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From yet another derivative science fiction novel by Michael Crichton comes this equally derivative and flaccid movie, in which three top Hollywood stars struggle to squeeze tension and excitement out of material that doesn't match their talents. You're supposed to find awe and mystery in Crichton's story about a team of scientists and scholars who discover a 300-year-old alien spacecraft deep on the ocean floor, but mostly you feel that this is all much ado about nothing. The exploration team consists of a psychologist (Dustin Hoffman), mathematician (Samuel L. Jackson), biochemist (Sharon Stone), and an astrophysicist (Liev Schreiber), and when they enter the alien ship they discover a mysterious sphere inside. What they don't know is that the sphere has the power to manipulate their thoughts and perceptions, and before long the scientists' undersea habitat is a veritable haunted house of frightening visions and creeping paranoia. Who can be trusted? What is the sphere's purpose, and why is it on the ocean floor?Spheremakes some attempt to answer these questions, but the film is a mess, and it leads to one of the most anticlimactic endings of any science fiction film ever made. There are moments of high intensity and psychological suspense, and the stellar cast works hard to boost the talky screenplay. But it's clear that this was a hurried production (Hoffman and director Barry Levinson madeWag the Dogduring an extended production delay), and as a resultSpherelooks and feels like a film that wasn't quite ready for the cameras. Though it's by no means a waste of time, it's undeniably disappointing. The special edition DVD includes audio commentary by Hoffman and Jackson and a behind-the-scenes featurette,Shaping the Sphere: The Art of the Special Effects Supervisor,exploring the alien ship's design and creation by special effects technicians.--Jeff Shannon
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CastDustin Hoffman, Liev Schreiber, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, Sharon Stone
DirectorBarry Levinson
Genre:  Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Screen WriterKurt Wimmer, Michael Crichton, Paul Attanasio, Stephen Hauser
DVD Release Date:  July 14, 1998
Runtime:  134 minutes
Studio:  Warner Home Video
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review by . July 08, 2004
"Break Out The 5 Day Deodorant Pads-We're Here For The Duration!"   So says Capt. Harold Barnes (Peter Coyote) when things really start to take a turn for the worse and their underwater habitat is abandoned by base due to a typhoon on the surface in Barry Levinson's "Sphere".Four civilian doctors are recruited to assemble a so-called "dream team" to investigate a 300 year old alien spacecraft at the bottom of the ocean that encases a HUGE golden sphere inside.The team consists of: Dr. …
review by . June 18, 2001
I am giving an updated review on the dvd version of this film, so here it goes. The dvd, as far as quality, is great. I hate to be just another person that says the book was better...but it was. Sphere, the movie, is housed with wonderful talents...but what I may say now will probably shock you. Even though the book had more than enough dialogue for the characters...they didn't use it. In the audio commentary, Samuel L. Jackson says that they would make up the dialogue right before shooting, sometimes …
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