Author Michael Crichton is to science fiction what Stephen King is to horror: although his work lacks originality, his ability to write page turning pulp novels allows him to pass off recycled ideas as something apparently more profound. For Sphere, he lifted the premise of Tarkovsky's Solaris, in which a physical object - here a mysterious shimmering sphere discovered in a submerged spaceship at the bottom of the ocean - causes those who enter it to give physical form to their inner thoughts. Drawn to the sci-fi genre by a scenario that relied less on hardware than the relationships between a group of investigating scientists trapped inside a claustrophobic submarine pod, director Levinson has made a Solaris-meets-The Abyss with dramatic knobs on. Hoffman's idealistic psychologist, Stone's emotionally unstable biochemist and Jackson's sceptical mathematician all apply specialist knowledge to the conundrum, watched over by enigmatic team leader Coyote. Three major stars being involved, it all wraps up happily but implausibly.