Introducing: Solarbabies (1986)

solarbabiesSnow! And lots of it. That’s what I have been facing the past couple of days in my neck of the woods. Snow! About two feet of it to be exact. So what better way to spend a couple of snow days then to curl up on the couch and watch some really cheesy movies courtesy of my online streaming subscriptions. That’s exactly what I did. I was in the mood for something nostalgic, something that I remembered from when I was a kid. So, when I saw the movie Solarbabies pop up as a recommended watch in my Netflix queue, I was quite excited. I don’t remember watching it back when I was younger, but I definitely remember the movie poster for it. I was hoping that as I began watching the film, the movie poster wasn’t going to be the only memorable part of the flick.

Streaming on: Netflix

Directed by: Alan Johnson

Starring: Jason Patric, Jami Gertz, Lukas Haas

Tagline: Who Will Rule the Future?

Rated: PG-13

Number of pointless roller skating scenes: 5

In a post=apocalyptic where water is scarce and is being heavily rationed by a militant government, the story centers on a group of young orphans who are searching for their freedom. From what I can gather, the kids were taken from their parents and placed in orphan schools while their parents were put to work and so that the kids could be trained to become workers themselves. During a forbidden game of Skateball, the team of heroes, called the Solarbabies, are challenged by a rival team, the Scorpions. Upon getting caught playing in the middle of the night, the youngest member of the team, their mascot Daniel hides in a mine shaft and discovers a glowing orb with magical powers that cures his apparent deafness. After learning of the orb’s powers, it is stolen and Daniel sets out to find it which in turn sends the Solarbabies out to find their mascot boy. The orb falls into the hands of the evil dictator who, for some unexplained reason, wants the orb destroyed. Yeah, I know doesn’t make much sense, but hey, so goes the film.

Things you won’t want to miss:

  • Title sequence with 80’s MIDI music, and not that great of music either.
  • Where exactly would one get a pair of rollerskates with headlights attached to them?
  • The combination of lacrosse, hockey, and rollerderby could make for an interesting sport.
  • Jami Gertz was a hottie even back in the day. Still looks really good after all these years. Better think twice however if you plan on putting the moves on her when she has a digging tool in her hand.
  • In post-apocolyptic orphanages, everybody runs everwhere.
  • Skate night at the orphanage!
  • Reading Rainbow animated ball makes everyone happier.
  • Wait a minute…did I miss something about the mascot finding out his ball was gone? Did I doze off? How did he know it was missing? And how did she know that the boy went after it?
  • If one wanted to make an escape, I can’t imagine doing it in broad daylight would be the wisest of options.
  • Skating montage to a real crappy 80’s tune.
  • That poor boy’s shirt can’t decide if it want’s to stay on his shoulders or not.
  • Did you know that whipping a person while wearing roller skates can easily get them over a 50 foot jump,
  • Blondie seems to be the only person in the whole movie who didn’t know about the sphere.
  • Oh my god, first the skates and now the dogs have headlamps on them.
  • Tire Town – Solarbabies version of Mos Eisley.
  • Escaping a burning  town by rolling away in giant tires makes for a pretty dizzying experience.
  • Solarbabies, meet Jesus Christ.
  • Do we really know why the baddies are wanting to destroy the ball anyway?
  • Pole vaulting over an electric fence is powerful enough to knock your skates off while jumping. Thank god they are able to return by the time the landing happens.
  • Dogs like to eat blue Stormtroopers.
  • Robot can not only sense weak spots, but apparently potential pedophiles as well. That guy was going to touch the kid’s ball.
  • Water, water everywhere! And poof…the ball is gone without any explanation. Well, might as well stay consist with the rest of the movie, I guess.

Dreadful Dialogue::

“You fixed my ears, thank you.”

“That guy is a total lunar.”

“I believe this man has soiled himself, wash him.”

“I can’t believe I’m standing here taking to a ball…no offense.”

Final Word:

Overall, not a too terribly bad movie, but highly disappointing. The loose plot and bad editing lost me at times, but for the most part the movie held my interest. Or maybe it was just my interest in Jami Gertz held my attention. The movie did sport quite a good cast, and although the actors didn’t give stellar performances, they were good enough given the material they had to work with. There were many plot points that could have been interesting if they were given the time and developed a little more, such as the whole point of the orb the little boy finds. Instead we get several minutes of needless rollerskating to bad 80’s synthesizer music. The special effects I’m guessing were well done for the time it was made, but they do not hold up well by today’s films. The sets were okay, but Tire Town in particular was really well done in a Beyond Thunderdome/Waterworld kind of way. I tend to enjoy post-apocalyptic movies, but this one just left me wanting a little more. So, I am giving this film only 2 turds in a bag, because it definitely had some things going for it, but definitely wasn’t anywhere near some of the bad movies that I’ve seen so far.

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One thought on “Introducing: Solarbabies (1986)

  1. James says:

    A good review, but I would like to point out that there’s no such thing as too much rollerskating to 80s synth music in a movie. Never 🙂

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