Fear not, Clooney fans. Those two already-infamous shots of George's butt are alive and well in the long-talked-about but barely-anticipated Solaris -- a remake of the equally infamous 1972 Russian sci-fi epic (known for its stark photography, a near-three-hour running time that challenges even the most patient viewer, and a reputation for being utterly incomprehensible). I'm pleased to say that the remake is less stark, substantially shorter (97 minutes or so), and makes a little more sense. That said, I'd rather have been watching the original film.

The story is relatively faithful to Tarkovsky's flick. Distraught widower/shrink Chris Kelvin (Clooney) receives a distress call of sorts from a friend aboard a distant space station, then gears up to go to his rescue. Once he arrives at the station, orbiting a mysterious, glowing-pink planet called Solaris, Kelvin encounters a skeleton crew of surviving crewmembers, including the not-quite-right Snow (Jeremy Davies) and the ultra-paranoid Gordon (Viola Davis). It's not spoiling much to reveal that before his first night on the space station is over, Chris also encounters his dead wife Rheya (Natascha McElhone).

Continue reading: Solaris (2002) Review