Director Barry Levinson’s 1998 movie of the Michael Crichton novel is a thoughtful and intelligent deep-sea sci-fi saga, in which navy divers discover an object half-a-mile long – a spaceship – under 300 years’ worth of coral growth 1000 feet below at the bottom of the ocean.
A submersible crew with crack team of scientists is sent to the site to investigate and subjected to mysterious ‘manifestations’ as they try to find the secret behind the sphere and meanwhile stay alive.
Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L Jackson, Peter Coyote, Liev Schreiber and Queen Latifah are a classy cast and, as usual, make the most of the material, though it is frustrating that the function of the perfect metal golden sphere discovered by the investigators within the spacecraft is never fully penetrated.
Nevertheless, Levinson’s striking looking, well-crafted film remains tense and atmospheric, with an effective mysterious mood, and eventually it even becomes startling. It was a costly film for its day — $75 million and, perhaps being seen as too cerebral, it grossed only $37 million in the US.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4050
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