Directed by Barry Levinson
Running Time: 2:14

I'm not totally sure what to make of Sphere.  It was part sci-fi adventure, part psychological thriller.  Dustin Hoffman as Norman, Sharon Stone as Beth, and Samuel L. Jackson as Harry, lead the all-star film (directed by Levinson, based on the novel by Michael Crichton).  Norman, Beth, Harry and Ted are all called to somewhere in the Pacific, for a reason no one tells them.  It turns out the navy has found a spaceship buried in the ocean, and it seems as if something is alive inside.  So, based on a paper Norman wrote for the Bush administration, this military type group that no one knows about calls together these four people (a marine biologist, a mathematician, an astro-physicist, and a psychologist) to try and make contact.  What they find inside, including the titular Sphere, leaves them wondering what they got themselves into, and how they're going to get out of it.  Now, I don't want to ruin the story by telling you what was inside the ship, and all the other stuff, I'll leave that for you to find out.  But I can tell you what I thought of the movie.

It seemed like it didn't know what it wanted to be.  Was it a sci-fi adventure?  It took place under water, there were aliens involved, there was certainly some action, and some scary moments, so maybe it was a sci-fi adventure.  But then again, were there really aliens?  The last half of the film seemed more like they were trying to make you afraid of what you didn't see, trying to get into your mind and play around a little bit.  So maybe it was a psychological thriller.  I still haven't figured it out.  The first half I thought it would be more like Aliens.  A bunch of people caught inside (or around) an alien life form, battling to save the universe from destruction.  I know that's been done before, but this one seemed to have a more psychological edge to it.  It would be the action you've seen before, but combined with the psychological side you haven't.  But the second half left the action behind, and it became a very slow film.  I checked my watch 3 or 4 times, something I very rarely do.  The movie seemed way too long, I thought they could have cut out a lot in the middle, instead of trying to pound your head with all the mind games.  And I also managed to figure out the big secret they were trying to hide until the big climax.  I don't know if it's because I've seen too many movies in my life, or if it's because it was so damn obvious.  And the other thing I noticed in while in movies like Titanic, or Braveheart, the music was an addition to the film, something that supplemented the images on screen, the music in Sphere took over the film, and overpowered the action at times.

So overall, if you're in the mood for mind games, and some action, I'd go see Sphere, but just don't go in thinking that a movie with Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, and directed by Barry Levinson means that it's going to win awards, because its not.

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