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Solaris (2002) Amazon
Director: Steven Soderbergh

This production of Solaris is not based on the Andrey Tarkovskiy Russian film Solyaris of 1972, but rather a new interpretation of the original Stanislaw Lem novel Solaris. This movie is really more of a love story between the two main characters rather than a science fiction drama. The production value on this production is second to none. The look created by Steven Soderbergh and production designer Philip Messina is absolutely wonderful. BTW, Steven was not only the director, but also the Cinematographer/Lighting Designer and Editor of the film.

    • Running Commentary with Steven Soderbergh (director and screenplay) and James Cameron (producer)
    • HBO Special: Inside Solaris
    • Solaris: Behind the Planet
    • Trailers
    • Screenplay

The running commentary with Soderbergh and Cameron is very interesting. They discuss the film on an intimate level, a more personal level, as opposed to a technical analysis of the film. Man, I never had the opportunity to work with Cameron (back when I was in the industry) but, after listening to him on this commentary . . . well, IMO, this guy has one big ego. But, may be that’s what it takes to be one of the greatest directors in history. Anyway, they discuss just about everything about the film. I think, writers, producers, and directors will find the commentary interesting and informative.

HBO Special: Inside Solaris is a 13 minute piece. I did not know that George Clooney lobbied for the role and was, in fact, not the first and obvious choice for the part. He talks about the difficulty in taking on such a role. Jeremy DaviesViola DavisNatascha Mc Elhone, and Ulrich Tukur are also interviewed about their roles. They all give such good insight into their characterizations. This extra feature is also a visual treat.

Solaris: Behind the Planet is an 18 minute piece which is not only about the planet, but really about the entire film. Lots of behind the scenes footage, interviews, outtakes, production video, etc… A nice piece as you get a bit of everything. Including really cool screen tests from a few of the actors. The most famous is the legendary Ulrich Tukur (Dr. Gibarian) video tape where he does his monologue while the camera is pointed at his dog—the entire video! The last part of this extra goes into detail about the planet itself. Beautiful imagery and footage. Did you know they went to 4K resolution for the planet scenes? Man, remember, this is 2002! You also get to learn about some of the very cool set designs.

The trailers include two for Solaris and two for other movies.

The screenplay is text based and you need to forward through it. But, it appears to be complete. I do wish it were available as a pdf or rtf file so one could read it full screen or print it out. As it is, you can only read a few paragraphs at a time.

So, I’d say you still have to check out the extras on this DVD.

I give it ★★★☆☆