This 1972 film from the Soviet Union has been called a masterpiece by film aficionados across the globe. As you well know by now, film-fags and myself have very different opinions on what constitutes a masterpiece. For them, they like crap. I shouldn’t judge them; everyone is entitled to their own opinion. For me, though, I like movies that are actually good. You know, the opposite of Solaris.
The main character of Solaris is a space psychologist named Kris Kelvin. Oh man, space psychologist, what an awesome profession. How many years of training does one need to get that specialized? Anyway, the crew of the space station Solaris have been acting bonkers, so the Soviets recruit Kelvin to check it out. He reluctantly agrees to go. He spends the first thirty minutes of the movie sulking.
Once he arrives, he finds the space station in disarray. One of the crew members (a friend of Kelvin’s) had committed suicide, and the other two act evasive and batty. Kelvin starts hallucinating his dead wife (also a suicide), which he promptly launches into space.
First, you should never get involved with Kelvin. Chances are you’re going to end up killing yourself. He’s just that bland a person. You’d rather be dead than around him. Second, how hilarious is it that he jettisons a hallucination into outer space? Yeah, that’s totally going to solve the problem.
Later, the dead wife returns. The movie conjures up some mumbo-jumbo about the hallucinations being the real manifestations of “neutrino systems” from the planet Solaris orbits. It’s a bullshit, hand-waving attempt to reasonably explain a preposterous scenario.
By this point in the film, Kelvin has done nothing but sulk around the space station. He’s the human manifestation of Eeyore. Just watching him makes me want to gouge my eyes out. Becoming bored by the long stretches of silence and nothingness the film has attacked everyone with so far, Kelvin’s hallucinated wife kills herself again! Kelvin is such a sad-fucking-sack that his wife kills herself TWICE to get away from him.
The three scientists aboard Solaris discuss how to destroy the evil presence on the planet below. They decide to beam Kelvin’s brainwaves at it. After all, if just being around him makes his hallucinations want to die, then what chance does the planet have?
Eventually, the scientists blast Kelvin’s brainwaves at the planet. After that, the evil presence stops coming. Apparently, he is so fucking morose, such a gigantic loser, that he kills an entire planet with his thoughts. It’s no wonder the Soviets lost the Cold War. Maybe if they smiled once in a while they would have won.
The problem with Solaris is that it’s fucking BORING. It’s three goddamn hours long, and it’s virtually all wasted time. There is a scene where we watch a passenger ride in the back seat of a car, uninterrupted, for over ten minutes. That’s right, it’s even longer than the opening scene of Manos: The Hands of Fate. Solaris has a pointless driving scene that is even longer than the pointless driving scene in the worst movie ever made! And Solaris is considered a classic! At least Manos was funny…
All of Solaris is like that. It’s slow-paced to the point of exhaustion. Nothing happens for minutes on end with characters staring into nothingness, sighing heavily at how miserable they are. And with the main character being such a drab piece of shit, it’s impossible to care about anything that happens to him. It’s the cinematic equivalent of watching paint dry.
Check out these other entries in the Classically Shitty series: