This sci-fi romp starts out promising but then falls into cliched and overdrawn scenes of characters walking through corridors and steps. The audience initially sees a manned satellite station with people enjoying the simple pleasure of playing chess in the wondrous background of space.
Filmmakers can be commended for not using subtitles for the astronauts and gives the audience a nice glimpse of life in space. Soon an unpredictable event in space occurs in mammoth proportions which ultimately relates to a giant ship in the sea on earth.
A tugboat captain (Donald Sutherland) and his crew including a rebellious man (William Baldwin) and smart woman (Jamie Lee Curtis) experience their own problems when they try to recover the sunken ship to get a handsome amount of money for salvaging the ship which isn’t really important or interesting. Cliff Curtis also stars as Hiko.
The story builds around the results of the attempted recovery and its effects, especially on the captain, then drops into predictable crew excursions where the audience can easily predict who will live and who will die.
You actually feel some sympathy for the captain until you see more of his characteristics later. Victims left in the wake of the evil phenomenon that causes the problems to leave clues like which lead the survivors to blandly conclude the entity is “lightning that can think.”
Some of the camera work stays with you, especially a particularly dangerous looking shot of flames shooting over Jamie Lee Curtis. The lighting could have been much better in several sequences. The movie ends with a fairly inventive sequence where the characters encounter the phenomenon face to face.
The special effects try to force the audience to enjoy themselves (the odd sound effect whipping through the air at the end is still very puzzling), but don’t contribute to the weak story and cookie cutter characters. Not recommended (*1/2 out of four stars).
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler