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The Triangle

1 rating: 4.0
A television show

Billionaire Eric Benirall just couldn't take the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle after his cargo boats vanish completely. He hires a crack-tram of investigators to search within the three-point abyss in the Caribbean, who he promises unlimited riches. … see full wiki

1 review about The Triangle

An Impressive Work from a Year Known for Sci-Fi TV

  • Jun 17, 2010

It wasn’t overly apparent at the time, but 2005 is quickly becoming a year known for its primetime science fiction television.  Don’t take my words for it- you could sit down and watch Lost, Surface, Invasion, Threshold, and The 4400 without having to endure a single rerun.  SyFy, back then the SciFi Channel, understood that the world at large was suddenly celebrating what was supposed to be their niche and came out swinging with a miniseries created by and starring some serious heavy hitters.

Enter The Triangle, a 255-minute picture that reads like a Hollywood blockbuster rather than a made-for-television miniseries.  Written by the powerhouse trifecta Bryan Singer (of the first two X-Men films, Superman Returns and the upcoming Battlestar Galactica film), Dean Devlin (Independence Day and Stargate), and living legend Rockne O'Bannon (Farscape and Alien Nation), the production crew was certainly taking no shorts.  The cast, it would turn out, would be no less qualified to deliver the goods.

The story centers on billionaire shipping magnate Eric Benirall (played perfectly by Jurassic Park’s Sam Neill) who has a record of losing ships in the Bermuda Triangle.  In addition to the resulting financial loss, he begins experiencing troubling hallucinations.  Having enough with the mystery, he assembles a motley group of “experts” to provide a reasonable explanation for the mysteries haunting the Bermuda Triangle for centuries.

This team consists of tabloid reporter Howard Thomas (Eric Stoltz) a skeptic who only takes the assignment to help make his alimony payments; engineer and overeducated Emily Patterson (played by JAG’s Catherine Bell); Stan Lathem (Bruce Davison) a struggling psychic; thrill seeker and Hugh Jackman wannabe Bruce Geller (Michael Rodgers); and finally Greenpeace commando Meeno Paloma (Lou Diamond Phillips) who returns from a disastrous trip through the triangle only to discover that reality is not how he remembers it.

So where does The Triangle succeed amidst a swarm of science fiction competition?  Surprisingly, in its pacing.  While a majority of the shows mentioned above were structured as ongoing dramas, The Triangle finds itself neither stretched out across twenty-two episodes nor compressed to fit into the 2-hour timeslot of a motion picture.  Instead, thanks to the miniseries format, it fits neatly between the two extremes with a runtime of roughly five-hours.  In other words, while movies often feel rushed and series tend to stretch out endlessly, The Triangle manages to capture the best of both worlds in its structure and this shows in viewing through brisk pacing and well-developed characters.

The 2-disc DVD set breaks the production down into the first two chapters of the series on the first disc and the final chapter on the second.  The second disc also includes a promotion spot originally aired on SyFy with interviews with the cast and crew and some light behind-the-scenes information.  It also contains several Lions Gate trailers ranging in genre from horror to dedicated science fiction.

The plot itself is pretty darn spot-on as well, with links and references that tie the Bermuda Triangle phenomena back to Christopher Columbus’s famous trip across the ocean-blue on up to the Naval experiments of the 1940s (including the infamous Philadelphia Experiment).

The story works off the canvas created by shows like X-Files and Outer Limits in that the day to day tribulations of the lead characters is used as the catalyst to establish a much larger mystery.  And while calling some of the inscrutabilities here spooky may be overdoing it, in truth the presentation of the phenomena requiring investigation is done surprisingly well.  Sometimes in sci-fi less is more, and in this case, the filmmakers wisely combine slick visuals with just enough intrigue to let the viewer’s imagination take hold to fill in the blanks.

The picture is nearly flawless, in my opinion anyway, throughout the first two sections but only drops the ball a bit in the third and final chapter.  The science is certainly plausible and the plot structure builds itself up into a nice appropriate fever pitch by the end, but the second half of the final segment is definitely the most “Hollywood” of the whole production.  Some of the concluding explanations could have been ironed out a bit better and the actual finale itself leaves viewers not entirely sure if the overall experience was satisfying through and through.  Perhaps the third part of the miniseries is the weakest simply because it is the only one of the segments that manages to hint toward the rush and tight scheduling that shooting on a television schedule implies.

In all, I found The Triangle to be an entirely enjoyable ride despite some slight shortcomings.  The talent that contributed to this miniseries is evident throughout and a testament to the fact that amazing things are possible, even on a television budget, when enthusiastic individuals bring their enthusiasm to the table.  And unlike many of the other hit science fiction television programs that saw the light of day in 2005, The Triangle ends conclusively; it’s tough to put a value on the closure one finds in following a show that wasn’t cancelled on an unresolved cliffhanger.

An Impressive Work from a Year Known for Sci-Fi TV

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July 04, 2010
EXCELLENT review I loved this film and think it is one of the best things SyFy has ever done, plus Lou Diamond Phillips is one of my favorite actors ever.
July 05, 2010
Thanks so much FMA, indeed SyFy's list of masterpieces is a short one! But I enjoyed every minute of this piece. Thanks again for the feedback my friend.
June 18, 2010
Sounds like an interesting film, but it's probably not going to be high up on my TBW list at the moment. I have way too many that have been sitting dormant as I play catch-up with reviews, lol. I hate watching films before finishing other reviews that I've started. :-P Anyway, great writing and break down!
June 19, 2010
Thanks Adrianna: Boy can I relate! Even the finest of pictures becomes tainted for me when I feel the tug of the reviews I should be doing! I've got a stack of DVDs sitting here that I would love to dive into but for the sake of burying myself on reviews to-do, they are going to have to just keep on sitting for a while. Thanks again for the feedback.
June 19, 2010
Always a pleasure! I enjoy reading your stuff, so it's a nice break from my own review writings and stress, lol. I think it's my fate in life to always be "behind" with reviews no matter if they are a film or book. I'm too slow. :-p
June 18, 2010
Please don't laugh--I saw this on Sci-fi and then bought it when it came out because of Catherine Bell LOL! As usual, your reviews are the real deal--they include everything a potential buyer needs to know...Jay, now as much as I love your sci-fi reviews, what is happening on the anime front? I have to run now--going out for drinks and dinner. Thanks, bro!
June 18, 2010
Thank you as always Mr. William. Catherine Bell is strangely hot isn't she? She's got that pouty mouth and sassy attitude. Were you a JAG fan perchance? I wasn't a regular but did enjoy it when I caught it on occasion. Oh as far as the anime, you are in the right on calling me out. I've been slacking. I go through phases of science fiction, anime, and of course super hero animation. I've been in sci-fi mode hardcore lately and I don't know why either. I'm doing Alien Nation as we speak. I promise I will return to our Japanese colorful bounty once I tire of alien cultures, hot chicks in tight clothes, and space ships zipping around. On second thought, maybe you shouldn't hold your breath! Thanks again bro. Have a great night.
June 19, 2010
@AerinBlue--LOL! that was Lake Bell from the series "Surface". @JRider, yes she is.. ;-)
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