SupernovaJanuary 14, 2000
Supernova chronicles the search and rescue patrol of a medical ship in deep space in the early 22nd century and its six-member crew which includes a Captain and Pilot…
Release Year: 2000
Rating: 4.4/10 (9,505 voted)
Critic's Score: 19/100
Stars: James Spader, Peter Facinelli, Robin Tunney
Supernova chronicles the search and rescue patrol of a medical ship in deep space in the early 22nd century and its six-member crew which includes a Captain and Pilot, a co-pilot, a medical officer, a medical technician, a search and rescue paramedic, and a computer technician. When their vessel, the Nightingale 229, answers an emergency distress signal from a comet mining operation in a distant galaxy, the crew soon finds itself in danger from the mysterious young man they rescue, the alien artifact he's smuggled aboard, and the gravitational pull of a giant star about go supernova the most massive explosion in the universe.
Writers: William Malone, Daniel Chuba
Dr. Kaela Evers
Lou Diamond Phillips
Eddy Rice Jr.
(as Knox Grantham White)
In the farthest reaches of space, something has gone terribly wrong.
Release Date: 14 January 2000
Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $6,731,940
(16 January 2000)
(2 April 2000)
Did You Know?
Apparently, the zero gravity sex scene between Angela Bassett and James Spader was put together using out-takes of scenes featuring Robin Tunney and Peter Facinelli, and with Tunney's skin color being digitally darkened.
When Kaela is using the VR unit to control Flyboy, she uses one hand to flip off Karl, but Flyboy uses the other, even though she is supposed to have complete and exact control over his body.
[about the alien object]
I'm not convinced we shouldn't just blow it out of the closest airlock.
You can't be serious! Do you have any idea what you're saying?
I'm saying I don't know what the hell it is and nothing you've shown me or told me indicates that you do either. Maybe it is an alien artifact, maybe it's a magic trick. Maybe it's a distillation of knowledge from an advanced civilization, maybe it's just a toy, an alien's child toy.
Or an alien sex object; it looks like…
Or maybe it was something so dangerous that the only way someone could finally get rid of it was by burying it… maybe… it has no business being on this ship.
Much better than its reputation has it, but no gem
A deep space "ambulance" ship receives a distress call from a mining
outpost on a rogue moon (it's been removed from its orbit) 3 thousand
light years away. Normally, that wouldn't be so unusual, but the
distress signal was specifically hailing this particular ship (like
calling someone inside an ambulance directly instead of dialing 911)
and when the source is revealed, female crew member Kaela Evers (Angela
Bassett) realizes that she knows the person who sent it. Worse, it's
someone whom she's had an extensive personal history with and whom she
considers a walking nightmare. Before she can warn Captain A.J. Marley
(Robert Forster), they're in hyper drive on their way to the moon and
unwittingly headed into trouble.
This film was plagued with problems–the originally attached director,
Geoffrey Wright, quit. The replacement director, Walter Hill, had
creative differences with the studio, which demanded re-shoots and new
cuts from none other than Francis Ford Coppola and Jack Sholder. Hill
ended up requesting that his name be removed, and used the new version
of the infamous "Alan Smithee" designation–"Thomas Lee".
And that wasn't the end of it. Upon its release, Supernova received a
critical drubbing. Rotten Tomatoes, for example, a website that
collates professional and semi-professional reviews on films, showed a
90% negative reading on Supernova. The reaction from everyday viewers
mirrored this reception, with mostly negative comments right here on
But Supernova isn't that bad of a film. It's no gem, but it does a lot
of things right: The premise is certainly stimulating. The transition
from a stock, Alien (1979)-like sci-fi film to a thriller in space is
well done. The characters are interesting. The suspense level gradually
increases until the very end of the film.
There are thoughtful subtexts about giving oneself over to a
"feel-good" substance, "survival of the fittest" evolution, and
cyclical regeneration. The "fountain of youth" device is intriguing,
and even though the "Ninth Dimension" stuff is gobbledy-gook, it's good
gobbledy-gook–it makes some sense as fantasy material, and it provides
a lot of suspense. There is a subtle social commentary/criticism on
attitudes about violence in the media, population problems and
A lot of the cast is also good–I like Robert Forster a lot, although
unfortunately he disappears from the picture too soon. I'm also a fan
of Lou Diamond Phillips, even if his presence more often than not
signifies a "C", "D" or lower film. James Spader's characterization of
Nick Vanzant is nice and complex. And the rest of the cast is at least
decent, even if Peter Facinelli overacts a bit towards the end–but the
role calls for that.
However, as a 7, Supernova has its share of problems, too. I don't
usually subtract points for a film being clichéd, but it's difficult
not to do so in this case. The beginning of the film is right out of
Alien–with the ship waking up a crew member unexpectedly, after
running some "tests". This is saved a bit by funny dialogue at the end
of the scene. The computer, "Sweetie", is reminiscent at times of "Hal"
from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The holographic chess game is right
out of Star Wars (1977). The distress signal scenario is again out of
Alien, and the exploration of the abandoned mine on the rogue moon is
similar to Aliens (1986).
The dialogue in the opening of the film is also a bit too jargonistic
and quickly delivered for its own good. It can be difficult to get the
gist of it without subtitles. There are a number of editing problems,
most prominently during the "near miss" of the out of control ship with
the moon–shaky cam cinematography doesn't help, either. And for so
many directors being involved, the direction, while not incompetent,
comes across as primarily "flat".
Is Supernova worth seeing? If you're a huge sci-fi fan (meaning that
you watch and like most sci-fi films) and you do not mind familiar
material that's slightly clunky at times, yes. There are enough
positives to make it worthwhile. Like usual with 7s, the film is best
approached with lowered expectations. Given the reputation of this
film, that should be no problem.