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Solaris (The Criterion Collection)

4.2 out of 5 stars 246 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

SOLARIS - DVD Movie

Special Features

  • DISC ONE: New digital transfer, enhanced for widescreen televisions
  • Audio essay by Tarkovsky scholars Vida Johnson and Graham Petrie, co-authors of The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky: A Visual Fugue
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
  • DISC TWO: Nine deleted and alternate scenes
  • Video interviews with lead actress Natalya Bondarchuk, cinematographer Vadim Yusov, art director Mikhail Romadin, and composer Eduard Artemyev
  • Documentary excerpt with Solaris author Stanislaw Lem

Product Details

  • Actors: Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Jüri Järvet, Vladislav Dvorzhetskiy, Nikolay Grinko
  • Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Writers: Andrei Tarkovsky, Fridrikh Gorenshteyn, Stanislaw Lem
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Russian (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: November 26, 2002
  • Run Time: 167 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006L92F
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,207 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Solaris (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
It also compares it with the version released by the Russian Cinema Council (RUSCICO)

Solaris, released as Solyaris in Russia, is among my favorite Russian films, and my favorite film by Andrei Tarkovsky. It is based on the sci-fi novel by Stanislaw Lem. It is been considered a Russian version of 2001 A Space Odyessy. While some consider it to be the polar opposite.

An interesting note is that the Criterion Collection edition was released exacltly one day before the theactrical release of the 2002 remake directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring George Clooney.

It is about a space station orbiting an apparently sentient planet. The planet has the capability of reading the minds of the scientists aboard the space station and created 'doubles' of people from their past. When a psychologist comes aboard to investigate, he is confounded by the recreation of his dead wife.

It is a great film. Although it is slow paced, it has some excelent and unique cinematography. One example is one scene near the begining of the film where it focuses on raindrops landing in a full teacup. The special effects in this film are quite impressive given the time, place, and budget of filming. To top it off the film's score includes a superb rendition of J.S. Bach's Choral Prelude in F Minor, "Ich ruf zu' dir Herr Jesu Christ" BWV 639.

There are some subltle differences betweent he Criterion DVD and the RUSCICO DVD. The most noticable is a 5 minute POV scene of driving through the streets of a city. The scene is in both color and B&W. In the RUSCICO version part of the scene segues from B&W to color. on the Criterion DVD this part is solely in color.
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Format: DVD
Solaris, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, is a unusual piece of science fiction that will require multiple viewings and an open mind to understand all that it has to offer. A moody expression of the 1961 work by novelist Stainslaw Lem, a master of the philosophical, moves us carefully in and about the issues of life and death.
Strange happenings have been reported by three scientists onboard a space station orbiting Solaris, a distant planet. Psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis), is sent to investigate. The opening of the nearly 3 hour film is quite slow, setting some groundwork for the rest of the film by establishing its roots on Earth, something not present in the novel. The earth setting is in and about the home of Kelvins father played by Nikolai Grinko. It is here that he learns from his fathers friend Burton (Vladislav Dvorzhetsky) of the mystery surrounding Solaris. Burton, a cosmonaut that orbited the planet years earlier, gives an indication that there is more to the planet than just being covered by water, but the details are left intentionally vague so they can be flush out later in the film.
Kelvin leaves Earth and arrives at the space station to find it in a state of disrepair, a crewman dead that was a personal friend and the remaining two occupants in a state of paranoia. Soon after Kelvin experiences what has been afflicting the crew when a vision of his wife Hari appears. This is quite odd considering she has been dead for over 10 years, but he can talk to her and touch her and she seems real. She knows who she is but does not remember anything about the details of her death. In actuality, Kelvin's wife died by committing suicide and now he is placed in the position of either reliving that horror or being able to do something to prevent it.
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Comment 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
This film is long, poignant, interesting, haunting, dazzling to the eye, and actually quite scary. While watching it late one night, I found myself alone on the first floor of my house, and I must admit, I kept searching the room in fright after every little noise I heard. It's not a horror movie, but it rolls along at a slow, atmospheric, creepy-crawly pace.

One bonus of the film being so long with big spaces between dialogue, it gives you the opportunity to switch to the informative commentary track, to hear some interesting insight into the film. While most other movies you MUST watch it with the commentary off to be able to take it all in correctly, you can actually get away with switching back and forth without missing too much of the actual film. One part of the commentary I disagreed with was when the male narrator noted that in the scene where Satorius takes the gauze off Hari's finger and tosses it, that he is doing this because of contamination. One can clearly see by his expression and manner in doing this, that he is being sarcastic as he knows that Hari does not need a bandage, because the wound will simply regenerate and heal in a matter of minutes. There is also a sense of his envy toward her because Kelvin gets to have a doppleganger of his wife to somewhat enjoy, while Satorius only has dwarfs to deal with.

I think the scenes on Earth are gorgeous and completely necessary. Hoever, had they not been there like in the book, the movie would have been 2 hours instead of 2 hours and 40 minutes (a much easier time for mainstream audiences to grasp). I wouldn't trade it for a shorter run time at all.
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