Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Solaris (2002)

Solaris is a 2002 film based on the Stanislaw Lem book with the same name. This book was previously adapted for film in 1972. The 2002 version is directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Viola Davis, Jeremy Davies and Ulrich Tukur. The Younger Son made this selection for us last night.


Moria provides a lengthy comparison of the 2 different versions. The 2002 version comes out on top in 1000 Misspent Hours' comparison. The New York Times concludes:
"Solaris" is a science-fiction film lacking action-adventure sequences. The absence of boyish friskiness, kineticism and pyrotechnics makes it a film that offers no vicarious physical release. Its insistence on remaining cerebral and somber to the end may be a sign of integrity, but it should cost it dearly at the box office.

Roger Ebert says, "It is a workshop for a discussion of human identity. It considers not only how we relate to others, but how we relate to our ideas of others" and in comparing the 2 versions says,
Soderbergh's version is more clean and spare, more easily readable, but it pays full attention to the ideas and doesn't compromise. Tarkovsky was a genius, but one who demanded great patience from his audience as he ponderously marched toward his goals. The Soderbergh version is like the same story freed from the weight of Tarkovsky's solemnity. And it evokes one of the rarest of movie emotions, ironic regret.

Lines from And death shall have no dominion by Dylan Thomas are used throughout the film. There's a clip from the film with George Clooney reciting lines from the beginning of the poem here. The poem ends with these lines:
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

3/26/2009: The House Next Door is talking about it.

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