Solar Crisis (1990) Poster


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Science buffs beware!!!
SmgBag113 December 2006
This movie is self-contradicting. It takes an absurd plot and tries to pass it off as good science fiction. Yet not all parts of the film were so totally "out there" as to make it unwatchable as a whole. A great chase scene in the desert is an example of this. Add to this an element of sabotage, and the film is saved from itself.

The year is 2050, and the sun is threatening a "megalo flare" that will destroy the earth if it reaches us. Now, flares happen all the time on the sun. You only have to look at close-up photos of the sun to know this. Most last several hours and shoot 100,000 miles off the solar surface in an arc that's really quite impressive to see. But a flare that shoots out and spans the 93 million miles between Earth and sun? Not only that, but to find the earth in its orbit around the sun and strike right there? That's a little too convenient, at least for the plot's sake. Let's face it. If there were no emergency, there'd be no need for the mission to avert it.

The plot to save Earth is to send a talking anti-matter bomb into the sun and make the flare point somewhere else. And here's where the plot thickens, so to speak. Forget for a moment that it's over a million degrees in the corona, the part of the sun you can see in a total eclipse. It's going to get hot as you approach the sun. Yet the mission proceeds as if they have some super cooling process that will save them. And don't get me started on the bomb itself. Anti-matter is unstable by nature. So you're going to put enough of it to theoretically disrupt the sun's energy flow, all the while knowing that the sun itself is enough vaporize anything solid that approaches it? That's a suicide mission in itself.

As if all this weren't enough, now you have a saboteur on board that threatens the mission at various stages. A corporation on Earth doesn't believe the flare will happen, and is buying up resources while cheap and the scare lasts. So you have that element of competition. Will the mission succeed or won't it? Will the Helios (the vessel) escape the sun's gravitational pull and be able to return home?

Solar Crisis is fun to watch, if you can get past the absurdity. Just don't take it seriously, or you'll get burned.
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Crisis is right
Altaira21 July 1999
What was Charlton Heston thinking when he signed up for this disaster?? Alright, I'll be fair. I rented Solar Crisis (translation: wasted a buck) with an open mind. It had an interesting plot, so it seemed, and some famous guys. So there must be something there. Man oh man was I wrong. I realized that with the opening scene in which cheap subtitles scrolled across the screen, describing the Impeding Doom of Earth. To make matters worse, a voice-over further insulted my intelligence by reading the words too. Gee, since I was dumb enough to rent the film, they must figure I can't read either. Then came the real blow: The weak, weak acting (usually showcased by laughably over-dramatic monologues) coupled with the bland, bland writing, strewn together with the lousy, lousy soundtrack make for one nose-wrinkling mess. Dr. Haas was especially bad, as was the ship's commander whose name escapes me. We are treated to such memorable lines as: "Our only security blanket out there is ourselves" and the immortal "I'm the only one who can ever free you!" Please. Free me, for the love of God.
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An Alan Smithee Directed Film-You know it's got to be good
ozthegreatat4233012 February 2007
Alright first off: this is not a great film, it is not even a particularly good film, but I have seen many that were much worse. I am curious as to who the director was who ducked out on this one and turned it over to Alan Smithee (for those not in the know: Alan Smithee is a name that the DGA assigns to films who's directors do not want to admit a connection to for some reason, artistic of otherwise.)

Some of the performances were a little flat, although Jack Palance was as eccentrically off beat as usual. That alone always gives any film a one point boost. Peter Boyle was just as underplayed a villain as usual, not getting his hands dirty. But there was a lot of real tension in the film. In anyone was over the top it was Dorian Harewood, and I suspect that was because of bad direction. I suspect with a better director, budget and script this could have been a much better film. I still enjoyed it though. Just one of my little quirks I guess.
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Smithee strikes again
culwin27 December 2002
Disowned by Richard C. Sarafian, this disaster stunk up Japanese theaters before coming to the States and going immediately to video, where it was not seen again until the Turner networks needed something other than infomercials to fill their 3am-6am time slots and found this tape at the bottom of their bin. The Smithee name is supposed to be used when the studio hacks the movie so badly that the director no longer wants his name attached to it. But I'm afraid that Sarafian can not blame the studio entirely on this one. The actors, mostly recent graduates of "Overacting 101", deliver one cornball line after another. The plot is convoluted. The special effects are unimpressive. The parts that aren't laughable are just plain boring. The script or the book must have been good - why else would Palance, Matheson, Boyle, or Heston agree to appear in this dud? But something went horribly wrong from the page to the screen. Summary: Avoid. Not even bad enough to be so-bad-it's-good.
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Burned by the sun....
Mister-612 September 1999
When I had first heard of "Solar Crisis" then got a load of the cast, I wondered why I had never heard of a movie with such a big cast before. Then I saw it.

Now I know.

