Directed by Barry Levinson
Written by Michael Crichton, Kurt Wimmer, Stephen Hauser, Paul Attanasio
I've never read any Michael Crichton book but I've seen various movies taken from his novels, some of them are good, some of them aren't. This year The Lost World: Jurassic Park was a real disaster, there were far too many plot holes and unlikely situations to make it an enjoyable view. Now Sphere shares some of these problems, notably the plot holes, but at least is quite interesting at the beginning, interest that slowly fades as soon as the situations portrayed become more and more stupid, culminating in a finale that is probably one of the most unintelligent endings ever filmed.
The story is rather compelling: a mysterious spaceship has been discovered on the ocean's floor and a group of 'carefully chosen' people has to investigate it. As soon as they managed to enter it, they noticed that it wasn't an alien ship but it was an american ship built in the future and sent back to the past after it entered a black-hole. However, the scientists' attention is attracted mainly by a big golden sphere found un the ship which not only seems alien but also looks like it has an intelligence...
At the beginning both the plot and the movie itself are very good, the mystery, the nice shots of the underwater spaceship, the introduction of the characters, almost everything does work. However, near the middle of the movie everything starts becoming quite evident, the mystery fades and the plot holes starts to surface.
Knowing what the sphere is all about will obvious spoil the movie since the beginning and so I won't explain the various problems in the plot here. It is enough to say that there are any kind of errors, technological (eg. algorithms that sometimes work, sometimes don't...), factual (eg. there is obviously something wrong about the pressure inside the spaceship) and even common-sense errors (eg. everything is computer-based in the sea base apart from that silly red knob they had to rotate!).
While the acting is fairly good, the characters aren't well thought and the psychological aspect of the events is sometimes risible. There is also no question about who will die and who will survive at the end and this makes much weaker the scenes portraying the various accidents.
The finale is terrible and it would have been enough to ruin all the movie even assuming that the rest was acceptable (which it wasn't, anyway!). I haven't been able to find anything reasonable in the last 15 minutes of the movie, the idea on which the resolution is based is definitely stupid and childish. All the stories based on time travels are hard to digest but in this case the story is broken at an even deeper level which makes the problems connected to the feasibility of a time travel marginal and unimportant.