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Solaris

3.3 out of 5 stars 383 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Superstar George Clooney turns in a stellar performance in this "brilliant sci-fi movie" (New York Daily News) from Academy Award winners Steven Soderbergh (2000 - Best Director, Traffic) and JamesCameron (1997 - Best Picture, Titanic). Aboard a lonely space station orbiting a mysterious planet, terrified crew members are experiencing a host of strange phenomena, including eerie visitors who seem all too human. And when psychologist Chris Kelvin (Clooney) arrives to investigate, he confronts a power beyond imagining that could hold the key to mankind's deepest dreams?or darkest nightmares. Co-starring Natascha McElhone and Jeremy Davies, Solaris is "mind-bending!" (Rolling Stone)

Special Features

  • Steven Soderbergh's "Making of Solaris Special"
  • HBO making-of special
  • Stills of screenplay

Product Details

  • Actors: George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Ulrich Tukur, Viola Davis, Jeremy Davies
  • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
  • Writers: Steven Soderbergh, Stanislaw Lem
  • Producers: Charles V. Bender, Gregory Jacobs, James Cameron, Jon Landau, Michael Polaire
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: July 29, 2003
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (383 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009ATIX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,422 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Solaris" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew Wall on November 14, 2004
Format: DVD
This review refers to the DVD release of Solaris, the remake. Just a couple of notes from the outset:

(1) This film will not be well-liked by most people. There are a ton of spoilers in most reviews, so I'll try to boil it down for its essence to avoid ruining the unfolding of the movie should you choose to see it: a guy goes to a spaceship where weird things are happening and sees his dead wife. Maybe. That's all you need to know about the plot. The movie, some might think is slow, there's no action, it's a head-tripper, and honestly, had I not read the book before and also seen the magnificent Tarkovsky original, I might not have followed what was going on. As such, while I really enjoyed it, I can't call it either a great film nor one that is likely to appeal to a broad cross-section of movie watchers. There are some heady issues surrounding reality, consciousness, life and death, and if you take them too seriously you'll find yourself snoozing.

It's definitely in Soderbergh's style, and it's been fun watching him skip between genres in recent years, but it's more like "The Limey" and less like "Erin Brockovich" if you want to pin it down. While it's not an indy flick -- in the sense it's expensive and bankrolled and produced in Hollywood fashion -- it feels like a small art film or an indy. And please, god, don't expect "Aliens" or "Titanic" because James Cameron's name is over the credits as Producer.

(2) Both the original book and the Tarkovsky film have much to recommend them, although they also share characteristics of being verbally philosophical and talky which this version most assuredly does not. This version is incredibly tight.

(3) If you're a film student or into the mechanics of film, though, this DVD edition is an utter delight.
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By A Customer on March 11, 2004
Format: DVD
Solaris" tells the story of a planet that reads minds, and obliges its visitors by devising and providing people they have lost, and miss. The Catch-22 is that the planet knows no more than its visitors know about these absent people. As the film opens, two astronauts have died in a space station circling the planet, and the survivors have sent back alarming messages. A psychiatrist named Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) is sent to the station, and when he awakens after his first night on board, his wife, Rheya (Natascha McElhone), is in bed with him. Some time earlier on earth, she had committed suicide.
"She's not human," Kelvin is warned by Dr. Helen Gordon (Viola Davis), one of the surviving crew members. Kelvin knows this materialization cannot be his wife, yet is confronted with a person who seems palpably real, shares memories with him and is flesh and blood. The other survivor, the goofy Snow (Jeremy Davies), asks, "I wonder if they can get pregnant?"
This story originated with a Polish novel by Stanislaw Lem that is considered one of the major adornments of science fiction. It was made into a 1972 movie of the same name by the Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky. Now Steven Soderbergh has retold it in the kind of smart film that has people arguing about it on their way out of the theater.
The movie needs science fiction to supply the planet and the space station, which furnish the premise and concentrate the action, but it is essentially a psychological drama. When Kelvin arrives on the space station, he finds the survivors seriously spooked. Soderbergh directs Jeremy Davies to escalate his usual style of tics and stutters, to the point where a word can hardly be uttered without his hands waving to evoke it from the air.
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Format: DVD
I'm really not surprised to see so many negative reviews for this wonderful, dreamlike film; it's certainly not for everyone, especially those who prefer their films pre-digested & undemanding. But for those who are willing to give themselves over to its rich, subtle rhythms, an astonishing experience awaits. An extended meditation on love, loss & memory, this film takes the viewer deep into the heart of Being, far below the trivial layers of the Everyday. George Clooney gives a superb & nuanced performance: a modern Everyman struggling with grief & the limitations of his own imagination, he hopes for that precious second chance we all long for so desperately ... and does he find it? Like so many of the questions raised by this film, the answers are yours to determine.
Walt Whitman once said, "Great poems demand great audiences." And so it is with this film: passive, spoon-fed viewers need not watch. The filmmaker trusts in the intelligence & depth of soul of those who do watch. Everything contributes to the establishing & sustaining of its mood: gorgeous cinematography, haunting music, a tasteful underplaying of special effects.
No, it's not Tarkovsky's masterpiece -- but it's not meant to be, either. Rather it directs a fine & powerful focus on one aspect of its source material, striving for & achieving an emotionally luminous work of Art. Highly recommended!
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Format: DVD
When I read Stanislaw Lem's book many years ago I remember Solaris as a living ocean with peculiar qualities. The planet somehow managed an unstable orbit between two stars. This is what caught earth's scientist's attention in the first place. Part of the search for intelligent life in the cosmos. Lem's intelligent life is wonderfully baffling. He looks at the human need to personify and communicate. But to communicate something you have to have some common ground. Lem's stunning premise was to look at an attempt at human-alien communication very uncompromisingly.
Soderbergh focusses the movie on the question, "How do we perceive ourselves and others and how vital is this to the communication process?" Lem and Soderbergh both see the story from the eys of Psychiatrist Kelvin [Clooney]. Soderbergh's opening scenes stress this man's grief and attempts to recover from his wife's suicide. He's soon asked by a long time astronaut friend for help with a delicate situation on a space station orbiting Solaris. Wham! In no time Kelvin is totally befuddled at the mysteries he sees as he boards the space station. There is almost no dialogue, revealing camera shots period. Two surviving astronauts offer cryptic advice. Snow says "I can tell you what is going on, but that really wouldn't tell you what is going on" Gordon says "Until it happens to you, there is really no point in discussing it". Not much help from our director there. What "happens" is the living ocean presents each astronaut with a dreadful gift.
The alien's "gift" to the earthling's was to generate in near perfect [to atomic] detail, the flesh and blood of whatever life was preoccupying the dreams of the astronauts. Kelvin's visitor is his ex-wife Rheya.
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