STARRING: Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone Harry, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, Liev
1998, 132 Minutes, Directed
An unknown object is discovered at the bottom of the ocean where
it has been buried for the past 300 years or so.
A special team consisting of scientists
is sent to investigate since all indications are that it might be of extraterrestrial
origin. The teams composition is determined by a government policy document written
during the Bush (that is, Sr.) administration on how any contact with aliens should be handled.
author of the document (played by Dustin Hoffman) is on the team as well and later admits
that the report is bogus. After all, he needed the money and how does one write
a report on a topic like that? So he cribbed some ideas from science fiction
writers like Isaac Asimov and Rod Serling.
This more or less describes the plot behind Sphere (based on
the novel by Michael Crichton who also wrote Jurassic
Park, its sequel, The Lost World and Congo).
Sphere starts off intriguing though: it turns out that the object
lying at the bottom of the ocean is actually an American spaceship from
the year 2043. What is it doing there? How did it get there? Unfortunately
the answers supplied by Sphere to these questions are mundane
if you go to the movies a lot. Hint? Sphere starts off as The Abyss, then turns into Event Horizon
and finally turns out to be Forbidden Planet
and Solaris . . .
If you havent seen any of these movies, then Sphere
might offer you something new. But even then the action is slow and the
movie talky. It could have done with an adrenaline injection á la The Abyss.
Also, the movies ending is philosophically bleak when you think
about it. It shows Crichtons low opinion of humanity and, while
it might be fashionable nowadays to hold such opinions, it is a rather
bleak outlook that doesnt really bring us anywhere . . .