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Stargate (movie)

There’s this excellent post about Stargate that you should check out. It articulates really well many of the reasons I love Stargate. 

I just wanted to add: it doesn’t go all Disney’s Pocahontas, like many colonial love narratives, and have Shauri go back to Earth with Daniel Jackson – he stays with her. I feel that’s important, because the way it comes off in the movie isn’t (to me) “Oh she could never comprehend Earth” or “I’m so into fetishizing these people that I can’t leave,” but rather that, as one of the few literate people in her culture, Shauri has important work to do, and Daniel is supporting her in doing it. HIs role throughout the movie isn’t to teach her – she teaches him. And not about the magic of the magical natives, but about the history of her people, and about their extremely rational fear of “Ra.”  (I do want to say that WTF you and Shauri barely know each other, WTF?!?! but that actually happens a lot in romances in whatever medium.)

Furthermore, it didn’t follow a rather classical narrative of “man goes to foreign culture to find himself” – while Daniel was clearly considered a conspiracy theorist geek at home, the folks at the other end of the stargate don’t teach him how to relax, or how to love, or how to be a responsible adult – this isn’t the maturing of a man-child. He is an adult and competent (if somewhat awkward) human being at home, and follows through on that on the planet in somewhat more dire circumstances – a natural progression that doesn’t task anyone with improving him or making him see. He wants to see, to learn, and he ends up doing so partly by luck (their language hasn’t evolved so far away from ancient Egyptian that he couldn’t understand) and partly by skill (he knows ancient Egyptian).

And he doesn’t end up all “psychologically maimed” (to borrow from anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss), missing home and cranky and feeling superior. Here is clearly a person who understands that his culture is not superior (unlike some of the soldiers) but different, and that he has plenty to learn from the people he is interacting with. That humility is one of the most attractive things about him – that his peaceful wish to comprehend is shown so boldly as good in contrast to the fear and chauvanism of other characters.

 

Anyway, I love this movie. You might have noticed.

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