Supernova is a 2000 science fiction horror film written by David C. Wilson, William Malone and Daniel Chuba and directed by Walter Hill, credited as "Thomas Lee." During its production, it took over three directors like Walter Hill, Jack Sholder, and Francis Ford Coppola (who was well known for The Godfather trilogy) during its production. It was originally developed in 1988 by director William Malone as "Dead Star," with paintings by H. R. Giger and a plot that had been called "Hellraiser in outer space."
In 2101, Supernova chronicles the search-and-rescue patrol of the medical ship Nightingale 229 in deep space in the same era, and its six-member crew, which includes captain and pilot A.J. Marley (Robert Forster), co-pilot Nick Vanzant (James Spader), medical officer Kaela Evers (Angela Bassett), medical technician Yerzy Penalosa (Lou Diamond Phillips), search and rescue paramedic Danika Lund (Robin Tunney) and computer technician Benjamin Sotomejor (Wilson Cruz). Aboard their vessel, they receive an emergency distress signal coming from an ice mining operation on the moon Titan 37, more than 3,000 light-years away, but their response to a distress signal from a ship, as it leads them to an alien form and a black hole that could destroy both ships.
Why It Should Go in a Supernova
- To start with, it is pretty much a generic horror-sci-fi film that it rip-offs many of the elements from Alien and Event Horizon, and it has tons of trouble productions, scripts throughout the entire film. There are more reasons down below.
- The film suffered from over three directors during the production of this film in the entire decade of the 1990s, this is the main reason why the movie flop.
- Geoffrey Wright, who was originally hired as director, walked away from the project two months before principal photography due to the "creative differences."
- The story is extremely lousy, boring, and it doesn't make any sense. The film only involves that a group of rescue patrols finds an ice-mining moon that causes a black hole to destroy both ships, yet the movie boils down into of a lot of filler, which is partially nothing going on in this movie.
- Extremely abysmal tone. The film tries so hard to be suspenseful, and scary, but it fails miserably. In fact, the whole film feels more like a parody, rather than being a sci-fi horror movie.
- Even worse, the movie's trailer is extremely terrible, bland, and cringy-worthy to watch. The trailer makes it looks like it's a comedy sci-fi horror film, rather than being a suspenseful trailer.
- Horrible acting from Angela Bassett, and Robert Forster, as it was filled with overreacting, loud, and very obnoxious dialogue.
- Most of the characters are horribly written and rarely get an amount of good character development because of it.
- Sluggish pacing: despite the film being only 90 minutes long, there so much padding that makes the whole movie feel longer than it actually is, and there are a bunch of scenes that were dragging on.
- The film has numerous continuity factual errors throughout the plot, such as:
- In two separate scenes, Penalosa and Lund and, later, Vanzant and Evers are shown having sex in zero gravity. This is impossible due to the lack of friction and gravity and requires a third person to hold them in place.
- 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.
- At the end of the movie one of Nick's eyes is blue and one is brown. When they show him again from the side the other eye is blue.
- The art designs, and notably for the backgrounds and models look pretty cheap, as it feels more like it was made for a young-to-older kids' show set.
- Terrible cinematography, and its color filters, as it feels like a darker, but a colorful kid-friendly PG rating than being a PG-13 or an R-rated film.
- Lackluster CGI effects, especially for a spaceship Nightingale 229, which this ship looks really fake.
- Well done soundtrack that was performed by David C. Williams.
- James Spader gave at least a decent performance as Nick Vanzant.
The film was widely panned by critics, and audiences alike, criticizing Coppola and the cuts he made for weakening the characters and disconnecting the film's relationships and stylistic unity, resulting in the film being "consigned to the void". It has a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 61 reviews, with the consensus: "This is an insult to the Sci-fi genre with no excitement and bad FX.", while a 17% audience score on the same site. On Metacritic, it has a 19/100 indicating "overwhelming dislike", with a 5.5/10 user score rating on the same site, while it holds a 4.8/10 on IMDb.
Before it was released, MGM predicted that the movie would not performed well at the box office during its run, and on its release, their predictions became true. The film was unable to get much of its budget back, only earned $14.8 million dollars against its 60-90 million dollar budget, witch it is considered a box office failure.
- Walter Hill said in an interview some years after the movie was released that his version was much darker, had a very different setup and that the ending was much different from the final cut. He also expressed a strong dislike for the way the studio ruined the movie but he said that James Spader did a great job with his role.
- The film was originally run for 90 minutes on its theatrical release and it was rated PG-13 at the time. When it released on home video, however, it was changed to rated R and it runs 91 minutes, a minute longer than the theatrical release.
- Due to the troubled production, James Spader basically disowned the film and expressed his regret in participating, citing this film as the one in his career that people should avoid.
- Walter Hill, having grown frustrated with the studio interference, walked out of the film production mid way and refused to be involved with the reshoots. Francis Ford Coppola stepped in to direct some reshoots before he also walked out, and Jack Sholder came aboard to finish directing the reshoots and oversee the final edit. The latter two remained uncredited as directors, with Hill receiving sole director's credit under the pseudonym "Thomas Lee."