by Scott Weinberg
A team of plucky geometry students unwittingly unleash the evil demon Isoscoleius, ruler of all things triangular, and the kids must spend one horrific night trapped in a math lab as...Nah, just kiddin'. It's about The Bermuda Triangle! Shocker there, eh?
"Serious answers to silly questions."
Yep, a made-for-the-SciFi Channel mini-series that focuses on the deep, dark dangers found within everyone's favorite mythical ... clump of ocean.
Yes, genre-fans, you heard me right: This is a project created for the Sci-Fi Channel, the network that brought you the world premieres of Man-Thing, Chupacabra Terror, and House of the Dead 2: Dead Aim.
Needless to say, this thing's a whole lot better than those ones are. In fact, where The Triangle stumbles, it's in the opposite direction; whereas the normal Sci Fi Channel flicks are aggressively, broadly, blatantly stupid, The Triangle aims for deliberate pacing and a sober face. Truthfully, over 250 minutes in length, the thing gets a little boring here and there.
But I'll take earnest, compelling, and intermittently dry over brain-dead-stupid any day, so color me surprisingly pleased with what The Triangle has to offer. Boasting a colorfully cool cast of actors, a unique twist on the ol' "Bermuda Triangle!" conceit, and a healthy dose of actual production value, it's actually not a bad little mini-series.
Produced by genre kings Bryan Singer and Dean Devlin, written by the creator of Alien Nation, and directed by TV veteran Craig Baxley, The Triangle is nothing if not well-polished. The cast is packed with favorites like Sam Neill, Eric Stoltz, Bruce Davison, Lou Diamond Phillips, Catherine Bell, and Charles Martin Smith; the direction is crisp and clean; the FX are slick; and the story is ... well, it's kinda convoluted. But hey, it takes a lot of effort to fill up four hours of movie! In an effort to flesh out the main characters (and to pad out the necessary running time), The Triangle takes frequent detours into subplot junction, and the flick stalls to a halt on several of these occasions.
Borrowing (OK, stealing) a page from Jurassic Park, El Trianglo opens with a billionaire tycoon who aims to enlist an eclectic little team of experts (a reporter, a psychic, a sexy oceanographer, and an "extreme sports" meteorologist) each of whom will travel to deep within the realm of the Bermuda Triangle, and do all they can to figure out why the rich guy's cargo ships keep vanishing. Meanwhile, over in main-subplot junction, one survivor of a Greenpeace boat wreck is in the process of losing his mind ... but we all know it's got something to do with The Triangle!!!
Once The Triangle gets down to the sci-fi nitty gritty, we're asked to swallow a whole bunch of material that's either A) somewhat familiar, or B) outright loopy. That's where an Eric Stoltz or a Sam Neill comes in hand, simply because it's easier to buy the sci-fi psycho-babble from an actor you like. Before it all wraps up, The Triangle feels a whole lot like Jurassic Park meets The X-Files by way of The Philadelphia Experiment ... but it's a pretty nifty concoction all the same.
It takes a little while to warm up and it asks you to sit through a few too many push-button side-plots, but there's still more than enough to recommend about The Triangle -- particularly if you're a hardcore sci-fi fan who's just looking for a mini-series that's not lame across the board.(© Review reprinted from DVDTalk, with permission from the author (me) and the DVDT management. For the full DVD specs on this particular movie, please visit www.DVDTalk.com and get friendly with the search bar.)
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14280&reviewer=128
originally posted: 05/22/06 17:31:54