Monday, January 19, 2009


SCIENTIFIC FACT LEARNED: If we are to survive the future, we’re going to need balls. Glowing balls.


A post-apoc Pappy O’Daniel, Tony Hawk the Slayer, non-hippy Eco-Warriors, another sorry fate for Ursa, the genius Deluise, Lukas Haas no choice but to be in this movie, a breakin’ Solarblacky, a pre-Heroes embarrassment less embarrassing than Heroes, a glowing soccer ball that out-acts everyone, and 2121 Jump Street.

More details here.


In the future, there will be no water, no government, and no freedom. But, there’ll be plenty of available rollerskating parks.

Here, the Solarbabies, a ragtag team of teen rollerskating rebels, flourish. The gang includes leader Jason (Jason Patric), whiney girl Terra (Jamie Gertz), brainiac Metron (James LeGros), brute Tug (Peter Deluise), dancin’ token Rabbit (Claude Brooks), and cute kid Daniel (Lukas Haas). These children of tomorrow are kept in prison-like orphanages ruled by a benevolent caretaker (Charles Durning) but are nonetheless spoon-fed the fascist ideals of the Protectorate, a totalitarian state ruled by the remnants of the great Eco War, and I ain’t talking Umberto. One day while fleeing the E-Police, Daniel stumbles upon a glowing ball that seems to be intelligent, powerful, and able to make it rain indoors. The ball identifies itself as Bodhi, a mystical object from outer space that may hold salvation for the Earth.

Their efforts to crack the mysteries of Bodhi are met with the vile mechanizations of the villainous Grock the Scriptor (Richard Jordan), a cross between a Gestapo and Bison.

And besides Grock, the Solarbabies must contend with mad scientist Shandray (Sarah Douglas) and Evil 80s Blonde Kid.

Bodhi is stolen by sullen loner Darstar (Adrian Pasdar), another mystical character, one of the last of a native people known as the Chicani who communicate with birds and no longer drive low-riders.
Darstar recognizes the significance of Bohdi and travels to see the last of his people in hopes the power can be contained. The Solarbabies escape the orphanage to seek out Bohdi and are pursued by Grock, the E-Cops, bounty hunters, and a less than 100-minute running time. They run into Darstar at a post-apoc costume party, but by that time Grock has taken the Bohdi to Shandray to destroy it. Lost in the desert, the gang meets up with a peaceful group of Lawrence of Arabia enthusiasts.

They recuperate, wash their socks, and crank the rollerskating volume to 11 as they seek out Grock, take down Shandray, rescue Bohdi, and save the moisturizer-less Earth from flaky skin.


Maybe this whole month should have been called “Post-Apoc-Tremendo” instead of Planet Tremendo because all I’m running into is a smelly run of post-apocalyptic thrillers. But is my so-called random selection revealing the fact that maybe that’s all there is to sci-fi fare of the last few decades? Well, no, but let’s look at the bigger picture. The Eighties of my youth featured a slate of teen-oriented sci-fi flicks including Explorers, SpaceCamp, and My Science Project that were moderate to non-successes. We also saw the more thriving trend of desert-set post-apocalyptic cheapos that mimicked The Road Warrior such as 2020 Texas Gladiators, Survival Zone, and The New Barbarians amongst a thousand others. And then you had the mini-phenomenon that coupled both genres and threw in rollerskates and field hockey equipment in Rollerboys, Roller Blade, and today’s movie Solarbabies, a Mel Brooks-produced piece of schlock that features no laughs, no excitement, and no farting cowboys.
But we do get a young Patric looking heroic, a break-dancing scene with Bohdi, and the Deluise deep thought expression. The movie is mostly for kids, despite a few violent parts. And it’s mostly harmless, but not very good. But it’s probably eons more entertaining than its contemporary teen-post-apoc-desert-set-rollerskating contemporaries. There’s little to no character development, but why should there be? The villains are cookie-cutouts, the heroes are cardboard-cutouts, and there’s just not enough rollerskating!

Well, at least it’s not Waterworld

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