|The Triangle (2005)
Starring: Eric Stoltz, Catherine Bell, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bruce Davison, Michael Rodgers, John Sloan, Charles Martin Smith and Sam Neill
Director: Craig R. Baxley
The Bermuda Triangle is a myth, right…? Sure, it is. Every intelligent bone in your body tells you that there can’t be any such thing as a triangle-shaped area of the Atlantic Ocean that swallows planes and ships without leaving a trace. And, yet, ever since 1977, when the Leonard Nimoy hosted show, “In Search Of,” dedicated an episode to exploring the Triangle and its mysteries, it’s really creeped me out…and I don’t think I’m the only one. As such, the Sci-Fi Network’s mini-series, “The Triangle,” really hits the spot…and that spot is a little area of the brain called the Mulder Region, which keeps sending signals that reminds you how much you want to believe.
While there aren’t really any superstars in the cast of “The Triangle” – the closest you get is Sam Neill – there’s a lot of firepower in the background; it’s a collaborative effort between Bryan Singer, who directed the first two “X-Men” movies, “The Usual Suspects,” and “Superman Returns,” and Dean Devlin, who wrote and produced “Stargate” and “Independence Day.” The pair of them came up with the story along with Rockne S. O’Bannon – creator of “Farscape” – and it’s obvious that the trio clearly did their research on the various goings-on in that part of the Atlantic over the years, since the film opens with none other than Christopher Columbus experiencing issues in the area. (Columbus’s journals indicated that, while passing through the area, he saw strange lights and that his compass went haywire.) The director of the proceedings is Craig R. Baxley, who’s decidedly familiar with sprawling mini-series, having helmed all three of Stephen King’s made-for-TV creations (“Storm of the Century,” “Rose Red,” and “Kingdom Hospital”)…but it should never be forgotten that he also held the reigns for three so-cheesy-they’re-brilliant flicks from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s: “Action Jackson,” “Stone Cold” (with Brian Bosworth), and “I Come In Peace,” which is surely the best flick ever to pit Dolph Lundgren against an alien menace…or, at least, one of them.
The premise of “The Triangle” involves a team of specialists – a journalist (Eric Stoltz), a psychic (Bruce Davison), a professor (Michael Rodgers), and a deep-ocean resource engineer (Catherine Bell) – who are brought together by shipping tycoon Eric Benirall (played by Sam Neill). Benirall has lost several ships in the Bermuda Triangle, and, in the most recent incident, retrieved the ship but found all of his crew not only dead but virtually turned inside-out; he offers his team five million dollars each if they can solve the mystery of the Triangle. Simultaneous to this, we get to watch poor Meeno Paloma (Lou Diamond Phillips) find that things about his life have changed considerably as a result of his experiences as the only survivor of a Greenpeace expedition into the Triangle.
The special effects here are decidedly better than average for a television production, and, while there are certainly plot holes here and there, it’s easy enough for all those responsible to shrug their shoulders and say, “Hey, it’s the Bermuda Triangle, you’re always gonna have some mysteries.” The acting is strong throughout, with the requisite scenery-chewing from Davison when he’s in full-on psychic mode, and Charles Martin Smith, from “American Graffiti” and “The Untouchables,” has a very funny, if all too brief, turn as an alcoholic, slightly-shifty submarine captain. (“I was just through here a couple of weeks ago with some Columbians…um, I mean, some Columbian tourists…”) The only significant flaw with “The Triangle” is that, at 255 minutes, it’s overlong; while the time is spent fleshing out each of the main characters – the members of the team, as well as Meeno – and making them into more than just the usual action-flick caricatures, there’s still the sense that, over the course of the three segments, surely an hour’s worth of material could’ve been shaved off. As far as the special features on this DVD, they’re limited to the self-promoting “Sci-Fi Inside” special that aired on the network to promote the miniseries.
Ultimately, even with its faults, “The Triangle” is a success. If you enjoy a good sci-fi yarn that takes a premise grounded in reality and travels across the space-time continuum before reaching its conclusion, it’s worth picking up.