- Summary -
Director : Barry Levinson
Year Of Release : 1998
Principal Cast : Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L Jackson, Peter Coyote, Liev Schreiber, Queen Latifah, Marga Gomez, Huey Lewis, James Pickens Jr, Bernard Hocke.
Approx Running Time : 129 Minutes
Synopsis: After a mysterious underwater spacecraft is discovered, a team of experts are sent down beneath the waves to find out what it is doing there.
What we think : What begins as a fairly standard mystery-thriller soon turns into a batshit crazy film that sidesteps reason and logic and enters realms of insanity. Barry Levinson channels several of James Cameron’s films at once, dilutes them all and cobbles together a barely coherent story of hallucination and subterfuge, as well as undersea terror, that makes as much sense as Kim Kardashian’s career path. Sphere is clumsy, wasteful and – in the end – pointless. Steer clear of Sphere.
Bamboozled by Sphere’s fear.
Two aging Hollywood stars, plus Samuel L Jackson in full blown “weirdo” mode, and a pastiche of James Cameron’s Abyss and Aliens, as well as Ridley Scott’s original Alien, and Sphere is as close to a mess as cinema gets. Plagued by production delays and budget cuts, the film shows all the signs of either a rushed shoot and/or edit, or just a simple lack of concern by a studio willing to recoup whatever losses it had on the project. I had the opportunity to witness this film in cinemas back in 1998, and revisiting the DVD some years later, I’m hard pushed to really re-evaluate my opinion of it in any way raising the score. Sphere isn’t a classic sci-fi opus, not by any stretch, but while it might fail to elicit many thrills or even many coherent ideas, what few story hooks the film does have do bear examining, if only to see where Levinson’s underwater turkey went so horribly wrong.