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Solaris 2002 and 1972 Movie Reviews

Solaris Movie Review 1972 and 2002

There is a great awakening in the orbit of Solaris.

Solaris 1972 movie poster

Solaris will give you what you bring with you.

I had no details to the plot or concept of Solaris, but I love science fiction as an environmental set piece and I figured George Clooney signed on so it must be interesting. The plot revolves (literally) around a mysterious planet called Solaris that resembles Earth in a primordial state and is actually an alien conscience. The crew of a research station in orbit begins to experience strange phenomena based on their personal histories. The story is based on a 1961 novel by Stanislaw Lem. There is the ‘Russian’ movie version from 1972 by director Andrew Tarkovskiy and the 2002 retelling by Steven Soderbergh.

Without reading the source novel, I can’t really go into which version is truer or captures the spirit of the novel better and I also don’t think it’s worth the effort to propose which movie version is the one to see. I think the concept stands alone enough- as a thought-provoking mechanism so both movies should be seen. There are small changes and some big changes between movies. I think these are welcome and in many ways justify the 2002 revisit. I would like to go further into plot details, but I really think you should be surprised and walk into the movie knowing as little about Solaris as scientist/psychologist Chris Kelvin (George Clooney). He’s privy to a cryptic message from his university mentor and asked to investigate the strange happenings at the orbiting space station. When he arrives all is not what it seems.

Solaris 2002 movie poster

He will discover the her in himself.

These are slow-paced movies that learn on hard sci-fi so do not expect action or a big alien revel ending. These are emotionally driven stories that happen in a sci-fi environment. By the end you should be in a state of thoughtful brooding. The 1972 movie left me thinking about what I would do if I were Kris Kelvin and the 2002 version left me wondering about what I would experience, personally, if I were sent to Solaris. It does make you think about your own life and the memories (haunting or happy) that we carry around that define our own perception of self based on past actions and in-actions.

Solaris 2002 movie poster

This is an exploration of the human condition by an alien presence that does not understand us, but wants to. How can it- when we do not understand ourselves? Both these movies belong in the collection (or the collective memory) of anyone who is into hard science fiction.

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  1. January 6, 2014 at 7:01 pm

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