Outer Space Story and Down To Earth Script
Solaris (2002) (PG-18)
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: George Clooney, Natascha McElhone
Sci-fi movies can be defined as those in which the extra-ordinary becomes ordinary and the unimaginable becomes easily imaginable. For example, in the first Superman movie (Superman of course is extra-ordinary and unimaginable) Superman flies backwards around the Earth, making time go back by a few seconds so that he could save his ladylove from the quicksand. This may have set an example as people felt that in science fiction movies, one can restore someone’s life. This idea has been used in Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris which released in 2002. George Clooney loses his wife Natascha McElhone in a freak accident and he tries an experiment with NASA which is about the Solaris. He travels on a space shuttle to outer space where they orbit a strange-looking star called Solaris. Clooney is asked to sleep in a specialized room and dream about his wife and as he dreams, we witness her come alive. SHOCKED! Well, it’s science fiction buddy! You gotta believe it! The special effects used here are too normal. The background score is sore and doesn’t change from its melancholy tone. What is good in Solaris, you may ask? Well, it’s a 2hr long drama which has the slowest script, lazier but steadier like the tortoise. It has Clooney who has the most credible acting skills. It has the beautiful Natascha McElhone who cannot change her wide grin which we’ve been seeing since The Truman Show. Frankly, McElhone has put up some effort and has commenced well as an actor. The climax is too old. We’ve seen the same setting and dialogues in many films. It doesn’t confuse us nor do we really care if they’re dead or alive as long as they’re together, what else do we need?
But, on the other side from being a viewer rather than a critic, Solaris is one of those first love-in-space films. The genre is an adapted romantic drama. The production design deserves a merit. And, yes Natascha McElhone is indeed a beautiful woman. Clooney is the right choice as he is the only person to handle these offbeat roles. The film is beautiful for its romance-in-outer space idea. But, you may unnervingly feel bored as the film lacks speed. There isn’t a gripping plot too. It has a lot of loose strings.
Solaris is a love story set beyond the skies. It’s not a feel-good entertainer or a breezy film. It’s got much substance to keep it far from the entertaining genre to a rather serious romantic drama. It’s not a must-watch. But, it can be watched for its peculiar story and setting.