In my little town, about four years ago, there was a video store that just wasn't making the money it needed to. To cover expenses, they had a close out sale of all the movies in there. With what little expendable budget I had, browsed through the selection of horrible sounding movies, even finding a few bad-movie classics. But nothing I have ever seen compares to the insanity of Solarbabies.
It's been almost a year since I watched this movie last, but every time I watch it, I have to wonder what law of physics at work made the synapses in my brain that deal with memory stop working.
Before I even mention the movie, the saddest part is the huge level of praise this movie awards itself, making sure at least once per side-of-box that Industrial Light and Magic helped with the special effects, which involved a glowing bowling ball and not much more. In fact, now that I think about it, a Commodore 64 probably could handle the immense level of special effects packaged within Solarbabies.
So, on with this movie.
Since it's been about a year, and I can't really recall the exact names of all the characters, although some of the names are not so much names as chemical compouds (I think there may have been an Ajax or something). I remember that Danny was a young deaf kid and Terra was the lead female.
Nothing too bizarre for a futuristic sci-fi movie yet, right?
Let's add a few other variables. Let's say street hockey was the only thing in life that was important, to the point where it's taught in school. Not only that, no one ever walks anywhere. Everybody rollerblades. Everywhere. Even though this story takes place in the desert. I never figured out how you can rollerblade on sand. Must be some of those Industrial Light and Magic special effects.
The movie basically opens with an "illegal" game of street hockey. It's illegal because it's not sanctioned during normal school hours. Makes you wonder, "What if you suck at hockey like me? Does that mean I'm doomed to fail year after year in school?" Probably.
The Warden, otherwise known as the principal of this school, sends the e-police (?) to break the game up, and they all get away without being caught. The good guys merely escape. The other team (evil, of course, because they play dirty) consists of the teacher's pets of this hockey school, and the Warden is buddies with the star player of Team Evil, so he hangs out with them while the e-police send what appear to be Hummers and tanks after the rest of the schoolchildren.
I should add that the Warden's suit was furnished by Vinyl World. It's the goofiest, stupidest-looking costume any evil villian has ever worn.
So let's move on through more plotless wonder. Danny, young deaf brother of the star player of Team Good, finds the aforementioned glowing bowling ball, the one true special effect of this movie. In reality, it looks like the twin brother of Ghostwriter. Ghostwriter is apparently from another planet and can understand everyone who talks around him, and for some reason, when it glows, it kinda, I guess, talks back. But we, the audience, don't hear it. The characters just somehow understand it. Anyway, it has some special powers, and Danny gets his hearing back, which of course impresses Team Good when they get back together again. Danny doesn't show Ghostwriter Jr. to his friends just yet.
Now we come to a part that makes me cry. Not with laughter. I just cry. See, the future Earth has very little water. Though today it comprises over 75% of our planet, in the future water is rationed so strictly that a canteen lasts you maybe a day in the desert. (I fear that they don't bathe very often because of this.) Water is upheld as something almost sacred. So what does Ghostwriter Jr. do for Team Good? He gives them water. Lots of water. In fact, he makes it rain. In their dorm.
Don't try and imagine this in your head, because what you're picturing, I promise, is actually a lot nicer and saner than what the movie portrays. Team Good, having yet to show any competence yet, show even less as they play in the water, splashing each other (water is starting to pool on the floor in under 15 seconds, a phenomenon I dare Industrial Light and Magic to explain to me.
So there's this rainstorm, as I say, complete with THUNDER. The kids are all excited and quench their thirst and romp around, and then all of a sudden their excitement plummets from "full steam ahead" to "okay, we're done here." The scene just kind of fades away.
From this point forward, you might as well go get a snack and stay in the kitchen to eat it, because for the next hour or more, nothing happens. And I mean a LOT of nothing. Apparently, Danny and GW Jr. run away (I can't remember why), and Team Good go after him. They're gone a really long time, and no one seems to wonder why. I guess the teacher of Street Hockey 101 dosen't take roll.
At some point, they pass through a town whose sole economy is based on melting rubber tires. I'm dead serious. I wish I could make this up. The town SERIOUSLY makes their living from melting tires. Don't ask me what use this is for, and it's not like they're selling the melted tires later, either. I mean, it's not like there are MELTING TIRES, INC. trucks picking up the melted tires and leaving town.
So we get near the end of our wonderful adventure. Evil Warden and his Evil Team and some Evil Mistress are after GW Jr. Not the kids. Heaven forbid they try and get the students back to school. GW Jr. is what's important here. There's a legend or something somewhere that tells of the floating white ball and the "powers" it has. I guess they want to get these powers, or maybe destroy them, or whatever.
Whatever the ultimate goal, the badguys employ The Most Sophisticated Weapon Ever Designed." I don't know if those exact words were used, but the Evil Mistress spent like 5 minutes describing the thing, AND ALL IT IS IS A DRILL. First they put GW Jr. in some contraption to "weaken it," though all it does is make it look like a gobstopper. Then they try to drill it. WHO TRIES TO DRILL AN ALIEN GLOWING BALL? Shoot it, maybe. Blow it up, of course. But DRILL?
All in all, the drill does nothing to GW Jr. Team Good skates in and destroys the machine, and Team Evil and Evil Warden are thwarted by Good. Thus is the epic known as Solarbabies.
Epilogue: Nothing of the sun is ever mentioned in reference to the kids. Babies I could understand them being, but it's never explained why they are called "Solarbabies," nor what idiot adopted the name. Industrial Light and Magic would like to apologize for having been any part of this movie. At least, I damn well hope so.
Rating: Two turkeys, maybe.
Scene to watch for: Kids laughing and playing in the water in someone's dorm room
Best Line: (silence)