Solaris - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Solaris Reviews

Page 1 of 76
½ September 19, 2018
Stanislaw Lem's Solaris is a highly regarded book and Andrei Tarkovsky's film adaption is pretty much spot on, though Tarkovsky being an auteur brings his own touch to the proceedings. The story is about a cosmonaut who is sent to a space station revolving around a mysterious planet in the future. The cinematography and production design are haunting- the spaceship is so different than what we usually see in Hollywood. The acting is restraint and works here. Some people have said there is a sense of pretentiousness and rightfully so as some scenes go on way too long. But hey, this is Tarkovsky we speak of. This is one of the finest hard science fiction films and you should see it at any cost.
½ September 3, 2018
Stanislaw Lem's Solaris is a highly regarded book and Andrei Tarkovsky's film adaption is pretty much spot on, though Tarkovsky being an auteur brings his own touch to the proceedings. The story is about a cosmonaut who is sent to a space station revolving around a mysterious planet in the future. The cinematography and production design are haunting- the spaceship is so different than what we usually see in Hollywood. The acting is restraint and works here. Some people have said there is a sense of pretentiousness and rightfully so as some scenes go on way too long. But hey, this is Tarkovsky we speak of. This is one of the finest hard science fiction films and you should see it at any cost. (Tarkovsky's sci-fi epic).
Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2018
Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) arrives at a station hovering above the planet Solaris, which has been studied and debated for years. Its life form, essentially the planet's vast ocean, is very different from anything else encountered or conceived. It seems intelligent, but its actions and the swirling, fantastic structures it can create are hard to decipher. There are new developments following some rogue experiments on the part of some scientists stationed there, which have resulted in the ocean sending "visitors" to the station. The visitors are highly personalized to Kelvin and the two men still there (Jüri Järvet and Anatoly Solonitsyn), and conjured from the recesses of their minds. In the case of the others, the visitors are so embarrassing they don't want anyone else to see them. In the case of Kelvin, it's his dead wife (Natalya Bondarchuk), who on Earth poisoned herself after their relationship deteriorated.

Is the ocean creating these beings out of some malevolent intention? Once Kelvin figures out it's not really his wife from a few subtle clues, the non-functional buttons on her dress and a fact she knows one of the scientists (but obviously couldn't know him), he reacts with fear, tricking her into a rocket and blasting her into space. However, as the visitors are simply re-spawned when the men sleep, she soon returns, and over time gradually becomes closer and closer to the original. In producing these visitors, is the ocean trying to communicate with humanity in the only way it can? If so, it's doing a better job of it than the other way around, because after decades of study, one scientist simply bombards the ocean with high radiation X-rays, a classic human response - blind, simplistic, and possibly lethal. Is the ocean a type of God, capable of creation? And perhaps a God, as author Stanis?aw Lem put it, that is imperfect not because it has human characteristics, such as the ones from the Old Testament or Greek mythology, but because of just how randomly it creates, without understanding the consequences of its acts?

If you're looking for clear answers (or a lot of action for that matter), this is not the science-fiction movie for you. In fact, part of its point is to ponder the limits of mankind's understanding. It does this while at the same time reminding us of the need to focus within, understanding mankind and oneself, at least as much as outer space, and creatures we find there. "We don't need other worlds. We need a mirror," one says. Isn't it interesting that they go all that way out into space, find this vast sentient creature that they can't understand, and then end up dealing with things from their own minds?

The film also explores the most human of truths. Life is transient, and loss is inevitable - the loss of one's parents, of one's childhood home, of one's loved ones, and of course, of oneself - everything ultimately has its time and passes. It explores the nature of love, and what it means to be happy, even if happiness is artificially created. There is a sentimental and highly personal feeling to the film, amplified by Kelvin's introspection, and not seeing much of the other men's visitors. In the face of all these weighty questions, I absolutely loved this exchange:

Dr. Snaut: "When man is happy, the meaning of life and other eternal themes rarely interest him. These questions should be asked at the end of one's life."
Kris Kelvin: "But we don't know when life will end. That's why we're in such a hurry."
Dr. Snaut: "Don't rush. The happiest people are those who are not interested in these cursed questions."

All of the actors turn in solid performances, but it was Bondarchuk's performance while gradually gaining self-awareness, becoming despondent, and chastising the men for their cruelty which was most compelling. The scene where she is automatically resuscitated at one point is fantastic. I also liked the brief weightless scene, which had such a lovely ethereal quality to it.

