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second time around - classic
Seen the Tarkovsky film, read the Lem novel - all that's irrelevant. Forget re-make bashing and any kind of comparison - it's usually a pointless pursuit for trainspotters. I should know, I am one!
I first saw this movie dead-beat on a plane back from New York, very very sleepy and was mostly captivated by the drifting music while I dozed off. That time around I was annoyed by the glamorous looking couple in the movie. However, I wanted to hear the music again so bought the DVD and re-watched it all the way through while wide awake. Now the whole movie seems like one long dream itself, haunting and beautiful. I agree that other movies, and the original movie and book, deal with philosophical issues at greater length, but despite being fairly cold itself, this is a film about emotions and is intensely visual. Lots of sly visual allusions to other films, including obvious ones to 2001, but that always was one crazy hippy movie!
Anyway, I would definitely recommend this, 10/10, if you have time, and I agree with another commentator, watch it with your lover/partner! It demonstrates that not all US movies have to be big bucks blockbusters or grungie indie movies - there's room for pure cinema (now what does that mean? :-)
Breakfast of Champions (1999)
You're right it's not Vonnegut, it's Rudolph and it's great!
Let's skip the "it's not like the book" stuff - I've read and loved all V's works, like most of the commentators here, but this is a film in it's own right. Yes the happy end is a bit unoriginal, but also unsurprising in a major league film like this. Can't expect miracles :-)
It's also greatly superior to Fear and Loathing, mostly thanks to the superb performances.
It didn't 100% click for me - perhaps Willis was a little too distant sometimes, but the film contained some hilarious moments, especially those involving Nick Nolte, and some moving moments such as Kilgore's encounters with mirrors. It was great to see such big movie names involved in this pretty risky off-beat movie. Visually beautiful too - even the toxic slime!
So if you're a Vonnegut fan just be careful when you go to the film - leave your righteous reader's indignation at home, and if you haven't read Vonnegut, this film should definitely make you want to.