Solaris Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 30, 2014
This 2002 remake of Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris manages to be far less ambitious and goes straight to the point. I thought it was a good take on the classic film, but it doesn't have the epic visuals and terrific, yet simple story that the original possessed. Of course, this film echoes what the 1976 film had, but it never goes in depth with its subject, and it doesn't do anything new or refreshing. With that being said, Watch the original film instead, it's far superior and it's a classic of the genre. This remake is good, but it never comes close to the original. The acting in this remake is very good, and I thought that overall it was a solid film, but it also rushed through the story a bit. With the original, it took its time to let the story unfold and it worked brilliantly and that's one of the main reasons that Tarkovsky's Sci Fi classic is so unique and ultimately memorable. With this remake, you get a far shorter film, one that doesn't reach its potential and in turn lacks the development that made the original so good. Nonetheless, this remake is good, but it could have been better as well. Luckily the cast are great, and it's the film's strongest asset. However, I would recommend the 1976 film instead of this one, but if you want a more stripped down version, with less ambitious ideas, then this remake is for you. In terms of revamping a classic film, Solaris like every other remake before or after it has left a bit to be desired, and makes you want to watch the original film. The ideas expressed on-screen, are things we've seen before, and there never is new blood injected into the story. For a remake however, it's quite good, but it's nothing compared to the film that came before it.
Super Reviewer
October 12, 2013
Incoherent, but looks good and is well acted
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2010
Soderbergh deviates from the fascinating philosophical ideas proposed by Tarkovsky in his fantastic adaptation and focuses on the relationship dilemma, but the result is less involving and suffers from an obvious lack of chemistry between Clooney and McElhone.
Super Reviewer
April 24, 2012
In this elegantly low-key sci-fi drama, we get George Clooney as a therapist who travels to a space station to treat its troubled inhabitants who have encountered something traumatic. While there, he ends up having an encounter of his own.

This is the second film based off of an old novel, and, while it is cliche to say this, I liked the first version better. That would be Tarkovsky's 1972 opus also called Solaris.

That might be the grander, more important film, but this one is significantly shorter, and not quite as pretentious. It's still quite slow and quiet however.

It's a film big on ideas, and yes, while it does drag, it's a great mood piece. If you have insomnia, this or the '72 film would be great to put on. That's not quite a knock, either.

Patience is key with appreciating this movie, but I think it's worth it, and Soderbergh is the perfect person for a remake like this.

Clooney is good, as you'd expect, and Viola Davis is decent, too. I also liked Jeremy Davies, whose "out there"-ness really brought a bit of levity, while also helping to get the mood right.

The plot could be a bit stronger, but overall, this is an alright film that fits somewhere in the upper middle of Soderbergh's oeuvre.
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2012
It's a new take on Andrei Tarkovsky's classic, but it might just be too complicated, and at times, the original really stands out, with the latter only a mimics the haunting quality that made Tarkovsky's so eloquently powerful. Mysterious, but it too incoherent, it seems.
Super Reviewer
½ January 7, 2010
There are some places man is not ready to go

Very confusing film. SOLARIS, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and starring George Clooney, is one of those pointless remakes Hollywood has been making these past decades that adds almost nothing to the original classic. The movie itself is good. Not great or even close to being bad or a misfire, just good. Interesting but not really fulfilling. Some Sci fi movies are classics. Some are Legends. This one just doesn't fit in anywhere. If you're a classic Scifi lover of action, aliens and at least some kind of story - then I would give this one a skip.

