A thousand feet beneath the sea, the blackest holes are in the mind...
We just did something on the water, so why not follow it up with something UNDER the water? Yeah yeah. it's a lame connection, but it'll do for this week. This flick promises aliens and underwater mystery, so it could go as terribly wrong as the situation for the characters in the movie. Let's dive into the picture and see just how much it does or does not sink.
A psychologist is flown to a naval ship under the pretense of seeing to some survivors mental states. When he gets there, however, he finds his stay will actually be anything but what he expected. Turns out that the real reason he is there is because of a document he made for the government about first contact with aliens years before, and a crew has been assembled based of his little charter of actions. Of course none of the assembled members believe that there are aliens around, but they are reassured that a very advanced spaceship deep in the ocean, and after they go through all the training to be that deep under sea, they will be sent down there to try and establish first contact. Of course, the psychologist does admit to one of his crew-mates (that he selected) that when he original wrote this guidance document he was mostly just pulling things out of a hat because as outrageous as it was the pay was good.
When they get down under, they really start getting excited as the confusion starts. When going to enter the ship, it turns out that the ship isn't as indestructible as was originally thought and that parts of it external shell are actually damaged relatively easy. Inside, they find strange things - such as footprints - but never any actual crew until a team makes it up to the bridge, where they discover a skeleton. It's not as simple as one would expect, as it's not just an alien skeleton, but a human skeleton that to top things off suffered some blunt force to the head - implying he was murdered. The mystery goes a step further when they manage to access the ships logs and find out the dates involved are from the future and the past. Before they can really get into arguing too much about it, another discovery is made by the others - a giant golden sphere that's sort of liquid but not. It's weirdest feature though? It's actively deciding what things to reflect.
This presents all sorts of mysteries and questions, but further complications arise when one of the scientist types somehow goes inside the sphere. From here out, things start getting real strange. One of the military members ends up dying in a freak jellyfish "storm", and the jellyfish themselves aren't even normal jellyfish. Contact is made with the alien through math over their computers, and it seems at least somewhat linked to the weird happenings. Next up, a banging is heard from outside - only to discover the corpse of another of the military members clunking around against the outside of their underwater habitat. During the retrieval launched by two of the scientists, the remaining military type informs them of something very large showing on the radar - and the scientists themselves start experiencing massive eggs floating down from above. They manage to make it back to the habitat safe, but the giant radar blip manages to cause a lot of damage to the station, and a fire starts inside. Can the remaining members save the habitat before they too end up dead? Can they figure out what's going on with this alien?
There's a lot of mystery involved in the plot, and for me to go over it in any sort of heavy detail would take away from the viewing experience I believe. Some of it, however, is rather obvious due to some heavy-handed editing choices that (although is plausible the characters wouldn't put two and two together fast) makes it very obvious to the viewers just what causes a lot of the weird happenings. Still, it manages to hold off some of the surprises, although before the ending reveal rolls around I don't think too many won't know just what has been going on. The introduction of time travel does make things less of an alien story (in a way), but largely feels sort of irrelevant outside of one character's implication that they will all die because of future events that transpired.
Effects work is pretty great here, even (as much as it doesn't so much stand up to current day) the sphere. The jellyfish look beautiful even as the situation turns dreadful, and even things like the "rain of eggs" ends up looking impressive. If anything, the worst effects would have to be argued between the explosions and the sphere itself. The setting has enough of a space to it that it doesn't feel like a super claustrophobic space (last thing you would want when trapped in a habitat under the water like that really if you ask me), but also doesn't feel like a lot of blank empty space. The spaceship likewise feels as though at some point it was probably far more busy than it is underwater, but the condition it's found in very much expresses that idea of being a tomb quite well.
Audio is balanced well, and music adds to the moods. Actors deliver their lines rather well, and although sometimes it comes off silly dialogue they still end up doing a pretty good job of portraying living people as opposed to someone that just came off of a page. It all fits together pretty well and makes for a minimum of average as far as the experience goes, but in doing so also makes it a pleasant experience of not having that one character you absolutely hate the entire film and allowing you to care a little bit about this rabble of people under the ocean exploring the unknown.
Overall it tells a nice complete story by starting off with a lot of mystery and by the ending explaining what hasn't already been shown. Some elements (such as the time travel) can end up feeling a little trivial, but overall it doesn't feel like there is a whole lot of just wasted time and fat to trim. It's not something that demands to be watched, but if the box plot synopsis or the actors draw you to it, it's not exactly going to make you disappointed either. It can move a little slow at times - although I largely feel that's more towards the start when it's still building up the characters, but it's a pretty decent watch.