Sphere

"Weak"

Sphere Review


Sphere is one of those movies I hate to review more than I hate to watch. On one hand, you have the numerous good aspects of the film (top notch cast, etc.). On the other hand, you have a plot that can't be passed off in the world of celluloid.

Based on the novel by Michael Crichton, Sphere concerns a team called the ULF team (Unknown Life Form). These people, hand picked by Norman Johnson (Dustin Hoffman) during the cold war, are a team designed to make contact with alien life. On it are a mathmatician (Samuel L. Jackson), an astrophysicist (Liev Schrieber), a biologist (Sharon Stone), and a shrink who didn't take the whole thing seriously and picked people to be at each other's throats (Dustin Hoffman).

All of these people are sent one thousand feet under the surface of the ocean, where they begin getting on each others nerves.

What's worse, when they discover a sphere of unknown origin in a spaceship that turns out to be an American spacecraft from the future, strange things start happening. Killer jellyfish... giant squid.... extra copies of "20,000 Leagues under the Sea", oh my!

To make a long story short, they start being killed off one by one until there's pretty much no one left, at which point the story takes a turn for the worse. The movie becomes a mind exercise, which I didn't care about but most people do.

The fact about Sphere is that it is too true to the book. It has reached that point when the book has outlasted its usefulness in the adaptation, if only because the book was a favorite among geeks like me who could grasp the ideas set forth in it and not the average moron.

The really disappointing thing about the straight adaptation of the book is that the characters in the book (and, by extension, the movie), are as flat and contrived as science fiction characters usually are. They are completely predictable, rarely fun to watch, and never engaging. The performances are fine considering, but the script inhibits four great actors into roles they can do nothing with.

A lesson can be learned by Sphere: don't make sci-fi mass market. Any movie that, half an hour in, is using deductive logic as a way to make suspense will not make most people in college or high school frightened. Nor will all of those shots at everyone reacting ultra-slowly to any given situation make them seem like evil characters. In short, Norman Johnson never can become Norman Bates.

Abyss fans will be pleased by the two film's similarities, but please don't even bother calling it a rip off. "Sphere" was written long before Abyss came out, and thus, if anything, Abyss was a rip of the book "Sphere", not visa-versa.

However, Sphere the movie is a stylistic rip off of Abyss, using eerie orchestrals and slow camera pans in order to tell the audience to be scared. It takes every trick in the book of undersea filmmaking to try to make Sphere interesting to the mainstream.

The fact remains that this is the modern world and sci-fi happens to be out. Sure, The Matrix was a home run hit, but Sphere isn't that kind of sci-fi. It's sci-fi the way sci-fi used to be done... niche market.



Sphere

Facts and Figures

Run time: 134 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th February 1998

Budget: $75M

Distributed by: Warner Home Video

Production compaines: Baltimore Pictures, Warner Bros., Punch Productions, Constant c Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 12%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 44

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Dr. Norman Goodman, as Dr. Elizabeth 'Beth' Halperin, Samuel L. Jackson as Dr. Harry Adams, as Captain Harold C. Barnes, as Dr. Ted Fielding, as Alice 'Teeny' Fletcher

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

This closing chapter of the First Class trilogy falls into the same trap as The...

Sing Street Movie Review

Sing Street Movie Review

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical...

Departure Movie Review

Departure Movie Review

Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience,...

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Richard Linklater loosely follows on from two of his most acclaimed films with this lively...

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal...

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

There's nothing particularly memorable about this frantic animated romp, which adapts the iconic phone-app game...

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

While it's amusing and sometimes very funny, there's an air of desperation about this sequel...

Advertisement
Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Although this comedy-drama seems to have been written specifically to give Meryl Streep a chance...

I Saw the Light Movie Review

I Saw the Light Movie Review

Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams,...

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.