Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


A big sci-fi flick with a half decent cast (James Spader, Angela Bassett), 'Supernova' was directed by Walter Hill with assistance from Francis Ford Coppola (and, and this should have been the clue, Jack Sholder). In the end everyone took their name off it (it's credited to a 'Thomas Lee'). It bombed.
For the record, in the distant future an emergency rescue ship responds to a mayday call from a rogue mining moon, and picks up a lone survivor with a mysterious alien artefact. Naturally this survivor is not all he seems to be, and bad things happen.
I've always been a little curious about this, given the directors involved, and so thought I'd give it a go today. I cannot quite understand how Hill, Coppola, or indeed any of the film's talent, became attached to it. There is absolutely nothing original about it. The effects are functional, but unremarkable (no real use of the titular supernova). Spader does steely well, but seems to have forgotten all other emotions. No one else is much better, including a surly Angela Bassett. Despite the money thrown at it, it still looks like a rock video (constant camera tilting, smoke everywhere) and nowhere does it seem like a real director is at work. And then there's the story! It throws in every sci-fi trope it can think of (futuristic drugs, hyperdrive mutations, buried alien artefacts, Government controlled procreation, genetic modification, Sleeper-like robots, it's all here), and just manages to seem jaded. (It even uses the plot of 'Dead Calm' at one point.)
Not worth it, even if you want to see what happened to Hill after '48 Hours', 'The Long Riders', 'Southern Comfort', etc..

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