The latest in a growing line of slick miniseries produced by the Sci-Fi Channel, Dean Devlin and Bryan Singer's The Triangle draws from a number of standard sci-fi story elements in an effort to provide an original take on a tired enigma. While the miniseries concerns itself with a mystery long celebrated as unsolvable, The Triangle keeps itself from descending into maddening vagueness by demanding concrete answers from both its characters and its story. That's not to say this story is not enigmatic, but this is a brain-teasing puzzle with a surprising solution. Writer Rockne S. O'Bannon should be commended. The Bermuda Triangle here is more intriguing than it has ever been, kept entertaining by the slow revealing of the shadowy sources of its power. The threat escalates as the film progresses and scientific theories--ranging from wormholes to alternate realities to exotic matter--are blended into an engaging, reality-threatening cataclysm of apocalyptic proportion. At the outset, single ships are threatened but by the time of the paradoxical climax, the globe hangs in the balance. The inevitable time-travel is elegantly handled amidst all of this and the endgame is both intelligent and stunning.
The acting here is above average, too, and each of the leads elevates not only their character's role but the film's believability as well. Eric Stoltz, Bruce Davison, Catherine Bell, and Michael E. Rodgers are excellent as a team of unique experts in unusual fields of study. Keeping the story emotionally grounded is Lou Diamond Phillips, whose individualized subplot allows us to experience the film's reality-altering oddness through the eyes of an everyman. The miniseries is beautifully produced, nicely photographed, and the considerable visual effects are always impressive. More importantly, those effects are used primarily to service the story's intricacies, not as a means of distracting from plot holes. In fact, The Triangle's most serious flaws are those extended scenes echoing science fiction clichï¿½s for suspense or drama, chunks of the narrative that will seem all-too familiar--and perhaps, as a result, all-too dull--for fans of the genre. Conspiracy plotlines wear thin too quickly, the quirks of Davison's psychic irritate as they escalate, and Sam Neill's obsessed magnate is instantly forgettable. At those moments when the film is successful, however, it plays off of our curiosity and becomes quite gripping. Viewers have set-out on this sort of strange sea voyage before, but Devlin and Singer manage to make it smart and sexy. The Triangle does make something old new again; the three-part miniseries takes a host of familiar pseudo-scientific theories and science fiction themes and finds a way to recombine them into something that feels, for the most part, fresh.
--Brian A. Dixon