Supernova (1999)

Rating: **
Review Date: 10/28/00
Special Effects: Digital Domain
Cast: James Spader, Angela Bassett, Peter Facinelli, Lou Diamond Phillips, Robin Tunney, cameo by Robert Forster

An enjoyable, but ultimately empty sci-fi romp laden with some impressive visual effects. Nick Van Zant (James Spader) has just been assigned to a medical response team - a "space ambulance" of sorts. When they get an unusual distress signal from a highly unlikely source, they decide to fly in and check it out (shades of "Alien" (1979) here). Once there, they pick up a creepy survivor who bears an uncanny resemblence to Tom Cruise (Peter Facinelli). He's all sorts of trouble and takes out all of the crew members one by one in traditional horror film fashion until it's just down to Nick and Dr. Keila (Angela Bassett). Miraculously they manage to survive, with the destruction of the universe hot on their heels...

Sure, the story isn't very engaging and the acting isn't great, but the effects are wonderful and it has a nice musical score. BUT WOULD SOMEBODY KEEP THE DAMN CAMERA STILL FOR MORE THAN A FEW SECONDS?!? I swear, the entire movie looks like it was filmed by a staggering drunk - it's downright nauseating. I'm sure I would have thrown up if I had seen this movie in the theater. But perhaps the most astonishing thing about the film is James Spader playing a tough guy - and actually managing to pull it off! I was surprised to say the least. This film was apparently plagued with problems and Hollywood bullshit. The original director had his name removed from the film, and two other directors ended up completing the unfinished product. As such, the tone and continuity seem a bit sporadic. Not a bad way to waste an evening if you're craving a sci-fi fix.