Cast and Crew: Roland Emmerich (Director); Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson
What It’s About: A mysterious artifact, uncovered in Giza in the 1920’s, allows intergalactic travel. A team of special forces operatives (headed by Kurt Russell, in one of his more strait-laced roles) escorts a researcher (James Spader) to test out the portal; stranded on the other side of the universe, they then explore the seemingly Egyptian society they encounter on the other side. Unfortunately, a malevolent and technologically advanced alien has a nefarious plan for the powerful transporter, and our heroes must use their wits, brawn and knowledge of how to speak ancient Egyptian to incite a revolution and escape the machinations of Ra (Jaye Davidson, in his one memorable role after The Crying Game). Spawned an infinite series of spin-offs with, reportedly, more films to come in 2015.
Why Watch it Today?: On February 16, 1923, Howard Carter and his dig team opened the burial chamber of the tomb of Tutankhamen. Carter’s bold trespasses spawned a raft of myths of vengeful mummies’ curses. This movie plays into another thread of ancient Egypt-related conspiracy theory: the idea that their technology was so advanced, the pyramids must have been built by aliens from another planet.