Supernova


Fit as a fiddle. Copilot Vanzant (Spader) gets a checkup - and some plot exposition - from Dr Evers (Bassett).
dir Thomas Lee (aka Walter Hill) scr David Campbell Wilson
with James Spader, Angela Bassett, Peter Facinelli, Wilson Cruz, Robin Tunney, Lou Diamond Phillips, Robert Forster, Eddy Rice Jr, Knox Grantham White, Kerrigan Mahan, Vanessa Marshall
MGM 00/US 1 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
So bad the director took his name off it, Supernova is an unmitigated disaster, and as such has at least curiosity value. It's been hacked to smithereens, presumably so the studio could avoid including more expensive effects, and the result is a chaotic muddle of a movie that's mercifully short!

We're in the 22nd century, on board a medical rescue ship with six (!) crewmen: grizzled captain (Forster), ex-drug addict co-pilot (Spader), serious-minded doctor (Bassett), warm-hearted computer guy (Cruz), and two romantically entwined medics (Tunney and Phillips). Then they're called to a distant moon to rescue a young mercenary (Facinelli) who's not telling the truth about anything. Meanwhile, a nearby sun is about to go supernova. But that's nothing compared to what's happening inside the ship.

Let's start with the screenplay: It's a clunky disaster in which every line of dialog is also infused with about five bits of essential plot exposition, so it sounds like the characters are reciting pages of the encyclopaedia at each other. Even A-list actors would have trouble here, but it totally defeats this cast from the first scene. That's not to say these actors are bad--they just don't have a chance! And the story is preposterously bad, jammed with trite plot conveniences that make you wonder if the writer really thinks audiences are this stupid. OK, let's move on: Normally when a director removes his name from a film, it's because the final cut has been tampered with by the producer/studio/whoever. But Hill deserves the blame here as well. The action sequences are incoherent and lame, and the film's design, costumes and makeup are just plain ridiculous. But I'll say two good things: Its effects are quite clever ... and it deserves a long life in film schools, where students will have a great time dissecting it. Yes, it's a textbook disaster.

[15--themes, violence, language, sexual situations] 12.Jun.00
US release 14.Jan.00; UK release 16.Jun.00

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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