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Movie Review: Solaris

Story: This is not your usual warp speed, hi-tech outer space film. There are also no (sigh) Starship Captains aboard this sinking craft.

Talented risk taking director, writer and ofttimes producer Steven Soderbergh again tackles a remake as he did in Traffic and Ocean's 11. The film is based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem. It takes place sometime in the future where a NASA probe is orbiting the planet, Solaris. NASA has sold its rights to a private company to investigate the possibility of the planet's commercial use. Weird things are happening on the probe and psychiatrist (George Clooney) goes to investigate and to help get the crew home. Clooney unknowingly packs his own psychic luggage as he travels through outer space.

And that's about it. Not much happens for l-o-o-o-ng periods of time. It is a beautiful film but overly stylized. It is so economically filmed that the script seems to have been left out as well. Some interesting questions are raised about reality and grief but it sorely lacked pizzazz.

Acting: George Clooney is always a treat to look at - but I am not sure about his acting ability. He is more a celebrity than an actor (but he sure is pretty). Natascha McElhone was interesting as the returned wife but there was something a little spooky about her gaze. Viola Davis was fine as one of the stranded astronauts and Jeremy Davies was simply creepy (more on him in 'nitpicking').

Predilection: I like films about outer space and am looking forward to the next Star Trek movie.

Critters: None.

Food: No food, just pills.

Visual Art: None on earth or on the spaceship. However, the Planet Solaris was quite beautiful as the craft hovered over it while in orbit.

Blatant Product Placement: None. Whenever the character appeared in a flashback where products were shown they were deliberately fuzzy.

Soundtrack: Creepy.

Opening Titles: None.

Theater Audience: Four other earthlings.

Squirm Scale: I squirmed waiting for something more to happen.

Predictability Level: After a while I just did not care what happened to anyone. I just wanted to get back to earth.

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: I HATED one of the characters. He played a cool dude in outer space. Every time he appeared on screen the 'outer space' mood was broken for me. There should not be these types of dudes in outer space. It is bad enough they are here on earth.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. I would also suggest any of these other Soderbergh films: Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Traffic, The Limey, Out of Sight, Kafka or Sex, Lies, And Videotape

Length: Under two earth hours.