Supernova (2000 film)

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Supernova ver1.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Walter Hill
Produced by Ash R. Shaw
Daniel Chuba
Jamie Dixon
Screenplay by David C. Wilson
Story by William Malone
Daniel Chuba
Starring James Spader
Angela Bassett
Peter Facinelli
Lou Diamond Phillips
Robin Tunney
Robert Forster
Wilson Cruz
Music by David C. Williams
Cinematography Lloyd Ahern II
Editing by Michael Schweiter
Melissa Kent
Francis Ford Coppola
Freeman A. Davies
Studio Screenland Pictures
Hammerhead Productions
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • January 14, 2000 (2000-01-14)
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $90 million[1]
Box office $14,828,081[1]

Supernova is a 2000 science fiction horror film, from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film was written by David C. Wilson, William Malone and Daniel Chuba and directed by Walter Hill, credited as "Thomas Lee."[2] "Thomas Lee" was chosen as a directorial pseudonym for release, as the name Alan Smithee had become too well known as a badge of a film being disowned by its makers.

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." Jack Sholder was hired for substantial uncredited reshoots, and Francis Ford Coppola brought in for editing purposes.[citation needed] Various sources[who?] suggest that little of Hill's work remains in the theatrical cut of the film. The film shares several plot similarities with the film Event Horizon released in 1997 and Alien Cargo released in 1999.

The cast featured James Spader, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Lou Diamond Phillips, Peter Facinelli, Robin Tunney, and Wilson Cruz. This film was shot by cinematographer Lloyd Ahern and scored by composers David C. Williams and Burkhard Dallwitz.


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 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, the Nightingale 229, they receive an emergency distress signal coming from an ice mining operation on the moon Titan 37, over 3000 light years away.

The crew answers the call and "dimension jumps", arriving in the path of Titan 37's debris cloud, some of which damages the ship and causes the loss of 82% of its maneuvering fuel. Worse still, Titan 37 orbits a blue giant, and its high gravity field will pull the ship to the point where it will be incinerated in 17 hours, 12 minutes - which happens to be almost the same amount of time that the Nightingale will need to recharge its jump drive, their only possible hope for escape. With only an 11-minute window for escape, the crew soon find themselves in danger from the disturbing young man (Peter Facinelli) they rescue, and the mysterious alien artifact he has smuggled aboard. This artifact is analyzed by the ship's computer and is said to contain "Ninth Dimensional Matter".

It is ultimately discovered that the young man who called for rescue is actually "Karl Larson", an old former lover of Kaela's (it is implied they had an abusive relationship). Karl came into contact with the ninth dimensional matter after recovering the artifact, and it somehow enabled him to acquire super strength, supernatural healing abilities, and made him younger (such that Kaela did not recognize him). Karl murders most of the crew except Kaela, and strands Nick on the mining platform. Karl unsuccessfully attempts to romantically reconcile with Kaela. Nick finds his way back to the medical ship through a rescue pod left on the mining platform, and a battle ensues between Nick and Karl. Karl is ultimately killed using explosives placed near the alien artifact which Karl was obsessed with retrieving. The explosion ejects the artifact into space, hurtling it towards the blue giant.

With moments left before the "dimension jump" activates, Kaela and Nick place themselves into the only remaining "dimensional stabilization chamber" (Karl had destroyed all but one) which is the only thing that enables human beings to survive the ship's dimensional jump drive. The pods are only meant to hold one person, however - two subjects might be genetically mixed during the dimensional jump. Before Nick and Kaela enter the only remaining pod, the computer warns them that the 9th dimensional matter is reacting with the gravity of the blue giant sun and will cause a 9th dimensional reaction that will spread in all directions, such that the reaction's resulting supernova will reach Earth within 51 years. The computer hypothesizes that the reaction will either destroy life on Earth or "enable humankind to achieve a new level of existence". Just before the blue giant supernovas, the ship engages in a dimensional jump which brings Nick and Kaela back to Earth. As a result of their being in the same pod, the two of them each have one eye of the other person's original eye color. The ship's computer also reveals that Kaela is pregnant, which may be the result of them being in the pod together during the jump, or the result of them having sex hours earlier.



Supernova was widely panned by most reviewers; Rotten Tomatoes, for example, gives it a 10% rating.[3] New York Times reviewer Lawrence Van Gelder called it "light on originality and low on suspense though high on design and special effects."[4] On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film holds a 19/100, indicating "overwhelming dislike".[5]

Box office[edit]

The film was a box office bomb, opening with a $5,778,639 in its opening weekend;[6] by the end of its run, the film grossed only $14,828,081 worldwide on a $90 million budget.[1]

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