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Solaris back to product details

Third time aound --
written by abcdefz March 23, 2009 - 3:34 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
-- and I still don't know what I think. But all three viewings seem like it's in the good (just "good")-but-flawed range: 6 or 7.

The movie is deliberately ponderous and much of the angst isn't really applicable to real life, but that makes it no less chewy. Clooney is very good in a kind of unsypathetic role -- sort of like Hugh Jackman in THE FOUNTAIN.

Jeremy Davies is Jeremy Davies -- affectedly weird, but it usually works. Viola Davis is terrific as always, psychologically setting herself squarely in a pretty unfathomable situation.

Beautiful photography and special effects.

Powerful, Haunting and Strange
written by Maasgarid January 5, 2006 - 11:00 AM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
I'm not nearly as much of an expert on the "Solaris" oeuvre as the other reviewers here. I came into this film not having seen the original, or read the book. That said, I think this is a very good, almost-great film that definitely deserves a rental. I also realize that it won't be for everyone.

For example: this film is a slow mover. Very few plot events actually occur, and much of the time is spent in still shots. Those still shots, however, are achingly beautiful; the shots of the surface of Solaris are absolutely mesmerizing, and I don't think I could ever get tired of looking at Natascha McElhone's face.

I admire Steven Soderbergh. He clearly has commercial chops, but he's not afraid to abandon them and try something different. I'm not entirely sure what it is about this film that continues to make me think about it; perhaps it's the imagery, the feeling of loss, the non-MTV-ness... I don't know. Whatever it is, I recommend you give it a shot.

SHINING MOMENT: The whole film.

science fiction this aint
written by alexjb December 13, 2005 - 12:52 AM PST
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
while i agree to some extent with the reviewer who described this as an exploration of nihilism and loneliness, and i don't think that it's a bad movie taken in a vacuum, i really didn't see much in this film that connected it to stanislaw lem's book, or even really science fiction.

the book is much more about exploring a phenomena of a planet/sentience which was interacting with humans in a way that basically tended to drive them nuts. it questions the nature of consciousness, the nature of communication; lem pokes into the deep recesses of the individual human psyche while exploring the notion that there could be a sentience the size of a planet capable of connecting directly with what we consider to be subconscious.

soderberg's movie is about a man dealing with intense personal loss. the planet, the science, the fact that it's in the future, are all really unecessary, except that it allows a premise that gives the main character's psychosis physical form.

the problem is that with such big names involved, the production values are sky high, allowing them to create all the great visuals and sets that make you think you're watching a science fiction story. there are space suits involved for no particular reason; there are a couple of scenes of physics technobabble and references to intersteller travel. oh yeah, and a shiny spaceship with lots of grated floors and cramped passages.

the conclusion of the film actually inches toward the heart of the original book, but soderberg should have had someone else write the screenplay- his version is too much formula Hollywood to be a serious adaptation of the novel.

Portrait of alienation.
written by sangretoro February 21, 2004 - 9:57 PM PST
5 out of 8 members found this review helpful
Visually and emotionally beautiful exploration of nihilistic and subjectivist loneliness. A Masterpiece.

Pales in comparison to Tarkovsky's 1972 version.
written by ladawna August 2, 2003 - 6:54 PM PDT
6 out of 8 members found this review helpful
Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky is quoted as saying he liked making his "long and boring" films. While his 1972 film of the same name is longer than this Hollywood remake, it is this version by Soderbergh that I found boring.

Tarkovsky's version has more interesting photography (this Soderbergh film reminded me of an episode of the X-Files - substituting dark for mystery) and Tarkovksy's version had more careful and creative sets. Take Kelvin's first look around the space station when he arrives: Tarkovsky's careful sets created a real sense of disrepair, chaos, and the idea that something very unsettling was going on, while Soderbergh simply shows some blood on the walls of a boring, shiny set.

Soderbergh was also more heavy handed with the religious (Christian) symbolism, making the mistake of trying to explain too much to us and in the process merely excluding the other more interesting psychological issues addressed by Tarkovsky.

Yes these are two different films and perhaps simply two different takes on the same novel, but watching this one felt like watching a pale remake of Tarkovsky's 1972 version. Tarkovsky's superior scenes and more creative visuals were brought to mind during many moments of this film. I recommend you rent that one instead.

Disappointing if you hold the original highly.
written by aloft August 1, 2003 - 8:55 PM PDT
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Soderbergh would have done well to take the advice of Dr. Snaut in Tarkovsky's 1972 version of this story: "Do not turn a scientific problem into a typical love story." Much of what made Solyaris the masterpiece that it is, has been stripped away in this newer version, and replaced with prettier pictures and an absurd love story texture. Likewise, where Snaut and Kelvin became real and full characters on the screen in '72 -- the main characters of Solaris fall flat. Clooney blunders around in his typical manner. Jeremy, who I usually enjoy watching, is given a role with so many over the top quirks that it quickly becomes annoying. I'll admit, the visuals were beautiful. The scenes of Solaris with its great spires of milky energy reaching out into space are not something that I will soon forget. As for the rest of the story, I've already forgotten most of the major plot points. Solyaris, remains vivid for me years after seeing it. If you didn't like the first one, disregard me. If Solyaris it did not exist, Solaris would be a decent film. Instead, it is just a pale copy of one of the most brilliant philosophical science fiction movies ever shot.

film purists may want to kill me, but ...
written by randomcha July 18, 2003 - 4:39 PM PDT
7 out of 8 members found this review helpful
i liked this version better than tarkovky's. even considering the limited budget and special effects of the earlier film, i believe soderbergh's take on the story is more haunting and more ethereal. it's less talky than the earlier version and yet plumbs the same psychological themes. it's also leavened with hints of humor that tarkovsky's version just doesn't have. no one can touch "stalker" for my money but soderbergh has done a damn good job on this one. the score is beautiful.

now please someone else demand the dvd release of "schizopolis"!


(Average 6.13)
238 Votes
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