Solaris Criterion as Blind Buy?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by WillKTaylor, May 2, 2004.

  1. WillKTaylor

    WillKTaylor Stunt Coordinator

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    Watched Soderberg's (spelling) Solaris last night. I enjoyed the plot and concept of the story, but I had some problems with a few other points. For instance, the rough cutting towards the end of the film made it more difficult to follow than I would have liked. The pacing was a bit off, especially when Kelvin began to turn adamantly neurotic about his "wife's" return. It seemed somewhat unrealistic to me, but then again, maybe that's precisely the idea. Although the follow through his metamorphosis from being a mild mannered, withdrawn, objective individual to a blubbering, emotional one seems a bit weak to me, imho.

    Anyway, the stronger conceptual points I am interested in pursuing and was wondering if Tarkovsky's version hits upon these at a deeper and cleaner level than I believe Soderberg achieved. Would this be a good blinder for the price?

    Thanks ..
     
  2. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    I would not recommend Tarkovsky's Solaris as a blind buy.
     
  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Nor would I. It makes the George Clooney version look like a cliffnotes version. Take the kazillion hour car ride, for example...
     
  4. Sean Campbell

    Sean Campbell Second Unit

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    Well, I personally regard Tarkovsky's movie as one of my all time favourites. Well worth a look. That said - it may not appeal to everyone so I'd recommend renting it first. I think it's considerably better than the recent US version
     
  5. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    I would buy the tarkovsky. Tarkovsky is unique, for sure, but if you are a film buff, worth the buy. His films will stay with you the more times you see them as well. A very wonderful visual piece it is too, his films. And yes, they are extremely tedious, but that's a big part of the point. That's one of tarkovsky's things, both his pans, and his "playing with time" filmmaking ideas. he sure does play with a LOT of time.

    I haven't gotten the guts to see the remake of it. I may, but I have the feeling it's probably not worth my time. I will at some point though...
     
  6. Terry St

    Terry St Second Unit

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    Soderbergh's version is actually a pretty good remake. He managed to compress the majority of what was in Tarkovsky's version into a film over an hour shorter without totally screwing up the feel and meaning of the film. Still, that should tell you something about Tarkovsky's version! It's a butt-number. If you can rent it, do so. It's worth seeing at least once but you might not want to sit through it on multiple occasions. Soderbergh's version, on the other hand, is short enough that you can watch it repeatedly provided you like the music.

    Soderbergh's version, being made 30 years later, obviously has a huge edge in the special effects department. However, one thing that surprised me is how well some of Tarkovsky's film holds up. Tarkovsky's sets are simply perfect. They're far superior to Soderbergh's and pretty much any other sci-fi flick out there. They cost a mint and it shows! When Kelvin's wife commits suicide by drinking liquid oxygen it's a far more chilling death in Tarkovsky's version. Tarkovsky really pulled that scene off, while Soderbergh's version looks a little cheesy by comparison. In general, I'd say Tarkovsky did a better job of evoking the horror of Kelvin's wife's situation. To be not quite human, not quite whole, and unable to die... Very chilling. Soderbergh conveyed this too, but not as effectively in my opinion. Tarkovsky also pulled off a highly impressive zero-G sequence that didn't show up in Soderbergh's version at all. There are some pretty big down-sides to Tarkovsky's version too. In one scene he creates a city of the future by using footage from Tokyo and a few mirrors. The first time I saw it I was left scratching my head for a bit trying to figure out what all the Japanese signs were doing in a Russian film!

    Criterion's DVD of Tarkovsky's Solaris is a real treat. It's easily one of their best transfers. The print they got must have been pristine, because the image is flawless. It really is a sumptuous feast for the eyes!
     
  7. Tim-H.

    Tim-H. Second Unit

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    I loved both, and the Criterion edition is super.

    But I've heard so many mixed reactions to Tarkovsky
    I'd recommend a rental first, if possible. If you do like it,
    check out Stalker!
     
  8. Nathan V

    Nathan V Supporting Actor

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    Do not buy Tarkovsky movies blind, unless you are already familiar with the man's work. Let me just say you better not have ADD.
     
  9. andrew markworthy

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    I wouldn't recommend the Tarkovsky version. I can happily sit through Ingmar Bergman's and Peter Greenaway's movies, but I found Solaris tedious and self-indulgent.
     
