How would you compare Solaris to The Matrix (+reloaded)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Paul_Scott, May 17, 2003.

  1. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    wasn't totally smitten with TMR, but i do very much appreciate it as a springboard for discussion and speculation.
    Never got a chance to see Solaris, although it seemed to get a similar rap as being a 'thinking mans' sci-fi film.

    without getting into spoilers, how does it stack up to TMR in that respect and any other?

    does it resolve its questions, or leave the door open to things somewhat?


    and lastly, would you recommned it?


    one thing i suspect, but am not certain about, is that Solaris contains less kung-fu, right [​IMG]
     
  2. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Paul,
    I wasn't a fan of Solaris. But many others smart film lovers really connected with it. I will say there is a lot in there open to interpretation, moreso than Reloaded. It doesn't resolve very much, counting on the viewer for that. It looks great as well. I don't fault the film or the filmmaking for my lack of a connection with it. It might have simply sailed over my head.

    It's worth viewing, if you have the patience and inclination.

    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  3. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

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    Haven't seen TMR, but Solaris(assuming we're talking about Tarkovsky's version), as Chuck said, leaves it to the viewer to make most of the narrative connections. Where films like The Matrix make an effort to explain things, just about every aspect of Solaris is up to interpretation. You'll either find it very affecting or excruciatingly boring. [​IMG]

    I recommend checking out the commentary on the Criterion DVD. It's pretty dry(read from a book, I think), but it helps to explain the various goings-on and what Tarkovsky might've been trying to say. That goes for you, too, Chuck. It's perfect if you suspect the film might've "sailed over your head"(join the club).
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I've seen the original Solaris, and the "re-stylized" remake from last year (Soderbergh's verison), and I can safely say that there's no hint of kung-fu in either films. If you go in thinking you'll be seeing kung-fu, you'll be sorely disappointed.

    Solaris is more about the exploration of regret over the seemingly impossible re-appearance of a deceased love one, and how one would respond if one would get a second chance with them. The original requires the viewer to interpret a lot of what is on the screen, while the remake probably makes a few choices for the viewer, to ease them into the narrative. Both are challenging but in different ways.
     
  5. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    the Kung-fu remark was a joke.

    sounds like Solaris may actually be more up my alley- a 'thinking mans sci-fi chick flick'.

    and i was refering to the Soderbergh version.
    i'll look forward to checking it out in July.
     
  6. Dennis Pagoulatos

    Dennis Pagoulatos Supporting Actor

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    I don't think "The Matrix" is anywhere close to the same league that Tarkovsky's "Solaris" is...it's kinda creepy that we're being invited to compare the 2 films in the same thread! [​IMG] Sure, TMR is fun, and has more brains than your typical Hollywood sci-fi film...but it's still FIRST a visceral action extravaganza and second (a far, distant second) a "thinking person's sci-fi film"...

    -Dennis
     
  7. David Ely

    David Ely Supporting Actor

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    I definitely would not recommend Soderbergh's Solaris to anyone that hasn't seen Tarkovsky's version. Soderbergh's version plays very well as an accompanying piece instead of a stand-alone film.
     
  8. Allan Petersen

    Allan Petersen Stunt Coordinator

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    I never watched the Tarkovsky version and I really got a kick out of Soderbergh's Solaris. While some people would consider that to border on heresy, I felt I connected with it and I'm certainly picking up the DVD in July.

    If I ever get the chance to see the original version I will, but I can't really see how it will change my view of Soderbergh's film as anything but an interesting movie.

    There is very little exposition concerning Solaris which might put some people off. I just accepted the fact that the sci-fi story was secondary to the human drama (I don't want to give too much away).
     
  9. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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  10. Dennis Pagoulatos

    Dennis Pagoulatos Supporting Actor

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    I actually enjoyed Soderbergh's "Solaris" as well, but I agree that it should be viewed more as a companion piece to Tarkovsky's version, and even then, I don't think it's required viewing. But definitely see the original first before bothering with the newer version.

    -Dennis
     
  11. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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  12. JamesH

    JamesH Supporting Actor

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    I won't talk about TMR since there is already a 20 page thread about it, but I'd easily consider Solaris to be the absolute worst movie I've ever seen, bar none. From the acting, to the plot, to the special effects, to the cinemetography, it absolutely fails on every conceivable level. Somehow, the film actually turns into an outer space romance, but the love story is too bizzare and the characters are too unlikeable for it to be stirring in any way. There are actually scenes where the camera slowly pans across a blurry wall for a solid 20 seconds. The music is odd and poorly conceived, and it doesn't fit the movie at all(well, I guess it actually DOES keep in the spirit of the movie). The set looks to be the quality of 80's sci-fi flicks rather than the current standard.

    What's sad is that it could have actually had a decent plot. I read a review that went into great detail about the source material this movie was based on, and it actually seemed to be good movie material. This is just a really horrible and undetailed interpretation and it omits every part of the story that could have been somewhat entertaining. It's the type of movie that a few elitists will rave about to try to distance themselves from the masses.

    Anyways, I won't give away the main plot or ending, but some of the more ridiculous "incidents" are below.

