Sphere

Barry Levinson's overlong and embarrassingly pretentious adaptation of Michael Crichton's bestseller is one dull lump of pseudo-psychological sci-fi claptrap. A thousand feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean lies the enormous hulk of a mysterious spacecraft. A crack team of experts -- a biologist (Sharon Stone), a mathematician (Samuel L. Jackson),...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Barry Levinson's overlong and embarrassingly pretentious adaptation of Michael Crichton's bestseller is one dull lump of pseudo-psychological sci-fi claptrap. A thousand feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean lies the enormous hulk of a mysterious spacecraft. A

crack team of experts -- a biologist (Sharon Stone), a mathematician (Samuel L. Jackson), an astrophysicist (Liev Schreiber) and, just in case there's alien contact, a psychologist (Dustin Hoffman) -- is sent to investigate. Onboard is a special artifact from deep space: a huge, shimmering gold

sphere. Once the crew members come in contact with the giant space ball, they begin to experience strange phenomena: Docile jellyfish attack; the mathematician takes long naps; the sphere starts sending e-mail, informing the frazzled crew that its name is Jerry. Is it the work of an insidious

alien life force, or just manifestations of the crew's subconscious neuroses? Crichton writes the kind of stuff Hollywood adores -- disposable prose with special-effects friendly premises (CONGO, JURASSIC PARK). But this premise is shopworn -- it's the second Hollywood film in a year to

shamelessly rip off Andrei Tarkovsky's SOLARIS (EVENT HORIZON was the first) -- and the writers only make things worse by pumping it full of tedious psychologizing. Levinson is completely at sea when it comes to directing action and suspense, and the whole thing winds up a silly amalgam of Jules

Verne, Lewis Carroll and Sigmund Freud. The game cast does what it can -- it's a good thing Schreiber is naturally funny -- but the situation is hopeless. This is one wreck better left unexplored.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Barry Levinson's overlong and embarrassingly pretentious adaptation of Michael Crichton's bestseller is one dull lump of pseudo-psychological sci-fi claptrap. A thousand feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean lies the enormous hulk of a mysterious spa… (more)

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