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You can now watch Roland Emmerich’s original 1994 Stargate movie on YouTube, for free. Often overlooked in favor of other blockbuster classics like Jurassic Park, it spawned the biggest TV sci-fi franchise after Star Trek. That’s actually why MGM put the movie online because the latest installment—a miniseries prequel called Stargate: Origins—debuted Wednesday.
If you’ve seen Stargate, you already know why this movie is so great. If not, here’s the deal: Starring James Spader as a charmingly awkward archaeologist and Kurt Russell as a tough American soldier, it’s loosely based on those Chariots of the Gods conspiracy theories about aliens building the pyramids. The Stargate is an ancient Egyptian artifact built by a tyrannical alien race, and with James Spader’s help as a translater, the U.S. government finds a way to switch it on. It becomes a portal to another planet, and Kurt Russell leads an exploratory team to the other side.
Stargate is easily the best Roland Emmerich movie alongside Independence Day, benefiting from a great cast and beautiful sci-fi/fantasy production design. We’re happy to confirm that, unlike some nostalgic faves from the mid-’90s, it actually deserves a rewatch.
As for Stargate: Origins, it’s a 1930s prequel about the Stargate Program’s original founder, archaeologist Catherine Langford. It’s only available to members of the Stargate Command streaming service, which is basically a library of every Stargate spinoff ever made. You can check out the trailer here.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor