Based on a novel by Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, Rising Sun, Congo) and directed by Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam, Rain Man, Sleepers, Wag the Dog), Sphere is one of those science fiction movies that influenced me. This was a huge movie at the time, starring Dustin, Sharon, Samuel and Peter Coyote who was still Oscar from Bitter Moon, at least for me. The story is your standard issue encounter with aliens gimmick, only this time they used the sea as the backdrop. A submarine, to be more precise. This created that cramped and very intense atmosphere that was further enhanced by a scientific approach to the whole thing. This is what blew me away, they were thinking logically and rationally and everything about the first half of the movie was just perfect. Far from those movies for general population with strong characters who are blasting alien ships to kingdom come. However, in the second part of the movie, pacing starts to wobble and some other problems start occurring. This cost Sphere its cult classic status. For example, Abyss from 1989 managed to pull through this and it features a relatively similar story, so check it out if you like this sort of stuff.

Sphere [1998] Movie Review Recommendation PosterAn alien ship has been discovered on the floor of the Pacific Ocean and team of scientist is soon enabled in order to make first contact. Their leader, Dr. Norman Goodman wrote the rules for the first human contact with aliens some time ago, never thinking that this might actually happen. Since the ship is deep under water, the team will need to board a submarine in order to reach it. Cramped spaces, very intelligent people and an alien presence will soon begin to take its toll on this mission. What will happen is up to you to find out.

Although the main story is quite derivative and if you’re a science fiction fan, you’ll probably figure out what movie is in question, I still think that Sphere features some really interesting concepts. Phenomenal cast and great visuals elevated it from a status of mediocrity to a decent science fiction flick. I think that Crichton concentrated more on a several gimmicks and technical details, disregarding the main story that’s supposed to be the real meat. Especially if you like exploring new ideas and concepts, you’re basically waiting for the damned thing to come, but when that happens, you’re left quite perplexed by its simplicity. Best thing to do is watch this movie without much expectations.

 

Director: Barry Levinson

Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, Liev Schreiber, Queen Latifah

Fun Facts: Many scenes, like Harry and Norman’s conversation about making up the ULF report and dealing with Ted, were completely improvised.

Rating:

IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120184/

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