Saturday, June 12, 2010

Alien Hunter: The Secret Stargate Sequel


There was a sequel to the Stargate feature film, did you hear about it? No, not that glorified LARP of a series, Stargate SG-1. No, this sequel features James Spader reprising his role of Daniel Jackson. 

Only in this case he's calling himself "Julian Rome", a blatantly obvious tribute to Flavius Claudius Iulianus, the martyred warrior-poet-king who nearly changed the course of history before being cut down on the battlefield, either by a Persian spear or a Christian backstabber, take your pick.

The title Alien Hunter also has a double meaning- maybe even a triple one. Daniel/Julian is the hunter, searching for aliens for SETI (yet another double meaning) before being dismissed after some unnamed scandal (the Stargate episode, obviously). But Daniel/Julian is still a linquist and his job in this film is decoding the alien language encoded in a beacon signal coming from somewhere in the Antarctic ice.

The beacon is located and the alien vessel is brought to an underground Russian-American facility in which experiments are being run to grow corn (read: Kore/Persephone) in a massive secret arboretum. This plot-point seems extraneous until you look at the host of seemingly-incongruous fertility themes and symbols in science fiction movies, all on loan from the ancient Mysteries.

The facility is also filled with beautiful, libidinous Slavic women as well (note that Spader met his future wife working on this film), calling up images of the endless wheatfields of the Ukraine. Alien Hunter doesn't have any of the...well, let's just say the Spartan subtexts of the first Stargate, at least on my first viewing. However, I do need to pick up a copy of it and dig out the rest of the easter eggs.

The other "alien hunters" are a secret cabal within the government (Majestic 12, from the looks of it) who know the danger the aliens pose to Earth. The aliens themselves are aware of that danger as well, and the first revelation Daniel/Julian receives is to not open the spaceship. As you'd expect it is opened and that's where the trouble all starts. I won't give away the ending, but suffice it to say the climax of the film hinges on the acquisition and application of the gnosis.

So in that light Alien Hunter is a corrective to Stargate, which is simply a high-tech retelling of the old 'peasants overthrowing the degenerate aristocrat' wish-fulfillment trope. There's no great underdog victory in the secret sequel, no British-accented baddies getting their comeuppance. The only possible victory here is escape from a prison planet filled with injustice and random death. And the only way you can escape is figuring out clues left for you thousands of years ago.

Kind of like real life these days.

If you watch it, you'll get the feeling that Alex Proyas saw Alien Hunter once or twice, especially at the end. You'll also get the feeling that the makers of Alien Hunter watched more than a few episodes of The X-Files as well.

The Heavenly Beam, ad infinitum

I've read some reviews of the film online and it didn't seem to go over well with the geek brigades. But all of the real action of this film is between the lines, and longtime Secret Sun readers will pick up on all of the hidden subtext in this film right away. There's a healthy dose of alien dreaming sprinkled throughout, which goes nicely with all of the Mystery symbolism. But knowledge is the key here- knowledge that can be your salvation.

In short, Alien Hunter is 200 proof AstroGnosticism and is recommended especially for Synchronautical exegetes.