Ahhh, here’s the 1986 I know and love. Unlike No Mercy (which was Not That Bad™ and fairly typical) this falls right in line with King Kong Lives, Howard the Duck and (from what I’ve heard) Under the Cherry Moon. Read: weird shit. But despite only existing through a series of lapses in judgement, it actually has some bright spots. It looks a lot better than I expected and the game they play is legit the best fake sport I’ve seen put to film (this would be a good deep dive to undertake: fake sports in film). Overall though, it kinda reminded me of Ice Pirates, except not in on the joke.
On the face of it Solarbabies is not particularly interesting for Settings 101. There is little to no evidence of where it takes place outside of “in the desert.” The only evidence that can be seen is a license place on a car that some bounty hunters use as a primitive horse-and-buggy. While it’s not exactly clear what state the license plate is from (through some internet sleuthing I’m pretty sure it’s California), you would only really be able to say that it’s likely that the film takes place in America. A single California license plate can show up anywhere. So while it’s tempting to give this a D-, you have to give it an F. There is no setting that you would ever be able to put on a mapl.de.map. Sigh. These types of films are pretty rare. All of the angst about the physical setting of Solarbabies did get me thinking of a second class for BMIT similar to Settings 101. Instead of asking where the film takes place (and seeing how definite and specific you can get), you ask when the film takes place. Most every film can be narrowed down to an past, present, and future. A number will get to a year. There are a set of fun ones that can be narrowed down to particular weekends due to movie matinees, calendars on the wall, holidays, and funny stuff like that. Then there will be the solid few that get to an exact date by virtue of a intertitle or a major plot point revolving around it (think Back to the Future). While Solarbabies doesn’t have an exact temporal setting per se, it is stated that the film takes place in the year “41.” Most people take this as meaning that it takes place 41 years after some apocalyptic event dried out the Earth. So that’s something, but not really an exact year. There are some interesting internet theories about what else the “41” could mean, including one spoken about on the podcast How Did This Get Made? that gives us an exact year. This is that the film takes place in an alternate timeline where the nazis won the war in 1941 and started a thousand year reign. Thus the film takes place 1000 years later in the year 2941 and the climactic destruction of the Eco-Police HQ/hydroelectric dam marks the end of the reign. There are actually several aspects of the film that support this theory including the nazi-like characteristics of the villains’ uniforms. It’s certainly interesting, but the temporal setting is not definite and at best would be a C- (it does have an exact year of sorts, but it’s not great).
‘Ello everyone! Solarbabies? More like Bizarre Eighties! Amirite. Like, … this movie makes the eighties look bizarre, you know? Anyways, Solarbabies, Theodore Rex, Barb Wire, Left Behind. Potato, potato, potato, potato, let’s get into it!
- The Good – This movie is way way better than it should be all things considered. When they say it is a rip off of Mad Max that is actually a compliment: this isn’t like the Asylum ripoffs you see (like Transmorphers or Atlantic Rim), this is like a group of people got together and tried to make a Mad Max film. And it isn’t nearly as bad as you would have expected given that description. The rollerball-esque future sport they play actually looks like a real sport: I would watch the London Bridges versus Manchester SBRGC play that game (SBRGC = SolarBabies Roller Game Club obviously).
- The Bad – Most things, but you see that list of four ridiculous movies I wrote in my intro? This is the best of those four. It might be the best not-a-movie we’ve seen actually. That isn’t the say it is good. This movie is obviously awful. The music is so dumb. The acting is pretty bad across the board. The script (from dialogue to the basic premise) is ludicrous. This movie is bad. But if you know that going in … it would probably satisfy a thirteen-year-old on a rainy Saturday. That is the highest praise this film is going to get, revel in it.
- The BMT – Yes, but only based on reputation I think. The movie is crazy and I would definitely watch it in a BMT marathon, but the marathon would be something along the lines of Barely There Movies. Solid 25 BMeTric.
Actually let’s see if I can’t get a solid cycle for a 6 movie Barel Movie-Thon extravaganza (Transition and Chain Reaction are impossible to predict so…): Theodore Rex (Comedy), Gymkata (Action), Troll 2 (Horror), From Justin to Kelly (Romance), Solarbabies (SciFi), Barb Wire (Razzies). Mac and Me would also need to get in there somehow, so maybe force a transition. Solid cycle right there of barely-movies for sure. I think there is actually a name for this game, like The Ideal Ideal Cut Cycle or something, so I’ll leave it right there.