STARRING: James Spader, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Lou
Diamond Phillips, Peter Facinelli, Robin Tunney, Wilson Cruz
2000, 95 Minutes, Directed by: Thomas Lee
Spader - action hero.
Don't believe me? Well, in Supernova Spader
looks seriously buffed - you can grate cheese on those abs! Obviously he has been
spending a lot of time in the gym recently - probably along with the rest
of the cast, which also looks buffed and includes Angela (Strange
Days) Bassett and Lou Diamond Phillips (of La Bamba fame).
only cast member who looks as if he might be a bit flabby dies early on
in the movie. I suppose there is a lesson of some sort in there, but can't
quite figure out what it might be. It might also be a coincidence that
this particular character seemed to be the most interesting one in the
whole bunch: he spent a lot of time watching old Tom & Jerry
cartoons while writing his sociology dissertation.
It isn't exactly clear what the rest of the cast members spend their
time on, but one wishes that it had been acting lessons instead of working
out. However, even the interior of the sleek and silvery spaceship they
inhabit resemble your local upmarket high-tech yuppie gym. To be honest,
I miss the nerd who sneezed his way through Stargate
- at least one could vaguely identify. Here Spader just look constipated
the whole time - maybe that's what he suspects movie action heroes really
Supernova resembles its cast: it's dumb and superficial. The effects
and sets are okay to look at, but the plot is vacant. A spaceship crew
answers a distress signal and rescues a suspicious stranger from a deserted
planet - you can guess the rest if you have been going to the movies at
all and have seen the likes of Dead Calm, Alien,
Event Horizon and Sphere.
Supernova is an unoriginal and predictable waste of time. Even
the movie is aware of this: it is edited in such a cursory way to get
the movie over and done with as quickly as possible so that the audience
can go home. No effort is made to generate some suspense, add atmosphere
or focus on characters.
As part of the video evening in which I saw Supernova, I also
watched the original Jaws for the umpteenth time: that movie runs
for half an hour longer than Supernova, yet it is much more suspenseful
than Supernova can ever dream of being. Maybe because one cares
about the characters, who are interesting if not likeable. And none of
them are buffed either come to think of it. Time well spent in acting
classes instead of the gym I suspect . . .
apparently had a long and troubled production history. Its director, Walter
Hill - of 48 Hours fame - pulled out due to "creative differences"
with the studio over the movie. As someone remarked: it boggles the mind
that "creative differences" could arise when it comes to such
an unoriginal and derivative piece of hokum!
Anyway, Hill wanted his name
removed from the movie's credits - can't say I blame him - and instead
of resorting to the traditional "Allan Smithee" moniker which the
savvy movie-going public recognizes by now, the studio opted for "Thomas
Lee" instead. This still didn't work: audiences avoided this movie like
something you wouldn't want to step in on the pavement and it lost a lot
of money for its troubled studio, MGM.