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Rated PG-13
Copyright 1986 Brooksfilms
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 15 September 2007 (updated)

The Characters:  

  • Daniel - Most teams have animal mascots; the Solarbabies have a little boy.
  • Jason - Jason Patric! He attended Vanilla Ice's "jump anything without a ramp" school and graduated as the class valedictorian.
  • Terra - Jami Gertz! Where did she get all of the hairspray required for her hairdo?
  • Metron - The techno wizard Solarbaby who can make a Geiger counter from radio parts.
  • Bodhi - It looks like a glowing crystal ball, but I suspect that the intelligent sphere is actually Halley's Comet. Everybody knows that Halley's Comet swings by earth once every seventy-five years to make sure the water is free. If that is not the case, it stops by to help free the water and save any orphans that need saving. We need more celestial visitors like Halley's Comet.
  • Rabbit - I suspect that he was part of the script simply to cover all of the required ethnic bases. Unfortunately, the Solarbaby is buried under a stereotype.
  • Tug - Big and dumb, that's Tug.
  • Darstar - Mystical Indian guy whose owl is grumpy, because he keeps it awake all day.
  • Greentree - Terra's father, leader of the Eco-Warriors and a citizen of Laputa.
  • The Warden - Charles Durning! Commander of the orphanage.
  • Shandray - Diabolical female scientist who bursts into flame.
  • Terminack - Advanced robot assigned the task of destroying Bodhi. It can analyze the molecular structure of an object, but is not programmed to recognize an overheating drill bit. Goes haywire after the Solarbabies smash its eyes.
  • Grock - The local Strictor (cross a truancy officer with a Nazi and you get the idea). His uniform appears to be padded vinyl. Doesn't that strike you as insane? The landscape is a dry, blistering desert! He gets a little too close to the out-of-control Terminac and is disassembled.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

This is your standard "boy finds glowing sphere, boy loses glowing sphere, boy rescues glowing sphere (which didn't really need rescuing, but it's the thought that counts), and, finally, glowing sphere sets the Earth's water free" kind of story.

If anyone was paying attention to the actors and actresses in this, they might think that the plot was entirely different. We have quite the mix of people who made some memorable films in the 80's: "The Lost Boys," "Superman II," "Critters," and "Witness," to name just a few. I was going to attempt to create a faux plot, based on the cast's other roles, but got stuck around the time that Jason Patric and his younger brother, Jor-El, encountered the Amish vampires.

Of course it sounds like the basis for a great movie, but I'm not up to the task right now. I mean it, leave me alone about the Amish vampires. Look, you go write the darn thing.

So what is the movie's plot? Let me tell you about it. Far in the future, Earth is a barren wasteland. All of the planet's water is controlled by the E-Protectorate, an evil corporation that ruthlessly rules the populace through its military arm, the E-Cops, and by rationing water. Major concerns about ecological feasibility aside, how many tarps did it take to cover the Pacific Ocean?

Another part of the future is orphanages (running a fascist corporate government kills a lot of parents), and one such refuge is where the Solarbabies live. The team journeys into the desert one night to play roller hockeyball (it is rollerball crossed with hockey) against a rival team, the Scorpions. Once the Solarbabies start winning, the E-Cops arrive and everybody scatters. Actually, the Scorpions do not scatter; they stay put, because Grock is their sugar daddy. He provides the team with special favors and equipment. In return, the Scorpions destroy the morale of other orphans by beating them at roller hockeyball. Thus, the corporation is served.

If Grock really wants to screw with the orphans, why not bulldoze the desert skating arena? Roller hockeyball is not exactly something you can play without a well maintained rink. I might be taking the wrong track here, because the Solarbabies are constantly on their roller skates throughout the movie, but, based on my experience, trying to roller skate on a surface littered with small rocks is almost suicidal. These nuts fly down roads that must be covered with windblown sand, medium to large rocks, and even snakes. How they survived long enough to become proficient at roller skating is a mystery to me.

While escaping from the E-Cops, Daniel discovers Bodhi in an abandoned mineshaft (yes, he was skating in it). The glowing sphere takes a liking to the little boy and cures him of the congenital birth defect that made him deaf. Daniel happily carries the orb back to the Solarbabies' locker room in the orphanage. The rest of the team is put on notice by the Warden. They are sentenced to digging holes as punishment. After finishing that rewarding task, they all return to the locker room and are introduced to the orb.

With Bodhi around, things are never boring. The playful orb causes a rainstorm inside of the team's room, joins them (as the ball) for a glittering game of roller hockeyball, and infects the teenagers with glowing energies that link the team in a circle of friendship. Life with Bodhi, the benevolent sphere from outer space, is good. I completely understand that everything you just read sounds looney. Remember that the characters have names like Terra, Metron, and Rabbit. Whoever wrote this script must be a child of the 60's and an avid reader of pulp science fiction. You can safely expect some weirdness.

Darstar (yet another interesting name) steals Bodhi and escapes from the orphanage. He seeks out the Tchigani, his native people, in the desert. Daniel takes off after his stolen orb. The rest of the Solarbabies follow on account of Daniel. What I am saying is that, in three separate events, seven children escape from the orphanage to go traipsing across the desert because of a glowing orb that warbles at people. Now do you believe my hypothesis about the writer?

