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Old 08-04-03, 11:28 AM   #1
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DVD Talk review of 'Solaris'

When I saw Memento, I was eager to discuss it's twisting plot and ambiguous ending with other viewers, and I rushed to an online discussion group. I was disappointed to find, however, more argument over whether the film accurately depicted the condition of anterograde memory loss than discussion of the film's narrative. I felt the same way upon reading DVD Savant's review of Solaris at

While I would certainly agree that the movie can only tenously be considered science fiction, I don't think that that should necessarily be considered a strike against it. It's certainly true that "Kelvin doesn't have to go halfway across the universe, just to do a romantic self-inventory," but it would be equally true to state that in Vertigo Scottie didn't need to dye Madeline's hair and drag her to the top of a tower to explore what would today be referred to as his "relationship issues."

Without a doubt, most of the conflict and drama of Solaris is internal, which may seem odd to some for a drama set in outer space. However, one must get beyond this point and try to evaluate the film for what it is, rather than what it is not. I don't believe that this is one of Soderbergh's best films, but I do think that it is more interesting and thought-provoking that this review gave it credit for. It is certainly very different than the movie it seems DVD Savant wishes he were reviewing. That's no fault of the filmmaker, though, and no fault of the film.

Last edited by sadako; 08-04-03 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 08-04-03, 01:03 PM   #2
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Not to nit pick on Savantís review, but one of his criticisms that bothered me was this comment:

Since this Solaris concentrates on Kelvin's personal predicament to the exclusion of other concepts (even Lem's basic investigation of the idea of interstellar communication), what we're left with is the examination of the emotional-romantic problems inside Kelvin's head. Telling them doesn't really need an interstellar backdrop. 1 He could just hallucinate new Rheyas on Earth, or clone them physically, if that's all that was necessary.

And expanded upon in a footnote:

This happens all the time in more feeble science fiction stories, that honor the hardware but feature ideas that don't need hardware [emphasis mine] . You don't need a time-travel story, just so the hero can remember something from the past. And Kelvin doesn't have to go halfway across the universe, just to do a romantic self-inventory.

Rather than denigration, I tend to view this approach in a favorable light. Most truly great genre movies explore universal themes that rise above or in someway transcend their genre---we see it time and again in westerns, war pics, sci-fi, etal, where the usual trappings of the genre serve primarily as a backdrop from which the central drama/themes emerge. The Searchers, for example, could be set just as successfully in outer space, the middle ages, or on 20th century city streets. To me, this element is the hallmark that separates a mere genre pic from a greater work of art.
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Old 08-07-03, 04:39 PM   #3
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I, for one, enjoyed the flick a great deal. In fact I rewatched a good portion of it when a friend stopped by so she could see it from the beginning. I thought the film was very subtle with it's delivery but also very thought provoking. I like the popcorn flicks like the rest of them but I also hold dear to my heart stories that 'shake the soul'. Needless to say this film did just that. I was glued to the tube from start to finish without a blink of any eye. I can't recommend this film enough.....but be is a 'thinking mans' film in the same vain as Memento, Donnie Darko.
"Yea, yea, yea. Bake a pie, eat a pie." Mr. Al Bundy
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