Dennis D. McDonald ( is an independent consultant located in Alexandria Virginia. His services and capabilities are described here. Application areas include project, program, and data management; market assessment, digital strategy, and program planning; change and content management; social media; and, technology adoption. Follow him on Google+. He also publishes on and aNewDomain.

Steven Soderbergh's SOLARIS

Steven Soderbergh's SOLARIS

Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald

The HBO FIRST LOOK contained on this DVD repeatedly warns viewers they are in for a romantic, psychological, and emotional film with atypical science fiction elements. In their commentary track, director Soderbergh and producer Cameron make similar comments. They (somewhat wistfully) wish they could have captured these sensibilities in the advertising associated with the film so that people could have gotten an accurate view of what was in store for them on the screen.

No matter. The film superbly rendered on this DVD bears repeated watching. All aspects are masterfully done. It is an adult, literate, and intelligent film that swings back and forth between intellectual challenge, mystery, and wrenching emotion. The music and visuals are stunning. The performances of George Clooney and Natascha McElhone are top flight. The planet Solaris is a major character as well, evolving throughout the film from an ethereal, lovely, placid globe to an angry red menacing apparition.

Listening to the commentary you realize how many avenues the producer and director could have gone down, but Soderbergh’s vision and good instincts ultimately won out. Here’s hoping, though, that a Director’s Extended Vision someday makes its way onto DVD. Based on the commentary, it sounds like a lot of really good stuff was left on the cutting room floor.

Review copyright (c) 2010 by Dennis D. McDonald

Richard Donner's 16 BLOCKS