Supernova

2000, Movie, PG-13, 88 mins

Review

SUPERNOVA
starstarstarstar
ALIEN plus The Love Boat equals a sci-fi picture in which relationships are as big a problem as an impending supernova and some mysterious terror from beyond space. The actors are as frequently naked as the cast of a softcore porn picture (even computer Sweetie talks like a phone sex operator), which might be a plus if they weren't so often cropped at the shoulders, presumably for the sake of a PG-13 rating. 22nd-century medical rescue ship Nightingale is trolling deep space, waiting for a distress call. When it comes, the call is from a supposedly deserted mining moon, Titan 27. The Nightingale's captain (Robert Forster) is killed en route, leaving recovering junkie Nick Vanzant (James Spader) in charge of a crew of four: chief medic Kaela Evers (Angela Bassett), computer whiz Benj Sotomejor (Wilson Cruz), and perpetually hot-to-trot Yerzy Penalosa (Lou Diamond Phillips) and Danika Lund (Robin Tunney). They take on a young man named Troy (Peter Facinelli) who's clearly lying about what he was doing on Titan 27; why he called in the distress call under the name of Kaela's ex, Karl Larson; what happened to the rest of his party; and the nature of the weird, glowing object he's brought aboard. Scripted by David Campbell Wilson, from a story co-written by William Malone (whose ALIEN rip-off credentials date back to 1983's CREATURE/TITAN FIND), this big budget mish-mash is almost unbelievably derivative and shockingly cheap looking. The film, which arrived amidst rumors of trouble on the set, feels strangely unfinished, as though chunks of plot had been randomly discarded. This may in fact be the case, since several elaborate effects depicted in pre-release stories are absent. You can hardly blame director Walter Hill (and who knows who else?) for hiding behind the pseudonym "Thomas Lee." leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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