Sphere | Chicago Reader

Sphere

A lumbering SF thriller built around the perennial theme of the Return of the Repressed (cf Forbidden Planet and Solaris, among others); appropriately enough, the film itself regresses, starting in the present and winding up with a cautionary ending that evokes the hokiest SF movies of the 50s. In between, the star power of Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, and Samuel L. Jackson carries one past some of the confused and confusing storytelling—the plot has something to do with finding an alien vessel a thousand feet down in the middle of the Pacific—but the lazy script and sprawling direction ultimately defeat everyone and everything. There are shocks and thrills along the way, but not many. Adapted from a Michael Crichton novel by Kurt Wimmer, Stephen Hauser, and Paul Attanasio, and directed by Barry Levinson (with a mid-film break to shoot Wag the Dog); with Peter Coyote and Liev Schreiber.

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