  10. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Soderbergh: 99 minutes

    Tarkovsky: 165 minutes, but feels like 265 minutes (is IMDB correct? I could have sworn it was over 3 hours, but it's been a long time since I've seen it). [​IMG]

    The original Solaris makes Kubrick's 2001 look like an MTV music video. Whether or not you should purchase it depends a lot on whether you dig those sorts of films.
     
  11. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    He didn't totally screw it up, but he did make a bland film filled more with gestures than bold strokes, possibly as a result of approaching the material with a tad too much reverence. He didn't make a Soderbergh film; he tried to make the Cliff's Notes version of a Tarkovsky film. Didn't work. We coult go into how T's unique use of cinematic grammar and approach to capturing "real time" within the frame requires the lingering shot, the natural rhythm of life, etc. etc., but the basic upshot is that Soderbergh's film does not create something akin to a highly-suggestible hypnotic state in the viewer allowing the artist to "reveal one's soul to oneself".

    Of course, for many viewers this "highly-suggestible hypnotic state" is never achieved; rather a real dream-state is substituted as they snooze on the couch thru the final 2-1/2 hours. Tarkovsky's movies simply don't appeal to everyone. But cutting a Tarkovsky movie down to essential plot elements totally misses the point of what Tarkovsky attempted to achieve in cinema. And I have no idea why Soderbergh thought this was a good idea. I think he'd have been better off remaking Lem's novel as a film, than remaking Tarkovsky's film (which, despite any assertions to the contrary, is not what he did).

    (Though he does remove certain themes that seemed to be highly significant to Tarkovsky, and the opening sequence at Kelvin's father's dachau - generally, the favorite sequence among Tarkovsky fans in this particular film - is barely even glossed over. I believe this section was entirely T's invention - that is, not in Lem's novel - but it set up the primary universal themes that Tarkovsky was addressing. You know... everything in addition to Kelvin's guilt over his [SPOILER-SPOILER].)

    And can someone remind me how Soderbergh concluded his film? (In spoiler blocks.)
     
  12. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I said this in another thread: anything by Tarkovsky is the opposite of a good blind buy. Which obviously says nothing about the quality of the man's work, just it's accessibility.

    --
    H
     
  13. Dennis Pagoulatos

    Dennis Pagoulatos Supporting Actor

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    I loved the Tarkovsky version, it's far superior to the update in just about every way. But I wouldn't recommend it to anybody as a blind buy.

    -Dennis
     
  14. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Tarkovsky all the way. For elaboration, Rich's post will suffice.
     
  15. Alexey

    Alexey Extra

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    Ñîëÿðèñ / Solaris - is not a blind buy.
    I love this movie, but quite a few people will not like it.
    So rent it first.
    As to other movies by Tarkovsky,
    I suggest to watch them in th following order:
    Àíäðåé Ðóáëåâ / Andrei Rublev
    Ñòàëêåð / Stalker
    Çåðêàëî / The Mirror
    Íîñòàëüãèÿ / Nostalghia
     
  16. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Which is what happened to me when I watched it. Then I woke up, and found out not much happened.

    No, this is not a blind buy choice.

    Jason
     
  17. Eric.

    Eric. Stunt Coordinator

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    I regard Tarkovsky as the greatest cinematic poet that ever lived but it's hard to recommend any of his movies as a blind buy.You have to ready to invest a large amount of time and attention to get the full impact of his work.Multiple viewings of all his movies are mandatory.
    Having said that this is the best place to start if you want to get to know the work of a true genius of film.The criterion dvd of Solaris has the most unbelievable and stunning looking transfer of a movie of this vintage that i have ever seen,it is simply breathtaking to behold.Well worth seeking out for a rental to see if you can connect with his visual style.
    My favorite tarkovsky movie is Nostalghia ,also worth seeking out for a rental.I regard it as the most beautiful movie i have ever seen.
     
  18. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

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    $50 would be too much for me to chance on a movie I haven't seen yet...
     
  19. Alexey

    Alexey Extra

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    50$ ? where did you find such a price?
    Check my DVD page, it's 30$ where I buy Russian DVDs
     
  20. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

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    I figured you were referring to the Criterion disc. Criterion discs usually sell for around $40 or $50 in Canada.
     

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