HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Night, The
Show Goes On, The
Furnace, The
Tyrel
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
   
 
  Sphere You Shall Go To The Ball
Year: 1998
Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, Liev Schreiber, Queen Latifah, Marga Gómez, Huey Lewis, Bernard Hocke, James Pickens Jr
Genre: Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Doctor Norman Goodman (Dustin Hoffman) is a psychologist with special experience in dealing with disaster survivors, specifically those of plane crashes, and he has been helicoptered out to this ocean location to see to another group of survivors. Or that's what he believes, for once he arrives everyone is curiously reluctant to bring him to see any of them, and he rightly suspects they don't exist, confirmed when he is taken into a room below decks and briefed by Captain Barnes (Peter Coyote). However, what he is told strains his credulousness to the limit: he has been called to bring his learning to bear not on something from this planet, but whatever is inside a spacecraft on the seabed...

Despite the failure of James Cameron's 1989 sci-fi bomb The Abyss, there were quite a number of imitators, but Sphere had to be one of the furthest after the fact, and most foolhardy given that more or less all of those in that bracket had been financial and/or critical disasters. Which was precisely what happened here, after a shoot that neglected to sort out various gaps in the script, it was rushed into release off the back of the hit nineteen-nineties movies based on Michael Crichton books, yet some were wont to point out it appeared to be trying to cash in on the success of sleeper horror hit Event Horizon from the previous summer, which had more or less the same plot, albeit Crichton was first.

Event Horizon was set in space, and Sphere was set under the ocean, and the former was a PG-13 suitable for families while Event Horizon was purposefully violent and gory and had to be cut to attain an R certificate, but they were both sci-fi slasher flicks at heart, with an array of inventive deaths (and near-deaths) for their characters to suffer, it's simply that Sphere was less bloodthirsty. It did feature the bizarre sight of rapper Queen Latifah in a diving suit being attacked by killer jellyfish, so had that novelty in its arsenal, but even when the explanation for all this death and destruction was found, it was so vague and handwaving that pinning it down would only lead to frustration.

That's because they had not pinned it down in the screenplay, adapted by once-promising director Kurt Wimmer but penned by other hands, and though it wasn't a million miles away from what happened in the 1987 novel, it didn't take a keen literary mind to ascertain this didn't feature one of Crichton's killer concepts. Or rather it did, but only in the sense that he killed off most of his characters, which the film was less keen on doing, at least not explicitly, so the nastiness was on a level most kids in double figures could take, unlike Event Horizon. You may, while watching Sphere, wish they had been more enthusiastic about the scares, but instead it turned its focus on the inner lives of the experts the titular sphere was examining, as was the case with too many science fiction conceits of this decade.

It wouldn't be a proper sci-fi movie of the nineties if the characters had not grown as people by the end of it, as if the talents involved had taken the presence of psychologist Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation to heart and believed that every encounter with an alien presence, be it a huge asteroid heading Earthward or a message from deepest space, was only worth its salt if it had been a learning experience. This was a bit rich in a movie that consciously ripped off the giant squid sequence from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, only refused to splash the cash on the monster itself, as if the human mind was the greatest presence to overcome, no matter that the sphere was turning those minds to its own mysterious and murderous ends. There was a fairly starry cast here, none of whom were too bad, considering, Sharon Stone working up urgency and Samuel L. Jackson concealing something behind a patina of reason, but while enigmatic was all very well, there was a difference between that and unfinished to our (or their) satisfaction. Music by Elliot Goldenthal.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1024 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: