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Supernova

movie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Supernova

Starring: James Spader, Angela Bassett
Director: Thomas Lee
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: January 2000
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action


*Also starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Wilson Cruz, Robert Forster, Robin Tunney, Peter Facinelli



Review by John Beachem
1 star out of 4

It's never a good sign when a director won't allow his name to be shown in a film's credits. Director Walter Hill has used his pseudonym, Thomas Lee, here, which set warning bells off for me before ever reaching the movie. The fact that the script has been worked on by numerous different writers and that MGM didn't allow for an advance screening to critics, further went to show what a dog they had on their hands here. As a result, I went in expecting a godawful film. Sure enough, what I got was a piece of garbage. A rather nice looking one, but still trash through and through.

The deep space medical ship, Nightingale, has just picked up a distress signal from an abandoned mining colony. The crew is led by Nick Vanzant (James Spader) after the former captain, A. J. Marley (Robert Forster), is killed in the first fifteen minutes. The medical staff is comprised of Kaela Evers (Angela Bassett), Yerzy Peneloza (Lou Diamond Phillips), Danika Lund (Robin Tunney) and Benj Stotomajor (Wilson Cruz). Upon reaching the colony, the crew finds one man, Troy Larson (Peter Facinelli), who is in posession of an alien object he found at the site and whose father had a fling with Kaela. It soon appears that Troy has been influenced in some way by the artifact, and he is now after the crew. Meanwhile, an accident has caused the ship to run out of fuel, and they are slowly being sucked into a nearby star.

If my plot summary sounds rather insipid, that's because the film itself is so utterly ludicrous. We know everything that is going to happen well before it happens: who's going to die, who's going to live, and even how they're going to die in most cases. After a dull, plodding start, which I suppose was present to develop the characters (it failed miserably), the film leaps into overdrive and doesn't let up; this includes the camera bouncing all over the place (i.e. "The Blair Witch Project"). As for the acting, very little is required. Besides Spader and Bassett, the crew members are required to scream a lot and run around. Spader is rather humorous at times, particularly when speaking with the ship's computer in a few surprisingly amusing scenes.

The film is certainly rubbish, but it's refuse that is pleasing to the eye. The ship itself is an interesting design, looking something like the Nostromo from "Alien" crossed with a modern space shuttle. The moon on which the mining camp is located looks wonderful during several scenes; especially those in which Spader walks along a massive tunnel and we are granted a view of the entire camp with the blue star in the background. The alien artifact is oddly designed, with waves of energy constantly pulsating from it and distorting all objects nearby. As for the film's ending (which I normally wouldn't mention but I feel obliged to here), it never exactly ends. The film simply stops, leaving us with several small unanswered questions and one huge one. The nice thing is, you won't care in the slightest after leaving the theatre.

Robin Tunney (End of Days) is quickly approaching being one of my least favorite actors. The girl may be attractive, but she obviously cannot act her way out of a paper bag. Her part here requires a slight acting job, and she still fails to deliver an adequate performance (not that her dialogue was any help). "Supernova" may be rated PG-13, but it sure pushes that rating to extremes. The film is full of nudity, violence and sex. It just screams for an R rating, but all the scenes are cut just around it so you seldom fully see anything. The movie runs 125 minutes which could easily have been hacked down to 95 or so. I'd recommend missing this one and grant it two stars.

Feel free to e-mail with comments at: johnbeachem@dependentfilms.net

* * * * * - One of the greatest movies ever made, see it now. * * * * - Great flick. Try and catch this one. * * * - Okay movie, hits and misses. * * - Pretty bad. See it if you've got nothing better to do. * - One of the worst movies ever. See it only if you enjoy pain.

Copyright 2000 John Beachem

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