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Solaris

Starring: George Clooney, Jeremy Davies, Natascha McElphone, Viola Davis, and Ulrich Tukur.
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Rated: PG 13

 

Solaris volleys between genius and garbage for the first half an hour then the odious reality of where we are heading becomes sadly clear.

If Solaris tried a little less to be clever and worked on character development a bit it would have been great. As is however, it's about an hour too long and even the naked shots of an incredibly handsome man (George Clooney) don't make this sterile sci-fi goobly gop more palatable.

Story Goes, Dr. Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) is requested to visit a space station in trouble. He's a psychologist with apparently - though we are never really told - a history as a space cop (Um - ???).

The station is orbiting Solaris; a sea of energy. The station is there to see about potentially harvesting its energy source. When Dr. Kildare, er Dr. Kelvin, arrives he discovers several of the crewmembers are dead. Two rather mad remain; Dr. Gordon (Viola Davis) and Snow (Jeremy Davies). Snow seems a tad strung out. His description of the goings on sketchy and annoying. Dr. Gordon bewildered is in some inner turmoil and scared half nuts. Surviving Space Ship Crew Sci-fi 101.

Ah, but the successful psychiatrist is about to meet someone from his past aboard the craft. But what's this? She's not on the manifest...in fact she's been dead for years? Hmm...

Here's where the genius part - shortly - rears its head. Anyone with a heart will be torn as Dr. Chris is. The alien "energy's" creating physical memories:If you were given a second chance at love…. or more time with a loved one no longer with you…would it matter they may by figments drawn up by an energy source? Hardly. The premise is fantastic and very thought provoking. Dare I say brilliant (it's a remake so don't get too happied up). But the film just has too much time on its hands and nothing to distract us - aside from Clooney's repetitive bum shots natch.

The dialog was stunted to keep the slower audience members guessing, the acting often a Polanski parody and the sets make Star Trek circa 1969 look extravagant. At one point Dr. Chris snuggles into what appears to be the most uncomfortable aesthetically dull bedding in the solar system. So in the future we can harvest energy from other planets and travel about the solar system freely, but Linen's and Things is gone and there will be no fluffy puffs and blankies for our ancestors! The whole set is dull-o-rama and makes Aliens look like Moulin Rouge in comparison.

Come on George! You're better than this snorefest buddy. Though I did thoroughly enjoy his recurring naked-n-frolicking scenes (she said wiping the residual sweat from her moistened brow in visual recall of the manlyberry studmuffin's beauteous buttious).

Speaking of reduction...director extraordinaire, Steven Soderbergh, reduces natural talent Jeremy Davies to a kinetic puppet. His mannerisms down right repellent! Stevo a bit of "subtle" as described in the UCLA Directing Feature Films Manual would have helped. Yech.

The love interest of Dr. Kelvin, Rheya played by Natascha McElphone, was plastic and mannequin like from the get go. I can't really blame the actor...as my mom always says "if you don't have anything nice to say blame the director!" I do in spades.

Not even die-hard sci-fi fans will be able to sink their teeth into this. There's not enough information and the whole shindig is deleted of energy - too bad they didn't siphon a tad of Solaris' bubbling brew and infuse in into their lame sleepy-woo-woo inducing film!

Snack Recommendation: Dinner and another film...

 

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