For a movie that encompasses outer space, the sun, vast deserts and sprawling metropolises, this is an awfully cramped and claustrophobic feature; it feels like everyone is hunkered close together so the camera won't have to pull too far back.

And the effects, while good, are pretty underwhelming; we're talking about the imminent destruction of the planet Earth if a team of scientists and soldiers cannot deflect a deadly solar flare. But other than shouting, sweating and a red glow about everything, there's no real feel of emergency.

Don't get me started about the cast. What Heston, Palance, Matheson, Boyle, et al are doing in this movie without even bothering to act with any feel for the material is anyone's guess. Makes you wonder who else's condos aren't paid for in Hollywood....

And as far as the end goes.... Well, let's just say it's tense and intriguing but it's too little too late in an effort like this. If it had kept up that kind of pace all through the film, maybe I would have heard of "Solar Crisis" sooner.

Two stars. Mostly for lost opportunities and bad career moves.

I wonder how Alan Smithee keeps his job doing junk like this?
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There's a crisis alright, but it's nothing to do with the sun...
Rob_Taylor18 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Oh the hilarity! Oh the joy! Another film that is so bad it's good! Or, so I thought. In actual fact, this one misses the "so bad its good" phase and goes, sadly, straight to the "could have been so bad its good, but they screwed it up and made it plain bad".

For a start its way too long. Cut half an hour and it might have been more endurable. Then put in such ludicrous plots as "the man who is sabotaging the mission to save the Earth, because he has all the food stockpiled and he'll be rich if the mission fails!". Duh!. Or the "talking bomb" plot device last seen in Dark Star. Guess what....just like in Dark Star, the bomb has a malfunction.....hmmmm. Add in a dash of "we can't act our way out of a kindergarten play" and you have Solar Crisis in a nutshell.

Light relief is to be had in the form of Jack Palance (or Jack Pants, as we called him in this flick), whose sole purpose in the film is to drive a kid around the desert and telephone the kid's dad to come pick him up....eventually. Between driving and phoning, Jack dispenses pointless drivel and leers and cackles a lot, but contributes little to the story, such as it is. In short, he's the best bit of the movie.

My award for "The Most Ironic Line Delivered Straight-Faced" goes to Charlton Heston, who, when meeting his eldest son for the first time in ages, comments that his son looks a little "out of shape" whilst he himself is standing there with his gut bulging over his waistband and in dire need of a Captain Kirk Corset.

Also amusing is the bad guy's top henchman, who has a bright white hairstyle that kept making me think of Andy Warhol, for some reason.

Apart from these hilarities, there's little to recommend this movie. The ending is a sequence copied from (but mercifully shorter than) the end sequence from 2001.

Tips for enjoying this movie more, if you are foolish enough to watch it, like I did:

1. Any time the bomb speaks, imagine it's called Tarquin (Trust me, it works!)

2. Whenever Chuck Heston is on screen and about to speak, pre-empt him by reciting a line from Planet of the Apes such as "Get your filthy paws off me!" or similar.

3. Whenever the female lead is looking stressed (this is most of the time) keep hoping against hope that she's having an aneurism and will die soon.

4. During the interminable "the ship's broke again" scenes, keep hoping the tech/engineer guys will spout a Scotty-ism like "You cannae change the laws of physics!" or some such crap.

Other than that, do what it takes to get you through this one. I dozed off half way through and woke to realise I hadn't missed anything, nor had the plot (laughable though it is) advanced any. So don't worry about tuning out for a few, you won't miss anything.
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Not Quite As Bad As Its Reputation
Michael_Elliott10 March 2013
Solar Crisis (1990)

** (out of 4)

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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The problem is...
LouBlake17 February 2002
Here's the set up. Earth is going to be half fried by a giant flare the sun is getting ready to shoot off. A ship is sent to drop a bomb on the sun to make the flare go off away from Earth.

Not a bad premise, and the film has a lot going for it. But...

The problem is with a subplot. Half the population is in danger of being fried to death, and someone on Earth wants the mission to fail.


Otherwise there are great special effects, a few tense scenes with real conflict. If they had edited out that sub plot, it would be a much better film.

Still recommended for science fiction / space buffs. Worth a look.
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A Forgotten Gem that could have been so MUCH better.
XweAponX20 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I was attracted to this movie for a number of things. First, it LOOKS GREAT. Second, Ol' Moses Himself (Charlton Heston) was in it, and third, the female lead, "Alex" (Annabel Schofield) is SO damned beautiful, or was at least in this film.

When the film begins, a number of things are taken for granted: The SUN is about to shoot off a 6th-Extinction type Solar Flare, A Mission is in effect to try to fix it, and and there are Corporate Republican-Types who, just like today, insist that nothing is happening at all with the environment.

