February, 1998: Sphere

Like many book-to-movie adaptations, Sphere suffers from a severe lack of respect for the source material and an oversimplification of its content. Because many important nuances and plot points were omitted, the film is only a fraction of what it could have been.

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The movie begins when Dr. Norman Goodman (Dustin Hoffman), a respected psychologist, is selected to assist a group of plane wreck victims with their trauma — or so he thinks. Upon his arrival, he is informed that he was called upon to help a group of scientists board an alien spacecraft found 1,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. This is due to the fact that he wrote a paper for the Bush administration about how humans should react to meeting aliens. In his paper, he names three other scientists that could be helpful: Harry Adams (Samuel L. Jackson), Elizabeth Halperin (Sharon Stone), and Ted Fielding (Liev Schreiber). The only trouble is that he made up the paper itself to make rent.

When the scientists finally board the alien vessel, they become aware that future humans have already interacted with the ship; they also locate the eponymous sphere. Harry ventures inside and all hell breaks loose. From jelly fish attacks, to a giant squid ravaging their ship, the crew attempts to survive the wrath of an alien life form named Jerry, that lives inside the minds of the group themselves, it’s clear that the sphere is responsible.

Despite some solid performances from the main ensemble of Hoffman, Jackson, Stone, and Schreiber, the script and the overall cheap look of the ocean’s floor prove too much weight to overcome. If a movie is two and a half hours long, you hope that a majority is progressive and interesting. Unfortunately, with Sphere, you get backtracking and expository scenes that, sometimes, merely explain how a simple item works– ie: a two or three minute sequence about why the crew needs a necklace that will prevent their voices from being distorted.

Sphere feels long and, even then, it is missing some interesting content from the source material.

Matt: Don't watch
Gabe: Watch once if you like bad sci-fi

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