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Barry Levinson directed this $100+ million adaptation of Michael Crichton's science fiction novel about the investigation of a half-mile-long spacecraft sitting on the South Pacific ocean floor. Government functionary Barnes (Peter Coyote) assembles a crack scientific team -- psychologist Dr. Norman Goodman (Dustin Hoffman), who wrote a presidential report on alien contact; biochemist Beth Halperin (Sharon Stone), once involved romantically with Goodman; mathematician Harry Adams (Samuel L. Jackson); and astrophysicist Ted Fielding (Liev Schreiber). After descending a thousand feet, they… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 12%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"An empty shell."
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"Given its situational premise -- outer space goes underwater -- Sphere is filled with visual potential, yet Levinson can't tap it. He's just a whole lot more comfortable trying to tame the human software than the technical hardware."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"The central idea for Sphere is an intriguing one, but similar concepts have been much better executed on episodes of Star Trek, which makes one wonder why movie writing is allowed to be so bad."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"If you want a better sci-fi film go see Dark City. A better Levinson movie? Try Wag the Dog."
‑ Eugene Novikov, Film Blather
"Sphere yearns to be a philosophical epic but it's final and only edict is so rudimentary as to barely exist: man is not yet 'ready' either intellectually or emotionally for the gifts E.T.'s are willing to share with us."
‑ Brandon Judell, Critics Inc./America Online
"Three major stars being involved, it all wraps up happily but implausibly."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"As the umpteenth entrant in the We-Are-Not-Alone sweepstakes, Sphere feels awfully familiar because it is."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Word 'pointless' is the one that should be attributed to this whole film, one of the worst to come from Hollywood in past decade and one that would test patience and temper of the audience like few others."
‑ Dragan Antulov, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"Packaged as a smart psychological drama, it gradually dissolves into a badly edited action thriller, albeit one obscured by a cast of top notch talent."
‑ Jeanne Aufmuth, Palo Alto Weekly
"You can't accuse the makers of Sphere of skimping on talent. If only they knew what to do with it."
‑ Margaret A. McGurk, Cincinnati Enquirer
"The ending, though emotionally satisfying, collapses under scrutiny. This lack of payoff is a real flaw in a film pitched to a discriminating sci-fi mentality."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"The only excellence is in the acting, and even then the screenplay puts the characters through so many U-turns that dramatic momentum is impossible."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Let's face facts: Michael Crichton is a hack. He comes up with innovative concepts, but his characters are cardboard cutouts. Given the psychological foundations of the story, that's an egregious flaw, and the ending is absurdly dissatisfying."
‑ Carlo Cavagna, AboutFilm.com
"For a movie of a novel written by Michael Crichton with such a capable cast, Sphere is quite a disappointment."
‑ John R. McEwen, Film Quips Online
"Sphere is not trashy, or silly, or exploitative; a lot of talent has been used to good effect here. But in the final analysis, fine filmmaking cannot overcome mediocre material."
‑ Cathy Thompson-Georges, Boxoffice Magazine
More reviews for Sphere on Rotten Tomatoes

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