Without a doubt, this is the best post-apocalyptic roller-skating and breakdancing film about a boy and his alien buddy you will ever see.
I love me a cheesy 80’s fantasy film, but “Solarbabies” takes the cake. The story takes place in a land with no water except what is rationed off to the little isolated tribes of people by the asshole government. Children are stolen from their tribes and raised in prison-like dormitories where they are trained to play a roller-skating sport that is *totally* different from “Rollerball”. One of the kids meets a magical alien glowy sphere named Bodhi, who just happens to be prophesied to free all the water in the land. Thereafter, Bodhi and his friends will be free! Free to surf and skydive and rob banks in scary ex-President masks and… I think I am confused.
I should mention that this movie is gloriously ’80s. I usually don’t point out the era in which a film is made, but it’s pretty hard to mistake here. Giant puffy hair, Breakdancing, Roller Blades, and inoffensive pop-rock music will all survive in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. “Solarbabies” treats life in the wasteland like a Burning Man that never ends.
In fact, it’s clear by now that the only reason this movie doesn’t have the cult following it deserves is because, oh I don’t know, because it is named “Solarbabies” maybe?
The Best Parts:
2 minutes in – I cannot emphasize this enough: EVERY 80’s movie secretly wanted to be “E.T.”
4 minutes in – “Joh-Na-THAN! Joh-Na-THAN!”
10 minutes in – Oh God, “Gallavants” flashback!
15 minutes in – Kalanchoe Cruelty!!!
18 minutes in – Raven Cruelty!
21 minutes in – “Oh, it must be wonderful to live in a land where it rains and snows and-HOLY SH*T!!!”
25 minutes in – “DA-na-na-na-na! DA-nuh-nuh-nuh! / DA-na-na-na-na! NA-nuh-nuh! / Theytoadyoudonyouevahcomearounheah! / Donwannaseenoblood Yabettahdis-a-pee-ah! / The fiah’s in their eyes an’ their words are really Claire so BEAT IT! Jus’ BEAT IT! OOH!”
27 minutes in – “I am a super-intelligent alien sphere who has been lying in the bottom of a pit in the depths of an abandoned mine shaft for thousands of years. You don’t even know what bored IS.”
31 minutes in – Oh, wow.
40 minutes in – Ladies and gentlemen, Smokey Robinson. No, really.
43 minutes in – “Yay! That guy just died!”
49 minutes in – Owl Cruelty!!!
52 minutes in – Oh God, oh GOD. oh God!!! This is, and I am not kidding, going to end up being tonight’s Nightmare Fuel.
55 minutes in – “I must not fear! Fear is the Mind-Killer!”
56 minutes in – Oh, hell, he’s Rem Lezar!
57 minutes in – Release the Headlight Hounds!!!
59 minutes in – Wow, Tug. Really?
1 hour, 1 minutes in – Hmmm. Did any of you Tiretowners ask yourselves WHY your land is a post-apocalyptic wasteland? Oh, no reason.
1 hour, 4 minutes in – Giant. Puffy. Hair.
1 hour, 6 minutes in – Yes, let’s not rescue the sentient, magical, alien space-orb we CAME ALL THIS WAY TO RESCUE.
1 hour, 8 minutes in – That worked out about as well as it did in that one episode of “Beavis and Butt-head”.
1 hour, 13 minutes in –
GLACIERS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!!! (See “Classic Quotes” below.)
1 hour, 16 minutes in – So why are these people destroying the one thing that could help them make their land not a wasteland anymore?
1 hour, 20 minutes in – They made a killer robot that enjoys hurting things. Great jarb.
1 hour, 21 minutes in – Tim Murphy unavailable for comment.
1 hour, 25 minutes in – Woah, Bodhi doesn’t mess around.
1 hour, 27 minutes in – Get indoors you idiots!
“It’s an odd name for a skateball team, don’t you think? ‘Solarbabies?’ Too soft, not menacing enough. Why do you suppose they chose it?” – A Warden Guy who, you have to admit, has a point
“This recreational skate period is provided by Earth Police who represent order! Give raw power to the cause of order! Keep the bodjilar flow! Earth Enforcement calls you to synergic dedication. Pleasure in the chase and stun!” – Person over a PA system during the free skate time
“Thousands of years ago, a giant glacier was trapped under a lava flow. As it melts, it feeds the springs that make our oasis.” – Terra’s dad. Terra’s dad, if you don’t know where your peoples’ water comes from, you can just say so.
Things I Learned from this Movie:
* – Breakdancing will survive the apocalypse.
* – So will 4-wheel rollerskates and rollerblades.
* – So will giant puffy 80’s hair.
* – In the wasteland, your culture is born into you. Somehow.
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? Glowing alien balls
Good Soundtrack? Smokey Robinson, for some reason.
Hot Guys? Maybe if they weren’t covered in dirt.
Pretty Scenery? The lovely deserts of Spain.
Nifty Animation/Effects/Art Direction? You can’t say it isn’t imaginative with what it has.
Drinking Game Potential? Drink when improbable things are done with roller skates.
Head Movie Potential? Oh yeah.
Hey, cheesy as “Solarbabies” is, it was a heck of a lot better than I thought it was going to be.
A Brooksfilms Film released in 1986 by MGM. Written by Walon Green and D. A. Metrov and directed by Alan Johnson.
Jami “Why am I in all of these movies” Gertz, Jason Patric, Adrian Pasdar… and Lucas Hass as a lad. Oh, you know him, he’s one of those “That Guys“… And speaking of “That Guys”… Bruce Payne. Yes, Bruce Payne. Damodar and the Pin are in this movie. My mind, she is blown.
Roger Ebert Review
Bad Movies.org Review