Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sphere (1998)

Director: Barry Levinson

Writers: Michael Crichton, Kurt Wimmer, Stephen Hauser, Paul Attanasio

Composer: Elliot Goldenthal

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, Liev Schreiber, Queen Latifah, Marga Gomez, Huey Lewis, Bernard Hocke, James Pickens Jr., Michael Keys Hall, Ralph Tabakin

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A thousand feet beneath the sea, the blackest holes are in the mind...

Plot: 1000 feet below the ocean, navy divers discover an object half-a-mile long. A crack team of scientists are deployed to the site in Deepsea Habitats. What they find boggles the mind as they discover a perfect metal sphere. What is the secret behind the sphere? Will they survive the mysterious 'manifestations'? Who or what is creating these? They may never live to find out.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe, but on Blu-ray next time.

The first hour or so had me really captivated.  Thank you, brisk pacing and Barry Levinson.  I was totally on board and sucked in.  Then once the strange goings-on were well under way it started to drag a little but I was still digging it and hoping like mad that they don't fuck it up with a shit-tsumani of suck.  Well, the ending came and went and it didn't suck except for a little when the surviving members make that 'pact' and fix the situation.  I wonder how it was handled in the novel?  Goldenthal's score hit the right beats, helping to create a scary environment as did the cinematography, lighting, set design, et al.  There's some good tension building and some nice performances.  The story moves in such a way in the second half that will keep you guessing as to what the fuck is going on.  I still wasn't sure entirely and I thought that maybe I blinked too much and missed that one key piece of information.  But then it probably wasn't explained at all which can work in its favor.  The old Warner Bros. snapcase DVD has a non-anamorphic widescreen print (which otherwise looks good), a 14 minute special effects featurette, a commentary with Hoffman and Jackson (I'd like to hear that one someday), 3 TV spots and (WTF?) the theatrical trailer in anamorphic widescreen.  Again, WTF?  The trailer and not the movie?  Whatever. 

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