This is a very original movie and concept. Very fanciful. It took a while to learn what some of the words meant (in the middle there is a cheat-sheet) and to realize the aliens were telepathic. That is part of the charm because you have to read between the lines and pay attention. The alternate social structures are rather intricate. Sociologists would have a good time watching this. All the characters are scheming and double-crossing each other, yet they manage to work together. There is a definite anti-authority tone to it.
I believe this is a remake of a Soviet-era film. I could not find that version. I'm glad this one uses modern animation as I could not imagine how a Soviet film could possibly depict these scenes using Solyaris-type technology.
I've seen the original now. The special effects were not terrible. I still like the newer animated version better. The original had some confusing, superfluous parts that didn't make sense like a detour and time travel. The animated version is practically exactly the same, except the roles of the Russians are modified, the animation allows grander, larger scenes that would not be possible back then, and introduces the robot, which adds complexity to the character interactions. The robot would not have been possible back then either. The robot has its own well defined character as well. The same director directed both movies. I believe he had a lot of time to put some thought into this movie and tweaked it and improved it where it needed it. I will say I was impressed by the sound design of the original movie. For some reason, I pay attention to sound design and notice original, unique, and detailed sounds in movies. The original could have won an award for that.
Review by starrychloe from the Internet Movie Database.