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Sphere (1998) > Wiki


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.--Jeff Shannon
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CastDustin Hoffman, Liev Schreiber, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, Sharon Stone
DirectorBarry Levinson
Screen WriterKurt Wimmer, Michael Crichton, Paul Attanasio, Stephen Hauser
Runtime:  134 minutes
Studio:  Warner Home Video
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review by . February 16, 1999
posted in Movie Hype
Crichton is a masterful story writer, and has rubbed a dab of his style off on me. The movie sphere is not completely terrible, but not amazing. I guess that Hollywood believes if you throw in enough cursing it will make any movie good. But I think, as some of the other viewers do, that they should have stuck more to the book. It is a terrific story that I have read enjoyably several times. But the makers should have spent more time on the film! If the basic plot would have been as inspiring as …
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