Supernova, Blu-ray (1995/2015)

Supernova, Blu-ray (1995/2015)

Actors: James Spader, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Lou Diamond Phillips, Peter Facinelli
Director: Thomas Lee
Studio: MGM/Shout Factory SF 15577 [1/13/15]
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 color 1080p HD
Audio: English DTC-HD MA 5.1 or PCM 2.0
Subtitles: English
Extras: “The Making of…”; New interviews with Lou Diamond Phillips & Robert Forster, Producer Daniel Chumba & Jack Sholder; Deleted Scenes (20’), Alternate Ending; Theatrical trailer
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: ****

This at times this terrifying sci-fi thriller (somewhat in the bag of Alien) stars an entirely different and younger James Spader than in the current TV hit The Black List. He spent some time excercising and buffing up for his role, and is in reality an action movie star here. I was surprised how honest the interviewed people involved in the film were in the “Making of” featurette and the interviews. They revealed that there were changes of directors and script writers, and that often they had no idea when they arrived on the set each morning what they were going to shoot or what they were going to say. Even Francis Cappola got involved in the film near the end of production.

It had begun as a low-budget quick effort and somehow expanded into a major and expensive production. The CGI and special effects portions are excellent. Some reviewers say if the film hadn’t been cut down in length so extensively its story would be much clearer and an even better film would have been the result. Be sure to watch the Deleted Scenes, but I didn’t find they completely filled out the questions that may come up. (Other reviewers think this is one of the worst sci-fi films ever made; I don’t agree. But then I like to see all sci-fi films, whether good or bad.)

The medical vessel Nightingale is far out in space keeping a watch for those who might be in trouble. They receive a transmission from a mining planet that seems to be a cry for help, and risk an almost-fatal dimensional jump to the dying star the mining planet revolves around. The pilot is killed in the jump and co-pilot Spader takes over. The ship rescues one survivor who is rather mysterious and they discover a strange artifact he has brought aboard the medical ship without their knowledge. Both the survivor and his artifact turn out to be highly dangerous and eventually only Spader and the black female doctor on the ship are left alive. There are several somewhat gratuitous sex-in-zero-gravity scenes. Not as good as the first two Alien films but good fun anyway, and it brings up some interesting points that seem quite original. And it doesn’t seem dated in any way.

—John Sunier

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