Sphere (1998)

sphere poster 1998 movie dustin hoffman samuel l jackson sharon stone
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 5/10

Decent cast

Lacks the horror or sci-fi necessary to hold the viewer

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Sphere

Studio:  Baltimore Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror

Release Date(s):  February 13, 1998

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


That is one big ass sphere.

Dr. Norman Goodman (Dustin Hoffman), Dr. Beth Halperin (Sharon Stone), Dr. Harry Adams (Samuel L. Jackson), and Dr. Ted Fielding (Liev Schreiber) are experts in their fields and have just been summoned to a secret government project.  The reports of an accident are cover for the discovery of a ship under the sea.  When they enter the ship, they discover a giant sphere of unknown origins but discover the ship actually is from Earth’s future.  When an entity calling himself Jerry begins to contact them, the mystery of the sphere deepens, but Jerry is growing angry…and when Jerry is angry, people die.


Hey, Liev. I just want to point out that you better watch your back…you’re not on the poster.

Directed by Barry Levinson, Sphere adapts the 1987 science-fiction horror novel by Michael Crichton.  The movie was met with largely negative reviews and was a box office flop due to its large budget.

I read Sphere before seeing Sphere.  The book itself was average, but in 1998, Crichton was still hot material with the success of Jurassic Park, The Lost World, ER, and even the poorly reviewed but big box office smash Congo.  Sphere however missed the mark so badly…being long and dull, that Crichton’s name couldn’t even save it.


I’m African-American, surrounded by jellyfish, and a rapper…and no one has died…this can’t be a problem for me, right?

The story for Sphere believes it is being interesting and full of twists but instead comes up as rather dull and lifeless.  The story attempts to build horror, but the pacing of the movie is rather slow and the horror doesn’t feel very logical.  We get jellyfish, sea snakes, and giant squid, but the terror never feels too real since I didn’t see Hoffman, Stone, or Jackson dying…and they of course don’t.

The movie has a nice cast.  Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, and Samuel L. Jackson were the obvious stars of the movie which makes me bad for Liev Schreiber who has an almost equal role in the movie, but you knew was doomed for death due to his less than rising star.  Also generic monster fodder is Peter Coyote as the military guy (who is always doomed in these type of movies), and Queen Latifah who hadn’t been in many movies at this point and was more known for her music…plus, you get a cameo by Huey Lewis as a helicopter pilot (a duet between Latifah and Lewis for the soundtrack was proposed for a minute too).


Oh, no! A snake on a string is attacking me!!

The visuals in the movie aren’t great.  The movie was a big budget, but the crashing and burning of Waterworld made the makers fear another big budget underwater blow-out.  The only really memorable visual is the golden sphere…which you never really understand what it is or what it does.  The jellyfish and the sea snake aren’t very scary and the threat of the giant squid was interesting, but you never got to see it.

Sphere is rather a bore and not really worth seeking out.  Sphere was a misfire in both the film and the book.  The sci-fi aspect wasn’t sci-fi enough and the horror aspect wasn’t horrific enough.  As a result, the movie floundered and sunk.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response