Supernova chronicles the search and rescue patrol of a medical ship in deep space in the early 22nd century and its six-member crew which includes a Captain and Pilot, a co-pilot, a medical...
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Supernova chronicles the search and rescue patrol of a medical ship in deep space in the early 22nd century and its six-member crew which includes a Captain and Pilot, a co-pilot, a medical officer, a medical technician, a search and rescue paramedic, and a computer technician. When their vessel, the Nightingale 229, answers an emergency distress signal from a comet mining operation in a distant galaxy, the crew soon finds itself in danger from the mysterious young man they rescue, the alien artifact he's smuggled aboard, and the gravitational pull of a giant star about to supernova. The resulting explosion will be the most massive explosion in the universe. Written by
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Good fun for sci-fi action fans. Not recommended for others
Supernova is legendary for is production problems and poor critical reception. However, the end result is an entertaining action sci-fi film which fails to live down to its absurdly low expectations and also fails to live up to its very high potential. in other words, it's better than most people say, and nowhere near as good as it should have been.
A rescue ship manned by several paramedics, a hot shot pilot just out of a drug rehab, and emergency personnel, patrols the frontier of human exploration, serving mining colonies, etc, far from earth's solar system. Just as we are learning the personalities in the film, and just as they are starting to become interesting, a distress call is picked up and the ship responds. Enigmatically, the distress call seems to have come from somebody out of the chief medical officer's (Angela Bassett) past, with a lot of problems. "The patient", however, is just the beginning of the mystery, as a strange object with the potential power to destroy the known universe is eventually found.
The first problem with the film is that it bites off much more than it can chew - developing compelling characters, a very interesting, detailed and original plot, excellent special effects and some great sets, but never permitting any of them to grow, expand or become fully realized. The second problem is, I suspect, the fault of studio mismanagement. Rather than contributing to the film, the cinematography and editing are so poor that they, in fact, distract and detract. The production problems - switching directors, mismanagement by the sponsoring studio, inartistic and uninspired re-shooting and re-editing
suggest a couple of simple explanations. There are so many wipes and
fades in the second half of the film that I began to wonder whether they were supposed to signify something (such as the passage of time, switching of dimensions, etc) which the audience was not privy to.
Contrary to popular belief, this film had a great deal of potential, however, it would have made a much better TV mini-series or even a premise for a TV series than a cinema release. Why? Because the story and especially the characters needed a lot more time and a lot less editing to develop properly.
The story line can be seen as totally inept or quite brilliant. Though I am no fan of black-box pseudoscience explanations such as "9th dimensional matter", I prefer the 'quite brilliant' interpretation. If you think a lot about what goes on in this film, you can easily link together what seems to be a mess of loose ends and detached subplots and really 'get' what the story is meant to convey. Facinelli's character can be seen as a guardian or simply a power-addict; Spader's former drug addiction can make his attempt at heroism seem a resolution of his inner demons; his relationship with Bassett can be seen as the resolution of the entire set of problems the film poses. However, realizing all of this requires more though and energy than the film itself suggests, and depicting it so that it could have been easily deciphered by the audience would have required at least a few more hours than the film was allowed.
The acting is actually quite good. Angela Bassett is, as usual, excellent, and Peter Facinelli and Wilson Cruz are both worth watching. James Spader's often maligned performance is perfect for the character he is playing - a former drug addict on a quest for redemption. I generally do not like Spader's work very much (there are already too many Clint Eastwood and Robert Downey types in the acting world today), but I do respect his talent. It is unfortunate that the characters were not permitted to develop as they should have, and though the reasons why are almost certainly the lack of decisive directorial control and the studio's post-production mistreatment of the film, this does not excuse Walter Hill from partial responsibility. Hill, after all, used some of the same signature structural plot devices in the over-rated Aliens and the weak but under-rated Alien3 - both of which were better films. the problem with the direction here is, predictably, simply one of consistency. Two to three directors and who knows how many editing and post-production teams simply can not make a perfectly coherent artistic vision.
Simply put, if you're into Sci-Fi, and don't mind films which favor the "fi" part of the phrase over the "sci", then you might just find yourself quite entertained. If you're no a sci-fi fan and you like action films, you might make it through Supernova. But, if you're not a sci-fi fan and your looking for something important, artistic and thoughtful, you should avoid this film like the plague.
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