Nowadays, many movie studios feel that this is the equation for success: good actors + special effects - good plot = $$$! Impressive packaging and advertising can get people to a movie. However, it can't make up for a lack of substance. Barry Levinson's new movie, "Sphere," is a prime example. It features Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, and Samuel L. Jackson as a psychologist, biologist and mathematician, respectively. Based on a novel by Michael Crichton, I'm appalled by what he, as co-producer, let Levinson create.
The movie begins with the three stars descending to the ocean depths
to explore a mysterious vessel. They discover that the ship is American, and from our future, having traveled back in time. But it's not alone. The crew was murdered, killed by a sphere inside (constructed by laughable special effects).
The plot goes downhill from here. Predictably, the crew loses contact from the surface, while distrust and danger plague them. Silly dangers including unseen squids, hostile sea snakes, and attacking jellyfish make
a joke out of supposed real peril. The characters seem unemotional
and detached throughout their predicaments, making the plot even more unbelievable.
The rest of the story moves slowly, and unless you've read the book, you'll be terribly confused with many of the explanations and subplots. Yet, if you have read the book, you'll be extremely disappointed at what the movie is lacking.
"Sphere," in general, is terrible, confusing and just uninteresting. The audience literally laughed as they got up to leave the theater. Therefore, I give Barry Levinson's "Sphere" a C, if you've read the book: D+ .
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.