Scientists all around the world had agreed that The End was Near, except for the one scientist hired by the Corporation "IXL" to "disprove" the 6th-Extinction "theory". The Problem is, it is not a theory, it's a fact, even IXL's own scientist changes his mind, and tells the Owner of IXL "Teague" (Peter Boyle) that he has to in fact agree that this thing is happening, and the current space mission to drop a talking antimatter BOMB (played by Paul Williams as "Freddy" - Shades of Dark Star?) - is actually necessary. But as the world is falling apart economically and socially, Teague has bought up - All the food, all the electronics, and anything that would become of value once the "crisis" is over, be does not believe that the end of the crisis would also mean the end of the world.

The next thing we see is IXL's hapless doctor dropped off in the "desert" - apparently the whole Midwest has changed into a new Sahara, and he is rescued by Michael Berryman of "The Hills have Eyes". Supplies are driven automatically in Robot "Trucks" owned by IXL, nobody really goes anywhere or does anything.

Meanwhile, Space Flight Command is a 3-Generational thing. Admiral "Skeet" Kelso (Heston) is the father of Captain Steve Kelso (Tim Matheson), who is in command of the spaceship "Helios" and the mission to bomb the sun. Steve's son is "Mike" ("Corky" Nemec from one season plus one episode of Stargate SG-1) and he has escaped from Military Academy because he is not sure if he believes the world is going to end.

So Mike is pursued by both Skeet and Teague, Teague wants to subvert the kid - If he CAN be subverted. But more than that Teague wants to know if his late doctor had told Mike about the impending plan to sabotage the mission.

But early on, it is shows that IXL has indeed infiltrated the mission has put in place a way to bring it down, we are not sure how.

This film has "Enhanced People" kind of like Replicants in Blade Runner - Alex is one, and Teague has his own Blonde Haired Nazi Killing Machine.

Alex is one of only two people who can fly the Bomb Carrying Pod into the Sun, and it is a one way trip.

When Mike escapes into the Desert, he is helped by a crazy guy named "Travis" played by Jack Palance, he keeps him safe from Teague and they both meet the Surviving Doctor in a water-serving Bar, when he is brought in by Berryman. But there is a nosy Waitress, who rifles through the doctor's pockets to steal his phone, and calls Teague on it to see if there is a reward or something, Teague's Nazi shows up and kills the Doctor.

Mike escapes in a desert-modded Jaguar, which is not fast enough to escape Teague's Hovercraft, which looks a bit like the flying Hunter- Killers from Terminator. But when Teague cannot make Mike side with him, he sends laughing boy to kill him. So it is back to the original plan - Use the SPY on "Helios", where crew-members are being killed in "accidents"- And each time, we see Alex grieving.

We understand when we see scenes of Teague's NaziBoy "Programming" Alex - She's the one who was doing it and didn't know. But what Teague never considered was that she had real feelings for the people who were being killed, and this revelation breaks Teague's hold on her.

I have never seen Annabel Schofield in any other film or TV show since, but she was absolutely perfect in this.

This whole movie seems to be some kind of Japanese production based on what must have been a popular Japanese Book, which may partially explain the film's dismal ratings. This was never really released in a Theatre in the US. Apparently, the Director "Alan Smithee" is a Alias used when a Director does not want to be associated with a film, the first one to use that name was Don Siegel. Used in this case by "Vanishing Point" director Richard C. Sarafian.

Actually, I enjoyed this when I first started seeing this on places like HBO late at night, then the Sci Fi Channel, this was one of their most often run Moovies. I can enjoy the WORK that was done to make some of the shots look good, and they do at that. I don't know what the beef was between Sarafian and the Film Company, but had the director been given more control, this could have been as profitable as Total Rekall and Starship Troopers.

The scenes of Spaceflight are amazingly good for Non CGI, the models are very 2001-ish, and there is some lost tongue-in-cheek humor, especially from Peter Boyle (Who was "Clyde Buckman" in "The X-Files").
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It had everything for a good Sci Fi movie but the most important
mike-ryan4559 July 2009
It was one of those late night "It's there" I saw it things. Sometimes they are great. This one was awful, but it really shouldn't have been.

The movie had a really good cast. How can you fail when you have Charlsten Heston and Jack Pallance? We're talking Oscar winner turf here. It had good special effects. It even had some really good tits! And I mean nicely shown, full breast with full nipple and at one point even some beaver. But it didn't compensate for the one missing ingredient - a story! The plot was ludicrous. I don't mean the "solar crisis" sun exploding stuff, but that was bad enough. It was the rest of the stuff - the oh so stupid and totally predictable evil corporation stuff. Man that just STANK! No amount of good acting or cool space ships or fight scenes could get around that one.

I have seen the same cast members be incredibly good. I have seen wonderful science fiction movies that had miniscule casts and budgets. All the difference is in the writing.
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