Sphere (VHS, 1998)

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Full Fathoms Fear, We Die with a Sphere

Jun 7, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great story,followed the book it was based on,good acting,lots of tension and action,etc.

Cons:None.

The Bottom Line: Riveting, edge of the seat, action packed and unpredictable, Sphere presents an original concept wrapped in an expert production.


Deep beneath the ocean, a secret awaits discovery. A three hundred year old spaceship has been lodged in the shifting sand of the ocean floor, hidden by the murky depths of the ocean as generations have come and gone in the world above. For many long years, its sterile passageways have remained abandoned, its occupants dead, its shocking secrets safely hidden from the prying eyes of the world above, until now. US officials have discovered the spaceship and in an attempt to understand its myriad mysteries have sent a team of scientists and their group psychiatrist to live 1,000 feet beneath the ocean in a specially designed habitat to explore the spaceship and report back their discoveries. But, when things start to go wrong and the army can no longer protect their own, the scientists are stranded as the deadly secret within the spaceship is revealed in all its haunting glory. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Sphere, an alien creation that could mean the destruction of the world. Now it’s a struggle against the merciless progression of time, the terrors of the mind, and the certainty of a grueling death. Get ready to die.


Based on Michael Crichton’s psychological thriller of the same name, Sphere expertly emulates Crichton’s atmosphere of tension and deep sea paranoia. The plot of the movie follows the book exactly, presenting the same characters, the same situations, the same order and events of death, and the same conclusion. Unlike most films that are based on a novel, Sphere is a pleasant surprise, presenting Michael Crichton fans everywhere with an expert rendition of a brilliant idea. Indeed, the film presents more empathetic, realistic characters than the novel making the movie even better than the novel it was based on.

However, non-fans need not fear. Sphere does not require the viewer to have any previous knowledge of the novel because the movie is, in and of itself, an edge of the seat, roller coaster ride of action and adventure. From the first scene onward, the film captures the viewers’ imaginations, leading them far beneath the ocean where ancient secrets hide beneath the shifting sands and the teaming schools of unfamiliar creatures. The plot slowly unravels creating a complex and ultimately riveting storyline that leads the viewer into the deep recesses of the mind, searching for an answer that could never parallel the full horror of the Sphere and its mystical talents. Who will live and who will die and, in the very end, what can be done about the ever destructive Sphere? Where does the Sphere originate from? What is it really and how do its mysterious powers operate? As the conclusion relentless charges forward, presenting scenes fraught with adrenaline and fear, the answers are revealed in all their stunning glory creating a truly original cinematic experience that cannot be paralleled in the realms of science fiction and techno thrillers. Without a doubt, Sphere is one of Crichton’s most dazzling performances and one of the most original concepts to hit the big screen since Crichton’s much acclaimed Jurassic Park.

Brimming full with intrigue and horror, Crichton expertly blends several genres namely science fiction, action, horror, thriller, and mystery. To accomplish the complex aura that each of the genre’s demand, the scene must be perfectly set, the claustrophobia must be felt, the terror and the power of the majestic ocean must wash over the viewer and the constant sterile hum of technology must be the backdrop for it all. Through limited, but seamless special effects, ingenious filming, and expert storytelling, the scientist’s high tech, albeit small, habitat is created and we join them for their daily rituals, getting to know their surroundings and silently watching them be destroyed as the mesmerizing metallic Sphere takes over. Likewise, the spaceship is outfitted to look cavernous and the Sphere appears just as majestic and bizarre as in the novel. The long empty halls, the dead silence of the gigantic craft and its one piece of cargo combine together to make the perfect paradox --- the never-ending space of the spaceship combined with the drizzling claustrophobic atmosphere of the scientists’ home away from home increases the all’s-not-right-with-the-world aura. But wait, it gets better! The blackest recesses of the ocean, the strange manifestations of gigantic squid and poisonous jellyfish, the endless menagerie of the weird and the bizarre that suddenly start parading before the portholes of the scientists’ home draws on the palpable paranoia that is ever present throughout the film, increasing as the Sphere spirals out of control.

But what of the characters: the strong, feministic Beth (Sharon Stone), who despite mental imbalances and a love gone wrong in the past is attempting to get on with her life, the cynical group psychiatrist (Dustin Hoffman) whose emotionless prattle belies a spirit of fear, and Jerry (Samuel L. Jackson) who just might know a few secrets that he is not telling all combine to bring the human element into the film and in doing so, outshine the sterile characterization of the novel. Due to the actors’ talents and their ability to truly become their characters, each character is believable and empathetic bringing their emotions of fear, hatred, and love alive drawing the viewer further into the drama. Together they combine to bring the best and the worst of humanity onto the big screen, creating a wide-scope drama that encompasses the imagination of fiction and the stinging realism of the human element vibrantly alive.

The special edition DVD includes some bonus material including the following (quoted directly from the back of the DVD cover):

Behind-the-scenes “Making Of” documentary shaping the Sphere: The Art of the Visual Effects Supervisor

Audio commentary by Dustin Hoffman and Samuel L. Jackson

Interactive Menus

Production Notes

Theatrical Trailer

3 TV Spots

Scene Access


Yeah, that’s right, this DVD includes a whole bunch of nothing but the movie itself is still utterly spectacular.

Conclusion:

Riveting, edge of the seat, action packed and unpredictable, Sphere presents an original concept wrapped in an expert production. Audiences of all ages will be instantly sucked into the drama, following the characters through the depths of the ocean to the center of the Sphere to discover a mystery hundreds of years in the making. Not to be missed Sphere is one Crichton’s most outstanding productions. Unequivocally recommended.

Countess_Eva

THIS IS MY 200TH REVIEW ON EPINIONS!!!


Recommend this product? Yes

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