Mr. Towelhead took a seemingly decent weird movie under the microscope and discovered Goerge Clooney in a sci-fi that had everything going for it. All images are belong to Steven Soderbergh (director) and 20th Century Fox (studio), used for educational purposes to teach you not to mess with creepy little planets.
Mr. Towelhead reviews:
So the movie is a science-fiction, horror, thriller, psycho-drama thingy from 2002 written and directed by Steven Soderbergh, based on the book of the same name by Stanislaw Lem. The movie was distributed by 20th Century Fox. It feels like a mix of high and low budget, although it has a production value of staggering 47 million USD. Some of the visual effects are amazing however there is a general lack of characters and you’ll visit the same locations plenty of times, the movie also “cheats” with excessive flashbacks and dream sequences.
The basic idea of Solaris is the question behind second chances. If you could make it up to someone you are unable to: Would you do it? Or would you do the same? Would you stay inside a dream if that meant seeing dead loved-ones again? Sounds interesting, but…
The thingy boils down to Goerge Clooney going down to a space station around a planet called Solaris, he, as a psychologist is to evaluate what the f* is going on around the spacecraft.
All the while Goergy Boy has his own emotional problems (which bares the question why on Earth was he sent there?). While it sounds logical to send a psychologist to evaluate a situation before spending a lot of resources, at the end of the day I would have loved to see more characters involved in the madness of Solaris :D On that regard, maybe the movie followed the book (few characters) but its not like movies always follow the source material. So there!
Goergy Boy to the rescue!
While the movie “sounds” original it follows a fairly common plot for sci-fi horror. Distress signal, protagonist goes to investigate, crazy things happen, protagonists get caught-up in crazy, protagonist must escape… have fun.
Some of the visual effects are amazing, as mentioned, but they barely compensate for the overall experience. The planet Solaris looks beautiful (from the outside, as they “never” go to it), and the music around it is eerie, but in the end it gets boring as you’ll not visit Solaris and after the hundredth time you see the planet from the station’s windows you’ll begin to hate it (boooooring).
There are some creepy, graphic scenes (like one or two) but they are few and nothing interesting or really creepy happens in between. Barely enough to compensate the lack of characters, scenarios or situations.
The creepy elements per se are, at the end of the day SO UNINSPIRING, and most of all, they aren’t really dangerous or anything. They just… are. The protagonist (George) interacts with them like nothing while some of the others in the station are scared shitless (sorry) for no particular reason. I mean several dudes commit suicide, yet the creepy elements are like… I don’t know… Picture a movie where a dude has to stay home for a few days and crazy things happen, then he realizes his mom bought a cat. Tada. The rest of the movie is the dude playing with the cat. The End.
The visual effects are decent but excessively recycled.
For being a movie staring a psychologist as protagonist the dialogues are dull and uninspiring, and bordering idiotic. Near the end of the movie its like the script writer (apparently Steve, the director) didn’t know what to do and just improvised some Bla, Bla, Bla to cop-out a dead-end around the creepy elements.
The end of the movie poses the dilemma of escaping (and risking contagion) vs staying with the creepy stuff (that isn’t really creepy). And so the emotionally unstable character goes crazy (go figure) and the health concerned character goes home, even though it may seal doom on humanity, because… I mean, why not. Right?
Solaris is a movie that could have been awesome if: 1. It would have gone deeper into the realm of psychiatry. 2. The creepy stuff would have been creepy. 3. Had it featured more characters and locations, or at least less recycled scenes. 4. It would have actually included some horror, at the very least some fear (and not just bad actors saying they are scared). And well, you get the point.
Mr. Towelhead is disappoint:
3 / 10
The music is fairly decent but for everything else the movie creates high expectations through exaggerated acting and slow build-up, but then fails on all accounts to satisfy you. For being a psycho-thriller it is uninspiring and has little to do with psychology. For being horror the creepy/horror factor is dull, boring or curious at best. For being a thriller it cop-outs with ridiculous sci-fi concepts.
Don’t buy, rent or watch for free, Solaris is only good if you want to feel bad and get bored.
Sorry darling but Solaris deserves nothing but one thing…