A couple of months ago I was able to view director Walter Hill’s buried director’s cut of “Supernova,” and was I shocked to find that not only was his version vastly different, but surprisingly decent as well. With crucial scenes and a strikingly different temp score restored, not to mention without some misguided overdubbing and scene rearranging, performances that seemed so wrong in the hacked-to-bits theatrical cut were dead-on (though Peter Facinelli’s work as the villain remained a lost cause); barely realized pretensions blossomed into genuinely provocative themes; and there was actually some real suspense to this tale of a madman going on a rampage aboard a rescue vessel in the far reaches of space.
Alas, this far superior version of the film is not on MGM’s DVD, but a special R-rated edition of the abysmal PG-13 release version (the major restoration? Some extra nudity) credited to the pseudonymous “Thomas Lee.” However, the disc gives viewers a hefty taste of what could have been (or, rather, what was ) by including a number of the excised footage in a “deleted scenes” section presented separately from the film; in a strangely generous move, MGM also polished the visual effects work on these scenes. While these scenes’ true effectiveness don’t really come through out of context, at least audiences can get an idea of Hill’s original vision. This bonus footage is the icing on a strangely well-produced disc for a truly awful film; the main menu, which incorporates footage from the film along with some neat 3-D blueprint-like images, is far more elaborate than those on the discs for far more deserving films in the Lion’s catalog.
Specifications: Full frame and 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen; English 5.1 Surround; Spanish Dolby Surround; Spanish and French subtitles; English closed captioning.