I've read that author Stanis?aw Lem was not happy with Tarkovsky's adaptation, but I thought it was quite faithful to it, and Tarkovsky really magnified the power of the final scene. One of the flaws in Lem's book that Tarkovsky wisely avoided was too much of the various debates from different camps of scientists studying Solaris over the years. The mind boggles at how long this film might have been had he included it, and the resulting tedium. On the other hand, Tarkovsky's film is flawed as well, in that he is far too deliberate in some of his shots, such as the much-commented-on drive through tunnels in Japan, and several others, mostly in part one. I think his point may have been to show us these things for long enough that we actually start seeing them in another way, as if for the first time, like how we may see something alien for the first time, or may ponder the big questions in life. Regardless, he goes too far, irritating some viewers and causing others to doze off. Even for a film that is highly introspective and philosophical, which probably calls for some of this, pace is an issue here. My advice is to keep an open mind, caffeinate yourself, and stick with it.
July 25, 2018
Stanislaw Lem's Solaris is a highly regarded book and Andrei Tarkovsky's film adaption is pretty much spot on, though Tarkovsky being an auteur brings his own touch to the proceedings. The story is about a cosmonaut who is sent to a space station revolving around a mysterious planet in the future. The cinematography and production design are haunting- the spaceship is so different than what we usually see in Hollywood. The acting is restraint and works here. Some people have said there is a sense of pretentiousness and rightfully so as some scenes go on way too long. But hey, this is Tarkovsky we speak of. This is one of the finest hard science fiction films and you should see it at any cost. (Tarkovsky tackles science fiction).
½ July 23, 2018
Stanislaw Lem's Solaris is a highly regarded book and Andrei Tarkovsky's film adaption is pretty much spot on, though Tarkovsky being an auteur brings his own touch to the proceedings. The story is about a cosmonaut who is sent to a space station revolving around a mysterious planet in the future. The cinematography and production design are haunting- the spaceship is so different than what we usually see in Hollywood. The acting is restraint and works here. Some people have said there is a sense of pretentiousness and rightfully so as some scenes go on way too long. But hey, this is Tarkovsky we speak of. This is one of the finest hard science fiction films and you should see it at any cost.
June 14, 2018
Solaris is really dense with things that make you think. From neat camera tricks, to philosophical questions, there's never a moment that there isn't something interesting to notice or ponder. This is Russia's Space Odyssey and it deserves to be branded as such.
½ May 31, 2018
I can see why many people compare between Tarkovsky's Solaris and Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Despite both films have completely different themes, It's so clear that Tarkovsky was inspired by 2001 while making Solaris. But the influences have nothing with neither the themes nor the messages and the philosophy of the movie. Tarkovsky influenced by the style and the technical aspect of 2001: A Space Odyssey; the tone. some of the camera shots, the way of using the imagery (in some cases), and even the production design. With that said, I don't think there should be any comparison between the two films.

To be honest, I hate 2001, because I think it tells its relies so heavily on its message that there's almost no story to tell. It keeps repeating its messages, that we have already recognized from the get-go, throughout its running time. Adding insult to injury, it tries to be riveting by showing how wonderful the camera work is,how mesmerizing the cinematography is, how fascinating the production design is, how masterful the editing is, etc. While all these technical points made this movie the most beautiful movie I've ever seen, instead of relying on the technical aspect, I think it should have engaged us with the use of narrative elements, such as a dramatic plot, well-wrought and fleshed-out characters, or in a worst-case scenario, a mysterious event or even character.

Fortunately, I think Solaris is way better than 2001. It has a fair share of metaphors, and also has fully-developed characters, a coherent plot, and powerful messages. The result is a movie that has a very comprehensive and engaging story that tugs at your heartstrings. Needless to say, the acting is great, the direction is masterful, and the cinematography and the production design are nothing but art!

It's just the slow-pacing that sometimes I felt it wasn't necessary. Specially, before the climax as this should exactly be the time when I should be entirely focused, but I found that I get a little bored.

Some may find the messages are presented in a direct way and somehow in your face, but that was completely intended. It's the first Tarkovsky film I watch, but it's obvious that presenting the message in the dialogue is kinda his trademark. The characters don't reveal the message to put an end to the story. instead, they keep involving the viewers with the messages they discover along the movie.

Can't wait to watch The Mirror and Stalker!

