Sunday, April 7, 2013

Solaris (2002)

Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney turned in one of the biggest Hollywood head scratchers of all time when they took a crack at Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris. Taking a slightly different take on the story, and running about half the time of the Andre Tarkovsky version this film is the same story told in a different way.

What I mean in a different way is that while it obviously has more scifi gadgets in it, it also is more interested in additional notions beyond the themes that Tarkovsky examined (one need only see the end for that)

This film is one of those films that people either love or hate. Most people who need action in their films or expect monsters in their science fiction hate the film. When the film came out I know the film completely confused some people who couldn’t understand what George Clooney was doing in a science fiction film, especially one like this. On the other hand anyone who liked heady ideas or was at least familiar with the original film was more open to what the film was doing.

I love the film. I liked that there was a point about half way in when the film stopped following the Tarkovsky film and started to go into other directions. Sure I was enjoying the film up to that point, but once it started to go into new directions I really liked it since it showed how much fertile material can be gotten from the same story. (I can’t go into the differences since they give away plot points and unless and until you see the films they won’t mean anything to you)

Helping the film find it’s own footing is the films score by Cliff Martinez which is actually one of the finest scores of the last 15 or 20 years. It’s a score that sets a mood and place and really sets the film apart.

This is a stunning achievement, and  ultimately the equal of the earlier classic film.

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