Karl Walter Lindenlaub. Produced by Dean Devlin, Oliver Eberle, Joel B. Michaels. Music by David Arnold. Production Design by Holger Gross. Costume Design by Joseph A. Porro. Film Editing by Derek Brechin, Michael J. Duthie.
Egyptologist James Spader loses the last of his grant money when the academic community tires of his theories involving pyramids and the aliens he believes built them. He has reached the end of his rope until a mysterious woman (Viveca Lindfors, not long before her death) shows up requesting a task of him. She has discovered an ancient portal with hieroglyphs written on it that she believes he will be able to help her decipher. Once he does, a gate is opened between worlds, and he and military man Kurt Russell travel halfway across the galaxy to discover secrets of the universe they never knew before. Once they get there, Spader wins a girlfriend and Russell kills a villain. It’s nothing spectacular as a story, but director Roland Emmerich manages some really nifty visuals (and visual effects) before succumbing to the hokey ending, and Jaye Davidson (star of The Crying Game) is terrific as the evil sun god Ra. Ancient civilization buffs will hopefully decry the illogical uses of this fascinating culture, but might enjoy its being turned into a giant video game.