Chris Kelvin (Clooney), a psychologist, gets sent to a distant space station orbiting a strange planet called Solaris to get the crew back to earth. Earlier attempts to get the people from the station back have failed and he’s their only hope.
When he arrives, only two survivors are still on the station: Snow (Davies) and Gordon (Viola Davies). The rest of the crew have disappeared or committed suicide. After a day, suddenly his wife appears to him although she’s supposed to be dead. Apparantly, Solaris does something with people’s mind that brings back people who in some way are special to them, whether they’re dead or not. Chris sees this as the opportunity to make up for what he’s done wrong in the past and wants to take Rheya back with him, Snow and Gordon back to earth. But that’s without counting Rheya who finds out that she isn’t who she thinks she is…
Sound and Vision:
The image quality is above average with hardly any compression artefacts and good color use. There’s no edge enhancement and the visual effects are shown in all its glory although most of the movie is shot to reflect a rather static image.
The soundtrack has a much similar feeling. There aren’t too many sound effects and everything is kinda static aswell. The dialogues are crystal clear and well-positioned from the center speaker.
We start off the extras with audio commentary tracks by director Steven Soderbergh and producer James Cameron (first commentary track ever from him) Then we go to the “Behind the Planet” documentary which is a big “Making Of” where we get loads of information on the whole movie, how the cast came together, how the special effects were done, etc etc. Only too bad that the tone of the documentary is rather boring and that a tendency to fall asleep cannot be avoided. The HBO special is lighter stuff but doesn’t add much. For the rest we get the theatrical trailer.
Solaris is slow and often reminds us of that other slow space movie “2001: A Space Odyssee”. You expect a quote from HAL2000 any minute but of course it never comes 🙂 Personally I wasn’t all too keen on Solaris but I can understand some people will find it incredible. If you like art-like movies, that is.
Solaris is slow and lives on atmosphere. Unfortunately, the atmosphere is very down and tention is far to be found. To Steven Soderbergh I would say: “Nice try, better luck next time”. To George Clooney who stated in the documentary that he’s ready for something like this I would say: “Better to wait a little longer”.