I tried to keep the review spoiler-free, but I expect any comments to be as loaded with spoilers as the comments on Planet of the Apes. You’ve been warned.

Premise

A psychiatrist is sent to investigate strange occurances on board a
space station.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

George Clooney
as Chris Kelvin.
Natascha
McElhone
as Rheya Kelvin.
Jeremy Davies as
Snow.

Viola Davis as
Helen Gordon.

Written and directed by Steven
Soderbergh
.

Based on a story by Stanislaw Lem.

The full IMDB page is here.

High Point

“You’ve definitely chosen the right guy.”

Low Point

The ads I’ve seen for this were in no way representative of the movie
that it is. A lot of people will be disappointed, initial word of
mouth will be bad, and the box office results will not be
representative of what this film deserves.

The Scores

This is not a terribly original movie. Imagine taking
2001, removing the sense of exploration and growth of the
human race, and adding a hackneyed love story. This is not a bad
movie, but I don’t think it added anything new to the history of
cinema. I give it 2 out of 6.

The effects were flawless. Most were the surface effects of
Solaris itself, but the outer shots of the ship, the airlock, and some
other effects were there too. Soderbergh also has the sense to use
effects only when they fit into the story. Unfortunately, there were
no effects we haven’t seen somewhere before. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is more about interactions than plot. There are
puzzles to solve, and numerous uses of imagery to draw parallels, but
the plot is not complicated. (I would like to read the book to see if
that is where this comes from. The only Lem I’ve read so far is
The Futurological Congress, which I cannot recommend enough,
especially for a marathon read.) I give the story 4 out of 6.

The acting from most of the cast, is decent, but not great.
In what may be one of the homages to 2001, the characters are
often cold and emotionless. Jeremy Davies is the exception, and is
truly excellent in his role. (He was great in Million Dollar
Hotel
, too.) I give the acting 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was sparse. We never
really have any reasons to like or care about these characters before
they are placed in mortal jeopardy. The first act that produced a
strong response was the final one, which was just too little too
late. I give it 3 out of 6.

The production was exceptional, especially when viewed as a
tribute to 2001. There are some images that are
unquestionably designed to remind people of Kubrick’s film. The
direction is as excellent as it usually is from Steven Soderbergh.
The music was used sparingly and effectively. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this will probably be enjoyed by those that enjoyed
2001, such as myself. The rest of the population, like the
four people I saw it with, will probably hate it. This review is
about my opinions, though, so I’ll give it 4 out of 6. I’m happy I
watched it, but I wouldn’t buy it.

In total, Solaris received 27 out of 42.