The Tchigani are no longer the proud Native Americans that they once were. The tribe's leader does not care about honor or nature's magic. He even schemes to profit from Bodhi by turning the orb over to the E-Protectorate, but the E-Cops attack the Tchigani camp first. Darstar escapes into the desert; the rest of the tribe is either killed or enslaved.

Did anyone else notice that the E-Cops' armored vehicles appear to be inspired by the armadillo? Who would design something based on an armadillo? Maybe it was an engineer with a sense of humor. If several troopers were cooped up in one of those tin cans for a few hours, I bet the inside would smell like an armadillo, a dead one (been down a few Texas highways in my time). Anyway, despite having access to numerous troops and all-terrain vehicles, Grock is unable to apprehend the fugitive orphans.

Eventually, all of the characters end up in Tire Town, a place that owes a lot of its inspiration to "The Road Warrior" and the rest to Burning Man. All of the orphans are finally reunited with Bodhi, but the E-Cops attempt another heavy-handed operation. The result is one flaming inferno, a couple of dizzy Solarbabies (after they escape by rolling away inside of giant tires), Darstar and Bodhi captured, and Terra MIA. However, our plucky female protagonist is not gone for long. She rescues the other Solarbabies later after some bounty hunters catch them. You see, Terra is the daughter of Greentree - who is sort of the Ecowarrior messiah.

Bodhi is taken back to the main E-Protectorate Aqua Bunker for destruction. First, powerful lasers are used to cook the intelligent sphere (it makes sad warbling sounds), then Terminack starts working on the wounded orb. The Solarbabies are not just sitting around drinking spring water with Greentree during this part of the movie. They stage a covert rescue mission. Six roller skating hockey players against an evil empire, who do you think will win? Sure, getting whacked with a hockey stick between the shoulder blades is painful, but so is being shot by a stormtrooper's kill-o-zap rifle, especially if the weapon is set on "orphan slaughter."

Oh well, I really didn't want the E-Protectorate to win. Bodhi is saved; it destroys the Aqua Bunker and frees all of the Earth's water. Everybody goes for a swim. The end.

You know, Bodhi may not have been radioactive (Metron checked), but he appears to be a fluorescent lamp. One that can talk in musical warbles, float through the air, discorporate, and even cause a dam to burst, but a fluorescent lamp all the same. If Daniel dropped Bodhi and the orb were to crack, there would be mercury all over the place. The other option is that Bodhi intends to force Daniel into battle against a horribly disfigured god to decide the fate of the universe. Neither of these events, mercury poisoning or evil god dueling, sounds like the sort of thing that should be inflicted upon a young boy.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Under the right circumstances, a hockey stick can prevent suffocation.
  • Never try to get fresh with a girl who is digging.
  • Desolate wastelands have plenty of well-maintained skating paths.
  • Motorcycles run on napalm.
  • Owls sound just like hawks.
  • Wax museum exhibits are equipped with motion detectors.
  • Tires can be distilled into fluoridated water.
  • In the future, infrared garage door openers have been replaced by more efficient "really bright green laser beam" models.
  • Anything can benefit from having a flashlight strapped to it, including roller skates and dogs.
  • Water is an aphrodisiac.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 17 mins - What does that mean?
  • 20 mins - She must be reading a book of poetry; the other possibility is a trashy romance novel.
  • 24 mins - I am certain nobody will notice the fact that you are dripping wet.
  • 37 mins - Sneaking out under the cover of bright afternoon!
  • 49 mins - The bad thing about some waterproof tents is that they are rather flammable. Just ask 6th Comm.
  • 58 mins - Nice Maglites. I notice the "super advanced modifications" that have been done to them.
  • 74 mins - A glacier was trapped under a lava flow...okay...
  • 80 mins - Metron skates up to pole vault over the gate, but, as he does, it is quite apparent he is no longer wearing skates. Upon landing, they are back on.


  • Terra: "Why did you take the sphere?"
    Darstar: "Because I thought it'd do magic for me, like it did for you."
  • Rabbit: "Hey, look, water comes right out of the rock."
    Terra: "No, it comes from here. This is called ice."
    Greentree: "Thousands of years ago, a giant glacier was trapped under a lava flow. As it melts, it feeds the springs that make our oasis."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note solarbabies1.wav The Warden: "I am the warden of Orphanage 43, one of the many orphanages that border the wasteland. Children are brought here at an early age to be indoctrinated to serve the system. It hurts me to do that to them. I too, must serve the system."
Green Music Note solarbabies2.wav The Solarbabies discussing Bodhi.
Green Music Note solarbabies3.wav Darstar: "I was raised in a Protectorate orphanage. That's all I know."
Chief: "What do they call you?"
Darstar: "I call myself Darstar."
Chief: "The owl, it's yours?"
Darstar: "As much as an owl is anyone's."
Green Music Note solarbabies4.wav Shandray: "Gentlemen, this is Terminack. He's a multi-capable masterpiece; he can squeeze the color from a ruby or deftly pluck the eye from a living bird, and he's been programmed to enjoy what he does."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipsolarbabies1.mpg - 4.0m
Playing with Bodhi.

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