2.9 11
Director: Steven Soderbergh

Cast: George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Jeremy Davies


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Previously adapted for the screen by legendary Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanislaw Lem's philosophical sci-fi mind-trip gets a reworking by director Steven Soderbergh and arrives on DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox. Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the cool blue hues of the space station are rich and deep, with earthbound scenes offering a… See more details below


Previously adapted for the screen by legendary Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanislaw Lem's philosophical sci-fi mind-trip gets a reworking by director Steven Soderbergh and arrives on DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox. Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the cool blue hues of the space station are rich and deep, with earthbound scenes offering a seductively organic and effectively warm contrast. Much of this film is fairly dark, with solid blacks and near-perfect skin tones making for a beautiful presentation. Additionally, the 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround audio track makes good use of the minimal audio scheme of the film as well as composer Cliff Martinez's rich but restrained score. A commentary track featuring both director Soderbergh and producer James Cameron proves both enticing with its tales of what was left on the cutting room floor, and frustrating for fans of the film who would have liked to have seen more. The two seem to respect one another's visions even if those visions aren't always on the same wavelength, and their easy rapport makes for an interesting listen as they discuss some of the more philosophical angles of the story and their impressions of the final product. Likewise, an HBO making-of special and a featurette entitled "Solaris: Behind the Planet" offer interesting perspectives on the production, as well as providing a tantalizing glimpse of what might have been. Viewers with a fondness for the written word can view the screenplay. And a theatrical teaser and trailer round things out nicely.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tony Nigro
In this underappreciated remake, director Steven Soderbergh breathes new life into author Stanislaw Lem's metaphysical sci-fi tale. George Clooney is Chris Kelvin, a psychologist sent to investigate strange happenings aboard the space station Prometheus, which orbits the oceanic planet Solaris. Once aboard, Kelvin finds two of the four crew members dead and the two survivors in psychological shock, and he soon discovers the cause: "visitors," inhuman manifestations inhabiting various recesses of the Prometheus crew's memories. Kelvin's own visitor appears in the form of his deceased wife (Natascha McElhone), and it is here that Soderbergh's contemplative film truly whirls into the realm of the mind-bending. Less science fiction and more existential relationship drama, Solaris appears to take its cues less from Lem's original story than from Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 film adaptation -- not to mention some heavy references to 2001: A Space Odyssey. And while it is less languorous and intense than Tarkovsky's film, Soderbergh's beautifully shot picture retains both the intellectual ambition and poetry of the original. Clooney maintains his ranking as the director's best-used star; his trademark sideways charm is well balanced with a tight-lipped quality reminiscent of Tarkovsky's leading man, Donatas Banionis. (That Clooney bears a passing resemblance to Banionis helps, too.) Though coolly received at the box office -- and understandably so, as this is no Matrix -- Solaris manages to respect and recall its source material while achieving its own unique dignity.
All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
Easily the strongest of the melancholic sci-fi studio pictures to arrive in post-millennium multiplexes (see also A.I., Vanilla Sky, and Minority Report), Solaris represents yet another curve ball from jack-of-all-trades director Steven Soderbergh: a minor-key space-travel lament told with deliberate echoes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Rather than being a show-offy attempt at a genre he's never covered, however -- "look, ma -- sci-fi!" -- Soderbergh's adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's novel might be the filmmaker's most personal project. One could speculate that by shifting the focus of the source material from the mysteries of space and existence to the larger and perhaps more-baffling puzzle of love and devotion, Soderbergh is in some small way working through his own failed marriage. At the very least, it's his most passionate exploration of two pet themes that run through all of his films: memory and regret. Reigning in the potential for pop-psychological blather is George Clooney, whose passionate, carefully modulated performance requires him to call up not only his usual reserves of sex appeal and smirky charm, but also his heretofore unexploited paranoia and vulnerability. The project is a quantum leap for Soderbergh the cinematographer, too; the grungy, off-the-cuff stylist of Traffic and Full Frontal offers up a steely, black-and-blue vision of the future that's punctuated by red, hazy flashback sequences and deliberate, methodical long takes, all the while exhibiting his unerring sense of camera placement. Ponderous in the best sense of the word, the resolutely unsuspenseful project may not have served up the requisite thrills for genre fans, but that's to be expected -- Solaris has far more to say about universal human truths than it does science fiction.
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers
Clooney brings raw intensity to his role; his scenes with McElhone are rooted in a fierce romantic yearning.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
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.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Closed Caption; Full-length audio commentary by director Steven Soderbergh and producer James Cameron; HBO making-of special; "Solaris: Behind the Planet" featurette; Original screenplay; Theatrical teaser & trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
George Clooney Dr. Chris Kelvin
Natascha McElhone Rheya
Jeremy Davies Snow
Viola Davis Dr. Helen Gordon
Ulrich Tukur Gibarian

Technical Credits
Steven Soderbergh Director,Screenwriter
Peter Andrews Cinematographer
Steve Arnold Art Director
Charles V. Bender Co-producer
Mary Ann Bernard Editor
Dawn Brown-Manser Set Decoration/Design
Milena Canonero Costumes/Costume Designer
Cinesite Animator,Special Effects
Keith P. Cunningham Art Director
Andrea Dopaso Set Decoration/Design
Greg Jacobs Asst. Director,Executive Producer
James Cameron Producer
Jon Landau Producer
Paul Ledford Sound/Sound Designer
Cliff Martinez Score Composer
Victor Martinez Set Decoration/Design
Philip Messina Production Designer
Kristen Toscano Messina Set Decoration/Design
Jeff Ozimek Set Decoration/Design
Michael Polaire Co-producer
Rae Sanchini Producer
Easton M. Smith Set Decoration/Design
Suzan Wexler Set Decoration/Design

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Kelvin on Earth
2. Visit From DBA
3. "Is That What Everybody Wants?"
4. Kelvin Explores the Prometheus
5. Snow
6. Gordon
7. Debriefing the Crew
8. First Sleep
9. Kelvin and Rheya Meet
10. Waking Up
11. "Can I Come and Sit With You?"
12. Remembering Life With Rheya
13. Rheya Constructs Her Memory
14. Kelvin Leaves Rheya
15. "And Death Shall Have No Dominion"
16. Strategy with Gordon and Snow
17. Gibarian Appears
18. The Resurrection
19. A Chance to Undo Mistakes
20. Fever Dream
21. Kelvin and Gordon in the Cold Room
22. Snow's Visitor
23. "Wear Your Seatbelt."
24. Going Back
25. End Titles

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