TWO STARS - Entertaining
The genius of science fiction is its ability to create an imaginary world in which we can accentuate aspects of the real world in order to better understand them.
In Michael Crichton’s “Sphere”, he creates a world in which a mercurial ball is capable of manifesting our inner-most desires.
Unlike the crystal ball which is imagined to have the power to reflect the future, this ball does not reflect what is or will be, but creates what we want.
The only problem is that the sphere does not know the difference between the nightmares of our sleep and the dreams of our conscious mind. The result of such a lack of discrimination is deadly.
The setting is the present in which a team of PhDs are assembled to encounter an alien spacecraft. The team consists of a psychologist, Norman Goodman (Dustin Hoffman), a biologist, Beth Halperin (Sharon Stone), a mathematician, Harry Adams (Samuel L. Jackson) and a physicist, Harold Barnes (Peter Coyote).
Assembled by the ever-popular science fiction device of a top-top secret government agency no one has ever heard of, this team has the responsibility of being humanity’s representatives in this first alien encounter.
The spacecraft they have discovered lies mysteriously at the bottom of a thousand feet of ocean and is one half mile long.
Combining wonderful special effects with proven suspense-thriller techniques, “Sphere” takes us into the depths of this ship and our own unconscious fears.
When the crew discovers that the ship is a future American vessel which has come back in time with its golden cargo, the weaving together of their unconscious and conscious creates a deadly fabric.
Although the encounter with the orb by three of the crew members seems innocuous, unexplained creatures begin to attack the ship.
The first is a swarm of deadly jellyfish which kills a naval diver. When Dr. Halprin, the biologist, declares that they are not “God’s creation,” we realize that we’ve stepped into a new zone of reality.
In this new reality, it becomes clear that the deepest fears of the three who “entered the sphere” are being physically manifested in the real world.
Not realizing their power to join together and use the orb for good, the three are panicked by the experiences of their fellow crew member’s unconscious fears. Turning against one another in paranoid reactions, their delusions become real and their trust is strained even more.
It is then, with the others dead and the remaining three in delusional reality, that we reach the depth of the film. The question it asks and answers negatively is: Are human beings capable of handling the power to grant their every wish?
If we had a golden ball which gave us the power to grant whatever we thought, are we pure and loving enough in our deepest selves to handle such power, or would that power destroy us?
Theologians have long taught that prayer is a dialogue which protects us from getting whatever we ask. Often in moments of deep sorrow or pain, humans have prayed for the destruction of enemies or the ending of their own life, but God in His infinite knowledge and love grants what is best in the eternal perspective. “Sphere” is an example of this spiritual truth.
For humans to have the power to create reality, we need to become pure at every level of our beings, for without that, what we create will be as dangerous as the monsters of “Sphere.” Our distrust and fear of one another already causes us to use our creative skills to create massive weapons capable of unconscionable destruction. But if we were given power to grant even deeper unconscious fears and desires, then we can only imagine the destruction we would cause.
When the remaining crew members realize that the sphere is a power that humanity in our present spiritual condition cannot control, they decide to “will” it away. If only it was that easy in the reality in which we live to “will” away the hatred, greed and violence which threaten us all.