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The Solaris mission has established a base on a planet that appears to host some kind of intelligence, but the details are hazy and very secret. After the mysterious demise of one of the three scientists on the base, the main character is sent out to replace him. He finds the station run-down and the two remaining scientists cold and secretive. When he also encounters his wife who has been dead for ten years, he begins to appreciate the baffling nature of the alien intelligence. Written by
This has to be one of the best science fiction movies ever produced. Not because it's filled with gee-whiz gizmos or creepy aliens (it isn't) but because it actually gives you something to think about besides "I wonder how much they spent on *that* shot". When I was a kid, I used to love reading sci-fi because it stimulated my imagination, but as I grew up (especially once "Star Wars" came out), I found that it was harder and harder to find anything remotely resembling imagination or mystery in the genre.
Well, this movie has restored my faith in what is possible to achieve under the guise of "sci-fi" (obviously, it's older than "Star Wars", but I didn't see it until years later, when I had basically written off the whole idea of science fiction movies). I saw it 10-15 years ago when it was re-released in the USA and liked it then, but seeing it again recently has convinced me that this is an all-time classic. As I said, it actually stimulates thought (rare enough in most sci-fi movies), but on top of that, it has a real and profound emotional impact that's far beyond what you find in most "dramas", let alone "kid stuff" like sci-fi. If this movie is intended to be an "answer" to "2001" (I'm not convinced that it is), the main contrast is that "Solaris" concerns itself with real human emotions, whereas the most interesting character in "2001" is the computer.
For those who complain that it's boring, just go see something else. You'll obviously never get it. If the opening shot of water and plant life didn't tip you off to the fact that this movie is intentionally paced a little bit more deliberately than, say, "Buckaroo Banzai", then you should go out and try to get some sort of clue before watching this movie. It's not boring... it's SLOW. It's *meant* to be slow. Some of the scenes exist solely to set a mood, not to advance the plot. If you can't handle that, then this isn't the movie or you. But if you're able to sit still for 3 hours without squirming, and if you're able to enjoy a movie without having every idea spelled out in giant neon letters, then you just might like "Solaris", and find that it haunts you for years to come.
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