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... See full summary »
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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
Many promotional stills show lot of deleted scenes which were not included in deleted scenes on DVD/Blu-Ray versions of the movie. These include; Kaela and Danika dressing up the Flyboy robot, Nick investigating the Titan mining colony and more areas of it, Nick finding more cocooned dead bodies of miners and examining them, Karl's original monster-like look... See more »
At the end of the movie one of Nick's eyes is blue and one is brown. When they show him again from the side the other eye is blue. See more »
In case you never noticed, there was a glut of science fiction films released in the year 2000 (kind of like the outburst of horror films the year before that) and the first one released was Supernova, and it's arguably one of the worst. At least Battlefield Earth provided a barrage of unintentional laughs. Supernova features hackneyed writing, mostly uninspired acting, as well as choppy and mishandled direction, all at the hands of Mr. Thomas Lee (AKA Walter Hill), which now seems to be the new choice of pseudonyms for directors ashamed of their work.
Supernova begins in a strange enough manner. There's an opening shot of outer space without the usual opening credits or title sequence. We are introduced to the Nightengale, a search and rescue medical vessel led by Captain A.J. Marley (Robert Forster). The rest of the crew are co-pilot Nick Vanzant (James Spader), medical technician Kaela Evers (Angela Bassett), and three other crew members who are obviously easily dispensable.
The ship receives an S.O.S. signal coming from an abandoned mine.Through a method of travel known as the interdimensional jump, the crew arrives at this abandoned mine, and they pick up a stranger named Karl Larson (Peter Facinelli). X-rays show he has some sort of strange bone growth, which could be due to contact he had with an extraterrestrial object he brought along. According to the computers, the object (which is pink and resembles a giant glowing egg) is capable of destroying all matter and creating new life as well.
Larson eventually reveals his true colors and begins to eliminate the crew one-by-one, as well as stranding Nick on the mine. It becomes a game of cat-and-mouse as Nick and Kaela do battle with Larson, whose contact with the alien artifact has now made him seemingly invincible.
You might notice I didn't mention anything about a supernova. Well, that's because nothing of the sort comes into fruition until the last 5 minutes, and even then it's only a minor plot device used to generate some false tension. As for the rest of the movie, does this thriller ever generate any suspense? Nada. There are a couple of cheap thrills at the end, but this is hardly the tense and scary film I'm sure director Hill had in mind.
From the stories I've read, Hill's version was butchered, cut by over a half-hour because MGM preferred a sexy space adventure over his idea of a sci-fi thriller. Well, I'm not exactly sure what MGM had in mind, but Supernova is far from sexy, featuring several scenes of bare breasts (mostly Robin Tunney's) and a couple of zero-g sex scenes that are painful to watch. Heck, you'll get far, far more outer space sexual titillation (cheap as it still is) from the straight-to-video movie Alien Files.
What the end result of all the studio cuts is a film that I still don't believe would have had a chance for critical and commercial success even if all the cut material was inserted back. Of the 91 or so minutes I viewed I can't possibly see an extra 30 minutes improving it by a whole lot. The version I saw was the R-rated video release that only adds in a few more scenes of bare breasts. Trust me, you wouldn't be missing much if you saw this movie in theaters. I'm surprised the studio didn't just end the whole production when things began to go all wrong.
How did it all go wrong? Let me begin with the direction. Walter Hill must have felt obligated to direct in Blair Witch fashion, because a good portion of the movie is shot with shaky camera movements. This is acceptable during the action scenes, but he even does this during normal conversations. Simultaneously, he also shoots much of the film in a tilted angle, similar to what we saw in Battlefield Earth. The combination of these two elements serve only to create headaches.
The script is also to blame. Written by William Malone and Daniel Chuba, Supernova doesn't make a very interesting small-scale film. The idea of an extraterrestrial object capable of destroying the solar system is more fitting for a larger scale film, but the writers seemed to be satisfied placing it within a story that is Alien-lite. The plot holes are also apparent. Think about this, there's a six person crew aboard the Nightengale and they have six chambers for the interdimensional jump. They're a rescue vessel; exactly how do they bring back survivors? They certainly don't share the chambers (as explained in the film, since they have to get nude to go inside and there's the possibility genetic material could be fused together). There's a moment when a Nick mentions that only five of the six chambers work, but the computer later states that there are seven total chambers. Hmm, seems like even the writers can't count.
There are three decent performances. James Spader, looking and sounding a lot like Jeff Goldblum, is pretty good as the buff hero. Angela Bassett exerts the most energy and seems to look involved. Robert Forster is also decent in the scenes he appears in. Lou Diamond Phillips, Robin Tunney, and Wilson Cruz are mostly forgettable. Phillips is there to go crazy (a la Sam Neill in Event Horizon though not to nearly as memorable an effect), Tunney is just eye candy since all she does is bare her breasts, and Cruz definitely shows that the Star Trek "expendable crew member syndrome" is very much still alive and kicking. This guy pretty much has "dead man" tatooed on his forehead the moment we see him. Peter Facinelli is easily the worst. Part of how effective the movie is requires we be scared of him. Not only is his acting bad, but he looks like a cross between Tom Cruise, Chris O'Donnell, and Matthew McConnaughey. Tell me, is that scary? (Perhaps, but certainly not in the manner the film makers intended)
The visuals don't add up to a lot, either. Though the outer space shots are pretty-looking, the spaceship design is far too obvious a special effect and everything else inside the ship is fairly standard looking. There aren't any particularly memorable effects in this film. Even the explosion at the end doesn't create much visual spectacle.
All these problems could be somewhat forgiveable if Hill could have only injected some tension and adrenaline into the proceedings. For a movie that aims to thrill the audience, it's a dull festival. The pace drags and all attemtps to create excitement fall flat. A few weeks after this film's release, Pitch Black arrived in theaters, which is everything this movie is not: thrilling, well-acted and directed, and some amazing visuals with a script that knows how to twist the plot into something unpredictable.
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