Saturday, April 2, 2011

Solar Crisis (1990)

Solar Crisis is a film based on the novel by Takeshi Kawata. The film itself cost around $55m yet was given a very limited cinema release. Solar Crisis ended up as an Alan Smithee movie, the real director being Richard C. Sarafian.

Plot Summary from IMDB

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 temperatures 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.

All in all Solar Crisis is a real mess of a movie, produced by Visual FX legend Richard Edlund and starring Tim Matheson,Charlton Heston,Peter Boyle,Jack Palance and Annabel Schofield, the film at times seems like two separate plots, the stuff on Earth seems far removed from what's happening in space. The 2007 film Sunshine follows a very similar premise about carrying a payload to the sun. The movies FX are hit and miss, being from the pre-digital era most of the spaceship work uses optical compositing techniques which suffer a fair bit from matte lines around the miniatures. The voice of the bomb 'Freddy' was provided by Paul Williams who wrote music for Bugsy Malone, The Muppets and starred and wrote The Phantom of the Paradise. I picked up this move for less that 2 quid a few years back now purely out of interest because I'd read about it's production problems, after watching it makes me wonder just how does such a big budget movie for it's time get so badly out of control !?

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