    The main protagonist has been sent to the space station to try to "cure" the people still on it. He encounters a woman who appears to be strung out on crack and will only peek out of her door. She absolutely refuses to come out for any reason at all. About 10 seconds later with no compelling persuasion, she is sitting at the table giving a laundry list of her symptoms and disorders like the next incarnation of Dr. Phil.

    Later, in what should be a sad and touching scene, the protagonist is so disturbed by a clone of his wife that he sends her off to die in a space capsule. However, the way the scene was filmed, with him tricking her into the capsule and her waving out the window as she is jettisoned into space, is absolutely hilarious. The entire audience was laughing at the utter absurdity.

    Somewhere down the line, a different wife clone drinks a bottle of acid(or was it liquid nitrogen?) and kills herself. The protagonist is grief stricken.....until she goes through a bizzare transfiguration and comes back to life. The previously discussed crack whore, always the brilliant scholar, comments "You never do get used to the resurrections.......". And they leave it at that. No development or explanation at all.

    There are about 10 scenes in the movie this bad or worse, but I saw it when it first released and I can't remember them all.
     
  13. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    i seemed to remember hearing that Solaris was the kind of movie that required patience, attention, and that the viewer had to bring something to the work to get anything out of it.

    TMR has spurred a lot of discussion over mean and symbolism of activity, language, dialouge, etc and i was wondering if Solaris was along these lines also.
    that's all.
    i realize that Solaris isn't an action movie (from bad reviews i 've heard its actually an in-action movie).

    just wondering if it is worth the effort and ESPECIALLY, if it, like TMR, works well for multiple viewings.
     
  14. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

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    That line was in the original, too, and there wasn't any explanation. It tells me the other occupants of the station have tried to kill their "visitors" as well. Given that these visitors are drawn from very personal memories and emotions, don't you think such an occurrence would be hard to witness?
     
  15. Terry St

    Terry St Second Unit

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  16. RobD

    RobD Second Unit

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    I saw the remake Solaris after a good 30 hours of no sleep and needing to wind down from work, it woke me up. Im not a big fan of all slower paced films either, Spider bored me.

    A great film and I'd like to see the original. Im still havent seen Reloaded but Im unsure of how they could have much in common, suppose I'll have to see for myself.
     
  17. Doug:Li

    Doug:Li Stunt Coordinator

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    I liked SOLARIS quite a bit. I think it was a really underrated film. Clooney was quite good in it. I think people get po'd that its not a slam bang action movie. It DOES require you to think and bring your own ideas into it. It doesnt spoon feed you its' message. It just presents it and lets you figure it out. Its closer to 2001 than the MATRIX: Reloaded.
     
  18. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    I will offer a dissenting opinion from those who suggest the new Solaris as a "companion" piece to Tarkovsky's version. The new one is much closer to the book in intent and narrative. Therefore, it can be argued that it is, in fact, the "real" Solaris.

    Tarkofsky's version is a brilliant film in its own right, but it really says more about Tarkofsky than Lem. There are huge sections in it that do not appear in the novel, especially in the first half.

    You don't need to see one to see the otehr. In fact, I treat them as completely seperate works.
     
  19. John Doran

    John Doran Screenwriter

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  20. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    I saw Soderbergh's version first but I have to disagree that it was inferior to Tarkovsky's sometimes indulgent style. Much of the difference in film length comes from Soderbergh removing the opening Earth scenes that were NOT from the original Lem novel anyway.

    With that said, I otherwise actually found the two films to be nearly identical, both in mise-en-scene, dialog, and story structure. Consider me baffled by anyone who finds one version vastly different/better than the other. The have nuances that are different, but not that different.


    Now in regards to Reloaded I would say this, Reloaded is a film that left me thinking and discussing quite a bit (much of it here at the HTF discussion thread, but also with other friends). In that way Solaris is similar, it leaves doors open.

    However, Solaris is more a film in which you are forced to extract the unsaid emotions/narrative during the film while Reloaded's narrative is very clear (at least on the surface level).

    This is not to say that Solaris is confusing, just that in that film its not unusual for the narrative to not bother spelling out what the next scenes will be, the understanding of the string of scenes often must come from simply understanding the characters. Reloaded does tell you what must come next in the story (go here and get this, for example).

    Because Reloaded does not come to a conclusion until the sequel, that also lends to more post-film debating that either Solaris film will. But Solaris are films (either one) that are meant to stimulate you philosophically during the film, not just after. My thoughts were less about "what did that mean" and more about the personal thoughts that the film awoke in me.

    In that way I would compare Solaris more favorably to Waking Life than to Reloaded.



    In summary, I like both versions of Solaris and Reloaded, but I don't think you should expect the same type of mental experience. I think both can stimulate thought, but in rather different manners.

    Consider if you like Gattica or 2001 (which Soderbergh cribs many times in his version) rather than Reloaded. The narrative pacing and tone is much more along the lines of those films.


    PS - I also agree with something John touched on above. Both films (counting Solaris as one) touch upon DIFFERENT philosophical issues (and some the same, like how we perceive our identity). It is much like reading philosophers of different branches who focus on different issues. But both have things there for the taking I think.
     

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