|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 team's composition is determined by a government policy document written
during the Bush administration on how any contact with aliens should be handled.
The 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 (1993), its sequel, Jurassic Park: The Lost World (1997)
and Congo (1995)). 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 (1989), then turns into
Event Horizon (1997) and finally turns out to be Forbidden Planet (1956)
If you haven't 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 à la The Abyss (1989). Also, the movie's
ending is philosophically bleak when you think about it. It shows Crichton's low
opinion of humanity and, while it might be fashionable nowadays to hold such opinions,
it is a rather bleak outlook that doesn't really bring us anywhere...
Review by James O'Ehley from The
Sci-Fi Movie Page.