Not for the dumb or the navel gazers

Stanley and I finally got a chance to see Solaris -- good thing we went since, at least around here, it appears it's headed for oblivion.

I read the novel (by Stanislaw Lem) the movie is based on so long ago I had forgotten the plot, for the most part, but not the mood. I watched the Russian version, which Stanley dug out of some now-defunct videostore -- I watched the entire movie while Stanley snored away. I thought the Russian version was so stupefying boring that the reviewers who claimed it's a masterpiece just don't want to admit that they fell asleep. "Oh, it's Russian, and there's Philosophy in it, and it's Existential, and therefore it must be a Masterpiece [even though I didn't understand it | fell asleep | screwed while it was on | knit an entire sweater]," they wrote [thought].

As we were going in to the theater, the ticket guy sneered at us. Hmm. I wondered side of the bell curve he falls under. If somewhere on the downward slope, that didn't bode well for the movie.


This movie is excellent. I found it fascinating; the two hours seemed to fly by. The mood was true to what I remember of the novel. The music was perfect. I actually got to think while watching a movie -- how damned wonderful! After it was over I realized why so many people didn't like it: it requires thought, there are no car chases, there are no martial arts, and it takes the time it needs to develop the story. No pabulum for the ADHD generation in this movie.

The acting was superb and the movie was beautiful just to watch. It touched on chords of irony and regret and, yes, existential questions. It leaves a hundred questions unanswered: it's up to the viewer to find the answers, if there are any answers. The impact is subtle, and you don't really notice it until the credits start rolling and you're sitting there saying, "but, but ... " Clooney is good. I believed his fear and confusion and sadness.

Did I have any problems with the movie? Well, really only a couple. I disliked the way Davis played Snow, and Solaris, while beautiful, didn't look like a water world to me.

I would like to see it again within a couple of months to catch the bits I know I must have missed. That, for me, means I like it very much indeed since, unlike Stanley and my nephew Ben (who could watch the same movie a hundred times in a month and be happy about it), I usually prefer to wait years before seeing a movie again. I might even, and this is very rare for me, buy it!
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/13/02 at 09:33 PM
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