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Solaris (Criterion Collection) back to product details

written by daneel77olivaw August 16, 2007 - 4:47 PM PDT
1 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Disjointed. Scenes of 1960s driving substituted pointlessly for the future. Had to hit stop. Wanted my life back.

A study in human patience...yours ! Good one though !
written by PandT September 7, 2005 - 12:08 AM PDT
8 out of 8 members found this review helpful
First of all this review is of the first version of Solaris, the one directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, not the recent Hollywood remake.

This film is not Sci-Fi for everyone, but everyone should try it once. It, like 2001: A Space Odyssey is a slow, laborious and fascinating look at the psychological and spiritually taxing effects of space travel on humans in precarious situations and locations.

The cerebrally hynotic story is basically about an emotionally empty cosmonaut/psychiatrist named Kelvin who travels to a space station above the planet Solaris to investigate some sort of serious trouble there, only to find a complex series of abstract situations that, somehow in time, bring him back to his base humanity.

Once on the space station Kelvin finds two cosmonaut/scientists who have locked themselves up to avoid what they are calling "vistors". The antagonist is also visited on board by the "living" double of his late wife, in what turns into a reacquiantance with the mate who had commited suicide.

The planet Solaris seems to have supernatural powers that actually manifest human-like characteristics. Is it hallucinatory or is it an external stimulus caused by the planet? This is causing the people on the space station to encounter visions in the form of pseudo-humans, as in the bodily duplicated, but emotionally different wife. Is Kelvin using his memory to control his "wife's" emotions and personality, as the planet Solaris is seemingly doing to the station's inhabitants, or is this "new" version of his wife growing emotionally on her own merit? Either way, we see a growth in Kelvin's own humanity and acceptance of spirituallity, albeit under very strange and unusual circumstances!

This is a weird, surreal and beautifully crafted film, it is more about the ambiguousness of the metaphysics of being human than it is about space travel or science.

Have plenty of coffee available while you watch this almost 3 hour study in human patience..yours! I've not seen the Soderburg version with George Clooney, I understand it is shorter and did poorly at the box-office. That's not hard to understand in this day and age of quick-fix art in general and in this case, movies. Tarkovsky's version would probably be even more boring to most. I liked this very original film.

written by Trevin April 2, 2005 - 9:54 AM PST
5 out of 19 members found this review helpful
I watched the American remake of Solaris a couple of years ago -- or rather, tried to watch it. I fell asleep halfway through it. So it thought I'd watch the original Russian film so I could find out what the story was about.

It put me to sleep within the first hour.

There are many scenes in this film where nothing happens. You just see the camera panning around some scenery or paintings, or watch the actors walking or sitting around with no dialog. I sped up my DVD player to double speed during most of these parts, and they -still- seemed too long. There was one scene that simply consisted of watching a car drive through a city which must have been at least ten minutes -- no action, no dialog, just traffic and an occasional glimpse of the passengers staring out the window.

I forced myself to watch it the next morning but it didn't get any better. Besides the overly drawn-out pauses, the characters were dull, the acting was sub-par, and some of the things they said and did made no sense.

I can't say whether you should watch the remake of Solaris instead of this one, since I missed most of the newer version, but I definitely do NOT recommend this film.

Spiritual Sequel to 2001
written by chrispet109 August 16, 2004 - 4:03 PM PDT
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful
This movie feels like the ending of 2001 extended to an entire feature - it has that strange other-worldly quality, almost like a dream. You are never sure if something is real or not, and the entire piece feels like it could disappear at any moment. A russian scientist travels to the space station Solaris and is confronted with the reincarnation of his dead wife. Is she a real person? What exactly is real anyway? Is their rekindled love real, is it worth experiencing? The movie's russian origin effectively eliminates the cultural baggage you find in the hollywood remake.

Great film, nice print on DVD, nice job by Criterion as always. The DVD contains an excellent audio commentary by two Tarkovsky historians, who were well prepared and very informative. The audio commentary made the film more interesting and definitely peaked my interest to watch other Tarkovsky films.

FYI: Disc 1, Disc 2
written by JPielaszczyk May 24, 2003 - 7:46 PM PDT
15 out of 17 members found this review helpful
I'd like to point out that Disc 1 contains the complete Solaris, as well as an excellent and extensive analysis of the film which accompanies a linear, shortened version of Solaris. There was a hilarious comment about Tarkovsky's cavalier attitude toward plot. Methinks Disc 1 would be enough for most of us.

Disc 2 contains scenes Tarkovsky himself cut before the film's premiere (as I recall). There are also interviews with some of the lead actors. I enjoyed Natalya Bondarchuk's recent-ish interview, but that's as far as I went.

I intend to rent all of this director's films. More than anyone, his work seems to speak to the right side of the brain and to communicate the numinous. I'll duke it out with philosophical conversations "as thick as the ozone layer" to catch air in the spacecraft with the couple, or to ponder crewmembers' attaching paper strips to the airducts to hear Earth-ish leaf-like rustlings, or to have the camera dolly back from the shattered thermos bottle fragments to Bondarchuk's liquid-oxygen-ingested face and form. Memories of Tarkovsky's films have a long half-life.


(Average 7.46)
551 Votes
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