Volume 93, Issue 61

Wednesday, January 19, 2000


Girl deserves undivided attention

Supernove shows no signs of brilliance

Festival proves arts still alive

Zuul's serve up new concoction

Supernove shows no signs of brilliance

Photo by Stephen Vaughn
"ARE YOU SURE THIS OUTFIT DOESN'T MAKE ME LOOK STUPID?" James Spader and Angela Bassett play dress up in the new futuristic thriller Supernova.

By Colin Butler
Gazette Staff

I've seen some bad movies in my short 20 years of life, but Supernova definitely ranks among the worst.

The movie chronicles a particularly precarious mission of the Nightingale 229. The medical rescue vessel receives a distress call from a comet mining operation in deep space. The ship's skipper, A.J. Marley (Robert Forster) and his co-pilot, Nick Vanzant (James Spader), take the ship through some kind of dimensional jump in order to travel millions of light years and thus reach their destination.

Other crew members include Dr. Kaela Everts (Angela Basset), the ship's chief medical officer, paramedic Danika Lund (Robin Tunney), medical technician Yerzy Penalosa (Lou Diamond Phillips) and computer geek Benj Sotomejor (Wilson Cruz). When the crew arrives at their final destination, they find but one survivor – Karl Larson (Peter Facinelli), the token bad guy.

In return for his rescue, Larson begins to systematically murder the crew one by one. This adversity is made worse by a nearby giant star that's about to go supernova. Sounds like a Star Trek episode, doesn't it?

Kind of, except for one difference – Star Trek always had a point to make. This movie does not. The story often deviates from its main course, giving little tidbits of information about some aspect of the 22nd century world that ultimately leads to nowhere. It's all very distracting and confusing, especially when there are more interesting things found stuck to the floor of the theatre.

There are a couple of bothersome things about this movie. First was Larson, your typical mutated psycho killer in a role that's all too plainly obvious. Keep in mind here that Supernova is supposed to be a thriller and therefore the director should have made a better effort to keep Larson's identity as the film's villain a mystery.

A second annoying aspect about the flick is that it builds to the climax, which ends up being a huge let down. You expect some kind of revelation which is associated with most science fiction pieces – a prediction of how far humanity can go or the depth of human comprehension that will make you think. Supernova does not accomplish this in any way.

One thing that works to Supernova's advantage is the special effects. Digital Domain, the force behind the special effects in Titanic and What Dreams May Come, did a similarly, impressive job in this flick.

For people who enjoy cool explosions and neat electrical thing-a-ma-jigs on space ships, this film sure delivers. But for moviegoers who appreciate depth of character, plot and a film with substance – you're wasting your time. Supernova is a relic from the '80s. Nice explosions, lots of action and narrow escapes from danger aren't enough to compensate for dialogue which is pure drivel.

In China, the government could show this movie to political prisoners who sympathize with the West. They could use it as an example of the type of ills freedom of expression can generate in a democracy in order to squelch convicts' aspirations.

That should say it all. This is the kind of movie your uncle Chuck would enjoy. In other words, it should be saved for rental – and only when you've seen all the other new releases. Save it for a day you're planning to waste.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000