Sphere Review

by Tim Voon (stirling AT netlink DOT com DOT au)
April 3rd, 1998

    A film review by Timothy Voon
    Copyright 1998 Timothy Voon
    3 :-( :-( :-( for causing me to choke with disbelief
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Liev Schreiber, Peter Coyote
Director: Barry Levinson
Screenplay: Stephen Hauser and Paul Attanasio based on the novel by Michael Crichton

Don't you just hate the element of fake surprise, when actors get together to make a movie about UFOs. This is how much of the movie goes: "Oh My God, a UFO! (Not another one!) ... It's so big! (It's also very phallic)... It's been here 300 years? (Only?)... I thought you said this thing was made of titanium, well look I've just scratched it! (Watch that nail strengthener!) ... I can't see my reflection in the SPHERE! (Get a mirror!) ... I have to get inside it! (Why? It's a big, golden ball!).... Look at these pretty Jelly fish (They sting!) ... I see footprints and a bin labelled 'Trash'! (Environmentally correct) ... And now a flight log... Written in English! WOW! I bet it was made in America (Ya don't say!)... I like to read TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA
Why am I getting these nightmares? (You read too much.) Where did the giant squids come from? (Go figure?_ What is the problem here? (I think you are.)

This movie begins with a group of scientists investigating a UFO buried on the ocean floor. Like the awful EVENT HORIZON, weird and mysterious phenomena occur on the science base resulting in the deaths of team members trapped there by violent storms raging above them. This in ways is reminiscent of THE ABYSS, a movie far superior in quality and make. SPHERE unfortunately lacks the same intensity of suspense or tension generated by the aforementioned. However, it does come perilously close to being as ridiculous as EVENT HORIZON. Fortunately, it isn't as distasteful or make claims to having gone to hell and back, although the usual mumbo jumbo about Black Holes is used to give the viewer some lame excuse for the ship's presence.

There is nothing worse than a poor ending to a movie and this movie does not have a satisfactory conclusion. It leaves the audience annoyed at the need to suspense disbelief, in order to accept what this movie wants them to swallow. I almost choked when it was suggested that the solution to the nightmare was holding hands, counting to three and forgetting anything bad ever happened. God, if only it was so easy to forget, the world would be a better place! There is a place for reality and a place for fantasy, and only so much a person will believe just because you said so. Sorry Michael, but even the dinosaurs are easier to swallow than this big golden ball. Like the awful EVENT HORIZON this movie is best viewed in the vacuum of a black hole. As for the cast, Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson - all very unexciting.

Timothy Voon
e-mail: [email protected]
Movie Archives http://us.imdb.com/M/reviews_by?Tim+Voon
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