as reviewed by Skylaire Alfvegren
Space is a vacuum. It is a gigantic dirt devil that sucks away logic, suspense, and clothing. A deep, dark, yawning chasm that swallows all emotions but leaves the biological urge to do the wild thing. By the looks of the trailers for Supernova, you might think that the crew of the Nightingale, an interstellar medical rescue ship sent out on a routine patrol of deep space, is out for one giant floating orgy. And until they receive a distress call from a rogue moon, the glass panes of the anti-gravity chamber are perpetually steamed by the lust of medical tech Yerzy Penalosa (Lou Diamond Phillips) and his paramedic love muffin, Danika Lund (Robin Tunney).
Co-pilot Nick Vanzant (James Spader), a recovering drug addict on court-appointed duty, tries to warm up to medical officer Kaela Evers (Angela Bassett), whose demeanor grows from stern and disapproving to uptight and stony when she discovers the distress call is coming from her own drug-addled ex, Karl Larson (Peter Facinelli), who claims to have been abandoned on a mining expedition.
After captain A. J. Marley (Robert Forster) is turned to spaghetti by the hyper drive jump, Vanzant becomes commanding officer. Spader does his best Clint Eastwood in an attempt to return the crew to their own galaxy before the nearby giant blue star collapses into a supernova. Spader’s leaden sense of purpose is almost convincing; he has to contend with a handful of dubious events involving the imploding star, an annoying, sex-obsessed crew, and the rescued Larson, whose alien cargo provides the only intriguing thing about the entire movie.
Supernova isn’t bad enough to be entertaining, stealing more ideas from the first two Alien movies than there are stars in the heavens. Unfortunately, it replaces the suspense and vicious extraterrestrials with soap opera dramatics and something resembling a dildo designed by Lisa Frank. The special effects are stellar, if boring. Spader and company don’t waste their energy acting in this inane caper, but they do rise to occasion–their grim, one-dimensional performances are a perfect fit for what is possibly the most unnecessary outer space movie of the last decade.