Digi-Schlock: SUPERNOVA (Scream Factory Blu-Ray)

Special editions aren’t just for the movies you adore. A lot of times a special edition can shed light on the mysteries behind a troubled production, thus adding value to a film that might not otherwise be interesting as a stand-alone home video release. Scream Factory’s new edition of Supernova shows how a video company can pull this off.

The transfer offers a decent presentation of this CGI-heavy film, with a nice vividness to the primary colors that dominate the lighting. Some are saying an older hi-def master was used for this presentation: Schlockmania hasn’t seen definitive confirmation for that but the detail isn’t as crisp as you expect from newer transfers. 5.1 and 2.0 lossless stereo tracks Supernov-bluare provided for audio options: the 5.1 track was used for this review and offers a suitably bombastic presentation for this setpiece-heavy film.

The extras provide some interesting insights into the different choices made in assembling the final film. There are almost fifteen minutes worth of deleted scenes: these bits feature a lot of superimposed titles, narration and the occasional flashback. Of particular interest are extra scenes from a solo visit to a deserted ship that James Spader makes in the second half of the film because they incorporate another character with unique makeup effects.

On a similar tip, the film’s original ending is also included. This alternate take offers more visual effects, a different fate for the villain and an unexpectedly somber coda that was abandoned for the released version. Another interesting inclusion is the film’s theatrical trailer, which goes out of its way to misrepresent this macho, often serious film as a happy-go-lucky sci-fi action romp, complete with kitschy pop songs accentuating the action.  Scream Supernov-04Factory includes some bonus trailers in a sci-fi vein: Lifeforce, The Incredible Melting Man and Invaders From Mars.

However, the key extra here is a new making-of piece that runs 25 minutes and includes interviews with producer Daniel Chuba, editor Jack Sholder and stars Robert Forster and Lou Diamond Phillips. The four offer a detailed post-mortem of how and why the film ended up the way it did: you’ll hear how it was being rewritten daily while being shot, how Walter Hill left the project after completing the shoot and how Francis Ford Coppola ended up taking a crack at the film.

Supernov-05The featurette also includes an interesting tale of how some visual effects featuring two actors were repurposed to create a new sex scene for two different actors (!). Sholder in particular is uncompromisingly frank in offering his opinions on not only where the editing went wrong but what elements in the film don’t work. All in all, an eye-opening piece that sheds light on how studio politics can go awry.

All in all, this special edition of Supernova will appeal to the film’s fans and anyone interested in Hollywood skullduggery through how it shows the ugly side of mainstream film production.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Supernova, click here.

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