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A huge solar flare is predicted to fry the Earth. Astronauts must go to the Sun to drop a talking bomb (Freddy) at the right time so the flare will point somewhere else. Giant IXL Corp CEO Teague thinks the flare won't happen and wants the mission to fail so he can buy the planet cheaply while the scare lasts. Employee Haas prepares a surprise for the astronauts. While daddy Steve Kelso commands the space ship where temperaturs rise, granddaddy Admiral Skeet Kelso is searching the desert for grandson Mike who's gone AWOL to say goodbye to his dad but who inadvertently crossed the path of the guys from IXL after meeting desert-dweller Travis. Written by
Louis Strous <LStrous@solar.stanford.edu>
Somehow this mix of the sci-fi and disaster genres got a pretty big cast to sign on. Set in 2050, the Earth is about to be burned down due to a giant solar flare from the sun. A group of astronauts must try to drop a bomb of these flares so that they will shoot off in another direction but there are people on Earth who want to stop them for their own wicked plans. Believe it or not, somehow this film managed to get a $55 million dollar budget but then it barely got a theatrical release here in America. Tim Matheson, Charlton Heston, Jack Palance, Peter Boyle and cult favorite Michael Berryman all signed onto appear in this film and I think it's rather funny that the producers would spend so much money and not get much in return. The film isn't nearly as bad as many people make it out to be but it's best one comes into it as a "B" movie and not expecting some sort of "A" level Hollywood film. The movie has a rather confusing plot that at times doesn't make too much sense. I think the biggest problem is that there's probably a lot of stuff from novel that didn't make it into the film. The American version runs six-minutes shorter than the Japanese one and it was disowned by the real director (Richard C. Sarafian) so this has a Alan Smithee credit. Another problem with the film is that the special effects just aren't that believable. This is especially true when it comes to the stuff in outer space but also on Earth when we see what's basically the world in chaos as everyone is waiting for their death. What does keep the film somewhat entertaining are the actor. I've always been a fan of Matheson and he manages to keep one entertained here as the leader of the spaceship. Heston, playing his father, gives that tough guy approach to the character and we get to see him beat up a couple people, which is always good. Palance plays a guy who basically walks around like a bum and once again the actor is so over-the-top that you can't help but enjoy the performance. Boyle doesn't have much to do but it's still nice seeing him. Annabel Schofield is good in her supporting bit. SOLAR CRISIS is a rather weird film because you wonder why a "B" movie has such a high budget but at the same time you realize that the material needed an even higher one to really do the story any justice. I will say that this film shares a lot of similarities with Michael Bay's Armageddon and I do wonder if some of the stuff here was borrowed for it.
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