Dr. Gibarian, part of a team at a space station studying Solaris, makes an urgent and self-described bizarre video request to his friend, civilian psychiatrist Dr. Chris Kelvin, to come to the station to deal with an unspecified phenomenon aboard, that phenomenon with which Chris' experience and background may be able to explain and solve. Chris learns that his trip is sanctioned by the space program as a security force had been sent to the station to investigate, that security team which is now missing. When Chris arrives at the station, he finds only two surviving team members, Drs. Gordon and Snow (Dr. Gibarian committed suicide), who are both acting nervously. Chris also finds two unexpected people there, the first, who Chris only sees fleetingly, being Dr. Gibarian's adolescent son Michael, and the second being Chris' deceased wife, Rheya. Chris and Rheya had a passionate relationship in all its good and bad before she committed suicide. Apparently, these appearances of loved ones of the crew at the station are what Chris has come to investigate. As Chris, Gordon and Snow discuss and argue about what to do, Chris becomes emotionally invested in this vision of his wife, who herself begins to realize she looks like Rheya, acts like Rheya (including having the same feelings for Chris), answers to the name Rheya, but is not really the Rheya that was once Chris' wife.
Super Reviewer
½ July 3, 2007
Can't sleep? Give this a go and your insomnia will be instantly cured. That isn't to say it's bad though. Just too calm and draggy for my taste. The basic premise is fairly interesting, but it's lacking the drive and excitement that a story like this really needs. Visually sophisticated and beautifully photographed, but ultimately a bit of a bore.
Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2010
Really nowhere near the same caliber as the original, but it's still interesting. I love Jeremy Davies performance as Snow, it's really the shining moment of the movie. However, George Clooney is dull and has some pretty cringe-worthy moments, which is sort of odd for his usually good acting. It's too fast paced, typical and unimaginative; ultimately doing nothing for the viewer. Sadly, this could have been great knowing Steven Soderbergh's talent behind the camera.
Super Reviewer
January 5, 2007
A slightly strange film, something like a sci-fi, thriller but with a romantic feel to it? It's well shot, the cinematography is good and the cast is quite strong. The films raises a lot of questions without providing many answers. Some will like it for this others won't. One for sci-fi fans, or those open to debate about life, time, religion etc. I'm sure the girls will like it for George Clooney's scenes as well!
Super Reviewer
½ September 24, 2009
Watch the original! That said, this is a bit different and not too bad but I hate Soderbergh. It?s fairly arrogant to remake such an seminal classic, especially as he could never improve on the story.
Super Reviewer
½ November 2, 2007
A well put-together sci-fi/romance that succeeds due to it's unique dreamlike nature that would make Stanley Kubrick proud, as well as a strong lead performance from George Clooney. While Clooney's character isn't exactly colored to the extreme, you are still interested as to what eventually happens to him. The score is outstanding, complementing a slow, but effective plot structure extremely admirably. The ending is really what saves this movie from mediocre territory, as Soderbergh is able to drive up the suspense while staying grounded on what made this movie watchable to begin with, that being the surreal nature the entire film is drenched in from beginning to end.
Super Reviewer
½ February 23, 2009
Suprisingly good, Not just another hopeless remake, Not as profound as the original but more enjoyabl
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2007
In my opinion, both films, Tarkovsky's first and this Soderbergh's remake are two somewhat painful and stretched out experiences. Despite the enormous sacrifice that means to sit through the whole, there is no doubt that the essential argument of the story is intriguing and complex, therefore fascinating.
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2007
Good actors but why did they do this movie. Weak plot and a bit dull.
Super Reviewer
½ May 25, 2007
Psychiatrist George Clooney is sent to investigate the strange happenings on a space station orbiting the mysterious planet Solaris where the crew have been encountering "visitors" from their past. I have not seen Tarkovsky's original so I can be completely objective about this beautiful looking and thoughtful sci-fi. Those expecting thrills and spills will be disappointed; the film is deliberately slow paced and philosophical The handsome pairing of Clooney and McElhone put in solid performances in a film that's more concerned with love and loss than aliens and ray guns. Soderbergh's visuals are top notch with some lovely effects complimented by a wonderfully atmospheric soundtrack, creating a very ethereal and other-worldy quality. I must admit, I'm not entirely sure what it is the film was trying to say exactly, but the journey is stylish and captivating. Fans of 2046 should give it a try; they might be pleasantly surprised.
Super Reviewer
November 3, 2007
Effective and this is where I realized Clooney was more than just an ER doctor.
Super Reviewer
October 18, 2007
Soooo bad. I hear the Russian one is pretty good, though.
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2007
I thought this was a boring waste of time. Nothing really happens and when it does it really falls flat. Plus it was really long.
Super Reviewer
July 1, 2007
This version of Solaris has a very different feel to it than Tarkovsky's original, this is, by Soderbergh's admission, one third the original, one third the novel (by Stanislaw Lem) and one third Soderbergh's own imagination. Its also somewhat of a departure for all involved, particularly Clooney and Soderbergh, though bearing the fingerprints of his style.

It must be said that this is not the film that the terrible marketing campaign at the time of it release offered - it is not a funky space-set romance, though it does take place in space and is a romantic story. It is however, a very slow, deliberate film. Only essential information is given and, going from a 61-page script to a 90-minute film, there is little dialogue but a lot of detail. Many will find it too slow and possibly boring and I do have to say its not a film for everyone. But there is so much here to appreciate. It is a film of mood and feelings, creating a beautiful and emotional atmosphere, in which events unwind gradually, rather than an intense plot-driven mish-mash of ideas.

Soderbergh's intention is to question the very nature of existence and of love - if you knew something wasn't real, would you avoid getting attached to it, even if it was the one thing you always wanted, more than anything? If it meant never seeing home again, but spending forever in a tiny space with just that person, would rationality cease to exist? Do we only need that one thing that we crave to survive? Beyond this, there are semi-religious overtones added as well - is Solaris heaven? A place where all wishes are granted at the cost of "human" life?

The aspect that stands out first and foremost the acting. Viola Davis is wonderful, Jeremy Davies is never less than interesting, and finally Clooney and Natasha McElhone deliver great performances, some of the best of their careers so far. Expanding his range even more after Out of Sight and O Brother Where Art Thou?, Clooney reaches depth you wouldn't have expected of such a matinee-style star. His Chris Kelvin is sad, intense, smart and realistic - the scene where Clooney wakes up to see his dead wife is a wonderful moment of acting, watching him try to bring himself round and shake off the image, only to realise its real. And McElhone is perfectly cast and surprising as the other half of the emotional core. Having been efficient in Ronin and The Truman Show, she seems to have acquired untapped gravitas and beauty in this film, looking absolutely beautiful in a very virginal, pure sense, belying the complexities and internal grief of her character. She too has many moments that just seem incredibly real, as if she forgot to act and just believed in what was happening.

The cinematography and effects are very proficient without being showy, creating a believable environment within which the bizarre events are grounded in a reality not so unbelievable. Solaris itself is simply gorgeous to look at, conjuring up images of planets and cells at the same time, hinting at a universality which is not one thing nor the other, but all things which cannot be explained in one term, again suggesting a godliness to it. And the music is brilliantly subtle, flavouring the images to give it that atmosphere of longing and loss and also beauty, never suggesting what we should feel but rather what the on-screen characters are feeling.

Soderbergh has made a very mature film here, eschewing the "cool" editing and camera tricks of films such as Traffic, Erin Brockovich, The Limey and Out of Sight for a more stately, sophisticated tone. It never feels forced or unbelievable and, while some of its twists are somewhat predictable, you dont feel cheated at all by the end, rather that everything played out as it should: dramatic and sad in places, beautiful in others, unsettling at times and ultimately quite profound. There really isn't anything wrong with this film, if you are in the mood to have a film wash over you and cause you to ruminate on the ideas of mortality, loss and redemption.
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