Scifi
Supernova
.
Dir: Walter Hill, Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Sholder
Star: James Spader, Angela Bassett, Peter Facinelli, Lou Diamond Phillips
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 2000
Format: DVD R1
'

The medical rescue vessel Nightingale 229 receives a distress call from a distant moon. The call does not come from the regular channels but from Karl Larson (Peter Facinelli) the ex partner of the ships doctor Kaela Evers (Angela Bassett). During the jump to the moon the captain is killed leaving recovering drug addict co-pilot Nick Vanzant (James Spader) in charge. His problems are compounded when the ship is damaged leaving it with only just enough fuel to escape from the moon's gravity. Things take a more disturbing turn when the man they rescue isn't Karl but some one claiming to be his son, and he is trying to smuggle an alien artefact on board. Who is he, and just what is the purpose of this artefact?

Supernova is a mess of a film. It should have been a quite a passable psycho in space flick (a sort of sci-fi version of The Shinning), but thanks to a terrible script and some of the worst editing ever seen it is a mess. But first lets concentrate on the positives.

The special effects in the film are on the whole very good. This film had a pretty large budget and it shows. The dimension jump and supernova effects are great. The spaceship model and computer effects are also very good. It is just a real shame that for the robot they used a bloke in a cheap silver mask (it looks as bad as it sounds. Lets do the robot everyone.). Also the acting talent is pretty good. James Spader is his usual weird self, and Angela Bassett is tough and sexy. Peter Facinelli is not very convincing in his role, which is a big loss as he has a central character. Other than that Robin Tunney is attractive, Wilson Cruz is effective, and as usual Lou Diamond Phillips is wooden. Overall the cast aren't bad.

Unfortunately that's it for the good points. The first main problem comes from the script. The main story lacks focus (Ok so some of this may be down to the butchering of the script) but despite a promising start things soon get silly. The film just can't make up its mind on what to concentrate on, is it repairing the ship before it crashes, or maybe the mystery guests psychotic tendencies, or possible the alien artefacts unknown dangers. In the end it tries all three and this just leads to confusion. Add to this the poor dialogue, and many pointless sex scenes and things aren't looking too good. I mean don't even mention the plot holes at the stories core like the fact that the rescue ship doesn't have the facilities to support the crew let alone anyone they rescue.

Even this wouldn't finish the film though if the direction had held it all together. Well, too many chefs have definitely spoiled the pudding. The film had three directors, three writers and three producers. The initial director was Walter Hill but for some reason he left the project, then Francis Ford Coppola and Jack Sholder each had a go (in the end the fictitious name Thomas Lee was used in the credits). This is bad enough, but wait it gets worse. It seems that the film has been massively reedited. Vast chunks of explanatory story have been lost (as the number of deleted scenes included on the disc show, and personally I think there are many more missing scenes). What is left is a dogs diner of poorly edited nonsense. I would love to have seen what the original cut was like.

Yes this is a mess. It is a shame because some bits of it are rather good. There are scenes that are both exciting and well shot like for example when the ship exits the hyperspace jump. But all together the film just doesn't work. I get the feeling the story behind making this movie would be infinitely more interesting than the film itself. It may still be worth a watch as the effects and cast aren't all bad, but don't get your hopes up to high. The rather more gory but in some ways similar Event Horizon is a much better film.

Rating: 1 out of 5

DVD
Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Good Picture for the film, not so good in the deleted scenes.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Very good track with lots of effects.
Features Trailer
Loads of interesting deleted scenes, including a superior nilistic alternative ending.
Verdict Good quality transfer, with limited but interesting extras.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home