Sphere (1998) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Sphere is a pedestrian retelling of Solaris, lacking any of the poetry or tranquil beauty of the original or 2002 American remake. Instead we have a laborious Hollywood concoction featuring some of the best talent in the industry and the result is flat, unconvincing and undersized for its blockbuster aspirations. Sphere is an agonizingly talky picture in which charters speculate, analyze and then pontificate to no end. The 138 minute running-time is a chore for those that aren’t Crichton completists.

Deep on the ocean floor, U.S. officials have uncovered one of the greatest discoveries in the history of mankind. They’ve unearthed a massive spacecraft that dove into the mid-pacific over 300 years ago.

Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharon Stone and Liev Schreiber are all part of an elite team designated to travel into the craft and finding answers about the mysterious sphere. A ball-shaped entity with feelings and powers of manipulation. The scientists are soon battling each other as certain doom permeates around the underwater voyage to the farthest depths of the sea.

Uninspired production design, low-level special effects, and over-length sink this underwater horror/thriller after a promising opening act. Director Barry Levinson, taking his second Crichton adaptation, phones this one in. A tight hand was needed to bring this one home. As if the movie weren’t bad enough, the final scenes are so ineffectively written and staged that the movie fumbles all the way through.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson

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