(9/10)
½ May 19, 2018
1001 movies to see before you die. This movie is groundbreaking for science-fi, art and drama. However, it is too long and is not terribly entertaining. I fell asleep both times I saw it.
½ May 1, 2018
This movie.... isn't it something??? No seriously: is it? I don't know if I got it!
But I sure liked it. Loved it actually. First of all, how cool it is that you can travel in space with a leather jacked and fishnet t-shirt? The future is great!
But no more spoilers and let's talk about the feeling I got. The feeling as I've said is very good. It reminded me "2001: a space odyssey". Those kind of movies that make you scratch your head so many times thought it, and at the end you are taken and you don't know exactly why! It's an oneiric piece of work, slow but powerful, weird but at times so clear. Meditative I would say. After Andrei Tarkovsky's "Stalker" I was scared to start this one. "Stalker" never took my attention, too slow, too complex. "Solaris" is definitely not fast either, but I was pulled into it from the start until the last scene. It's not an easy watch but if like me (and many others apparently) you are taken from it, then you will want to watch it again and again.
½ April 22, 2018
IT SEEMS TO ME THAT TARKOVSKY NEVER HEARD THE PHRASE "YOU HAVE TO KILL YOUR BABIES." There is some stunningly beautiful cinematography going on here, but good lord is it a slog. How long is that ridiculous tunnel scene? My jaw was literally dropping, and not for any good reason. i love 2001 but this bored the pants off me. I don't know how anyone could watch this and not think that 1/4 of it should have been left on the cutting room floor. I think this movie's reputation is self perpetuating... After all, what critic or film snob would dare put their reputation at stake by criticizing it.
½ March 21, 2018
Può anche essere il film di fantascienza più famoso del mondo, può anche essere diretto da un famoso regista dal tocco unico, può anche ottenere punteggi altissimi nei maggiori siti di critica, ma per me resta comunque un'opera lenta, noiosa e di una pesantezza unica. Non ne ho trovato l'originalità, o una qualsiasi forma di coinvolgimento. Ho apprezzato il messaggio e l'idea dietro le immagini ma senza il giusto appoggio emotivo il film per me fatica a decollare. Un film logorante, che con qualche inquadratura riesce a dire a qualcosa, ma che nel complesso annoia e non lascia quasi niente.
January 30, 2018
Deep existentialism dressed as sci-fi. The Russians and european critics, at that time supported the film as the european answer to the "2001: A Space Odyssey" saga.
January 29, 2018
I watched this over 10 years ago and absolutely hated it, I love the Soderbergh remake so much though that I decided eventually to give it another go. I did engage far more with it the second time round but there's no getting away from the fact this is a nearly 3 hour long Russian sci-fi and that the pace is glacial. There are moments though, certain moments which are really beautiful and moving, in particular the painting scene with his returned wife Khari. You completely have to be in the right mood but it is worth the effort. If you haven't seen it though, personally I would recommend anyone to try the remake first.
½ January 12, 2018
This film is reminiscent of the old Star Trek if the captain was a bit melancholic and targetted by alien intelligence. The theme of the film is as if the planet's intelligence reaches the men on the station to keep them there. It uses love, the rematerialization of loved ones to entrap finally our hero. It's a B movie for us but was an A movie at the time for the Russian empire. Some pretty good effects for the time, looking quite cheap by today's standards. The story moves at snail pace possibly to keep us guessing and show us special effects.
December 23, 2017
M-F-O

9.2

[Andrei Tarkovsky]
½ December 18, 2017
A couple of good morals to the story: the need for human connection for one; and the conclusion that "the only thing left is to wait" (like Carlos Castaneda wrote about in his books on Yaqui shamanism). The reward, though, is hardly worth the tedium of sitting through the whole movie, and I was very glad when it came to an end.
November 7, 2017
A good science fiction movie with great visuals, an interesting exploration of what it means to be human, and a compelling plot. Though it can drag itself out quite a bit and some of the more artistic shots are a bit overwrought, which made it hard to keep interest high.
October 27, 2017
A dauntingly complex and emotionally powerful study of grief and human emotion. While it may be quite different from Lem's book, Solaris still shines as perhaps Tarkovski's best movie.

One of the greatest movies of all time.
½ October 15, 2017
9 9 8 8 9 8 8 8 9 9 = 85
October 6, 2017
A beautiful and fascinating sci-fi story that has great visuals and certainly raises meditative questions, but some of the more illogical ones really needed answering, and it stretches itself longer and ambiguously more than it needs to.
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