The wanted criminal Riddick arrives on a planet called Helion Prime, and finds himself up against an invading empire called the Necromongers, an army that plans to convert or kill all humans in the universe.
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. Written by
Michael Hofer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dustin Hoffman expressed some disappointment with the film. He felt it wasn't yet ready to be released when it was. There were many more issues that needed to be addressed, but they didn't have the time to cover them all. They had to deliver what they had, for the release date, which he felt was an incomplete film. See more »
Ted mentions Pope Benedict and the artist Giotto. The real Pope that tested Giotto was Pope Boniface VIII. See more »
Great potential falls flatter and flatter as it goes...
The Sphere (1998)
Barry Levinson is one of those directors who has no interest in art, or in invention, or in pretension, either. And so his films sometimes hit a popular strain that makes them take off. He has some terrible misfires, for sure, but his best films ("Rain Man," "Sleepers") have people who you relate to, and who have to confront something extraordinary.
That was the idea here, based on a Michael Crichton novel (that should have been a heads up). The cast is headliner stuff. Dustin Hoffman is particularly convincing, Samuel Jackson plays a great type, and Liev Schreiber is sharp. Sharon Stone is a dull fourth. They bond, and realize they have things in common, in the first minutes of the film as they converge and go under water to check out an alien spaceship. Even after they are deep below the surface and beginning their unlikely exploration they make a viewer connect. As much as it borrows from "Alien" and "Aliens" this could have been a good film on its own terms. Even the talking computer/alien has its own edge compared to HAL.
What goes wrong is the plot itself, and not acting, or even directing, can overcome that. As it gets hairier, we need it to be more plausible, not less. Events get increasingly chaotic, so that action and loud noise drive some of the scenes. Subplots are continued but seem increasingly meaningless (at one point, Hoffman and Stone are rushing into the water in an absolute emergency and they start to chitchat about their distant failed love affair). And finally, as people die off and the menace becomes more ambiguous, the movie becomes completely ambiguous, and as a kind of escape valve, announces that any number of crazy thing we have been watching may or may not have been imagined by one character or another.
But what does that mean about the camera? Isn't there still a differentiation between cinema reality and one character's delusion? Or if these are global delusions including the viewer, shouldn't they do more than simply disorient us? Well, don't hang on for answers. Just hang on. An explosion (of course) caps it all off (why they didn't hit the disarm button isn't explained), and a final logical wrap up that avoids the time travel paradox is warm and fuzzy.
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