The Bermuda Triangle has been an enduring source of fascination for sci-fi junkies, though dramatic voyages through the mysterious region have seen plots and logic go AWOL not long after the spooky opening. That, too, is pretty much the fate of this splashy Sci-Fi Channel entry, whose intriguing first night gradually steers off course in the second and third installments.
The Bermuda Triangle has been an enduring source of fascination for sci-fi junkies, though dramatic voyages through the mysterious region have seen plots and logic go AWOL not long after the spooky opening. That, too, is pretty much the fate of this splashy Sci-Fi Channel entry, whose intriguing first night gradually steers off course in the second and third installments. Nevertheless, a solid cast and marquee auspices make this effects-heavy exercise watchable enough even when “The Triangle” grows obtuse, meaning it should sail away with more-than-respectable ratings.Produced by Bryan Singer and Dean Devlin (who share story credit with sci-fi vet Rockne S. O’Bannon), project represents another one of those “Twilight Zone”-lite confections, where the payoff is less about reaching its destination than the trip getting there. If nothing else, three-night mini also offers a reminder that it’s usually easier when “What’s out there under the waves?” stories are wrapped up in a tidy package, as opposed to this fall’s episodic concepts “Invasion” and “Surface.” Best sequence actually comes at the outset, as Columbus and his crew encounter a modern ocean liner, which is quickly followed by a present-day incident that leaves everyone but a Greenpeace captain, Meeno (Lou Diamond Phillips), in Davy Jones’ locker. Meeno’s awkward adjustment to life following his ordeal runs parallel with the central plot, with a billionaire dubbed “the anti-Trump” (Sam Neill) retaining a not-quite-fantastic foursome to investigate why ships keep disappearing in the notorious Triangle. The mismatched group includes a tabloid reporter (Eric Stoltz), a psychic (Bruce Davison), an oil-rig engineer (Catherine Bell) and a thrill-seeking meteorology prof (Michael Rodgers). So far, so good, and director Craig R. Baxley does a nice job unfolding spooky doings that the reporter rightly calls some “very strange crap.” This includes various time anomalies, fostering fervent speculation about whether the strange phenomena are man-made or mystical, the work of government black ops or the head-scratching stuff of wormholes and alternate realities. For the central characters, that means not only witnessing unusual events — the best being a little girl who returns from a Triangle-interrupted flight as an old woman — but experiencing personal disruptions, with missing or previously non-existent relatives appearing and disappearing, adding a human component to the wind-and-light show. As with most fare involving cosmic burps in the time-space continuum, it’s best not to dwell too intently on the silliness that transpires. Similarly, the eventual explanation (such as it is) remains both a trifle confounding and disappointing. Fortunately, the cast proves good company and brings welcome gravity to the proceedings, from Stoltz as the skeptical journalist estranged from his family to Davison as the medium whose find-the-missing-kid act has seen better days. Sci Fi and sister net USA (“The 4400″) have made their mark with this kind of big-ticket fare, catering to a core audience that enjoys a good thrill ride. Not a bad plan for a basic cabler, even if all “The Triangle’s” sides never quite come together.