My stuff and your stuff: I write books, produce music, rant a bit, and in the meantime review things other people have done. With words.
Over 10 years old now, back in 2005 the concept of the TV ‘event’ was proven with mini-series such as this gem, The Triangle: an excellent sci-fi that, as all good sci-fi does, focuses on its characters and their reaction to the phenomenon they’re experiencing.
One of the most freaky unexplained phenomena of our planet, the Bermuda Triangle is real, at least to some extent. Boats and planes have gone missing there, no question, in significant numbers. So is it a temporal schism, an oceanic aberration or something to do with aliens?
In The Triangle, gruff Kiwi actor Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, etc.) plays a shipping magnate who invites four ‘experts’ to give him the definitive answer to the question: why the hell have my ships been disappearing? It’s apparently all about the lucre – he’s a wealthy man and wants to remain that way.
Those four experts are a gung-ho, rugged adventurer-cum-scientist (Michael E. Rodgers); an easy-on-the-eye oceanic expert (Catherine Bell); an almost washed up, emotionally fragile psychic (Bruce Davison); and Eric Stoltz’s cynical reporter. They’ve all got one thing in common – an interest in the Bermuda Triangle (and money).
Meanwhile, Lou Diamond Phillips plays Meeno, a Greenpeace volunteer in his spare time, who loses an entire crew at sea and watches a ship tear itself in half and sink. Once back ashore and out of hospital, he starts to rebuild his life but soon begins experiencing very odd familial ructions as all in one day he has two sons, then only one, then none, and finds his house up for sale.
Over the three parts, each 90 minutes, the four experts have their fair share of upset too as they come ever closer to finding out what’s going on and claiming the $5 million each they’ve been promised if they can.
Although there is a smattering of dodgy visual effects among the generally really convincing stuff, The Triangle is an excellent way to pass four-and-a-half hours. It’s a credit to the actors – all of them – that they keep you hooked on finding out what they have to find out, and it’s one of executive producer and co-writer Bryan Singer’s best. You’ll know his name from films like The Usual Suspects and the X-Men franchise, but he’s done a lot of TV too.
Dean Devlin (Independence Day, Stargate) knows his sci-fi more than most and again, is a master of his craft but perhaps it’s Rockne S. O’Bannon (The Twilight Zone, Farscape, etc.) who gave this story its real creepy meat. And it is creepy. There are jump scares, freaky interludes, man-in-the-mirror moments aplenty and a lot of perfectly pitched human drama, especially in the perilous ocean-bound scenes when the gang decide to head out into the eye of the storm.
So what’s the answer: what is the Bermuda Triangle? I’d say the conclusion to this fine piece of television is worth the wait because it’s a decent theory, as good as any other I’ve heard. And no, it’s not aliens.