Two years prior to the financial phenomenon that was Independence Day, Roland Emmerich put forth this mediocre science-fiction film, which became a sleeper box-office hit. Conceptually sound but poorly executed, the film attempts to add Hollywood gloss to cultish sci-fi, a technique Emmerich would later perfect in ID4. Though he offers an intriguing performance, James Spader seems out of place as the loopy Egyptian-hieroglyphics expert, as does Kurt Russell in his no-frills character role. Throw in The Crying Game's Jaye Davidson as the androgynous Ra and the result is a non-edifying cast to go along with the shortchanged script. The plush desert sets give the film a nice visual backdrop, however, and the computerized special effects are exceptional as well. Still, Emmerich is a director who emphasizes the look and feel of his films at the expense of fluid plot lines and satisfying character development; there simply isn't enough spectacle in Stargate to make up for its many flaws.