Movie Title: Solaris (2002)
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.
Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo
Where did I watch it?: Home
Solaris is the second adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s masterpiece of the same name. The movie lacks some of the fundamental feeling and wonder that the novel possesses, but retains many of its core elements to put together a decent picture. The main element of the novel that it lacks is the exploratory elements of the novel that made the strange occurrences more of a puzzle to be solved rather than an affliction to be endured.
Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) is a psychologist sent to council the members of a research station around the planet Solaris. Solaris is a mysterious planet primarily composed of water with very little land paired with cloud formations that project into space after his old friend Gibarian (Ulrich Tukur) sends him a cryptic message. Gibarian tells him that there are strange occurences and that his psychological skills are needed to council the crew through their ordeal. The message is vague, but leaves Kelvin in a state of interest.
When Kelvin arrives on the station he discovers that Gibarian and another member of the crew are dead. Everyone else has gone into hiding and have at least partially lost their mind. After interviewing the crew he discovers that Gibarian killed himself for unknown reasons and that the crew will not talk about their experiences until Kelvin begins to experience things for himself. He quickly does when his dead wife Rheya (Natasha McElhone) appears in his room. The crew are experiencing a sort of waking vision where loved ones from their past are generated in the flesh in their presence. But, they are not quite whole. They lack certain memories and are impervious to death.
Moral dilemmas arise as Clooney and the rest of the crew debate the moral ethics of returning to Earth without having resolved the problem. The commander of the expedition insists that they try and obliterate the visions before returning to Earth because of the chance of possible contagion. Kelvin struggles against the rest of the crew to try and save his wife.
Solaris is not as good as the book, but is a decent science fiction romance with minor performances from John Cho, Viola Davis, and Jeremy Davies. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: The Forest (2016)