Solar Crisis is currently available on instant Netflix.
Solar Crisis (1990) – Rated PG-13
“In this sci-fi thriller set in 2050, a huge solar flare threatens to destroy life on Earth unless a band of scientists can save the day by dropping an antimatter bomb on the sun. To make matters worse, there’s a saboteur among their ranks.”
One Line Review: Plot good but actors wooden and script way too exposition heavy
One of the primary rules of storytelling is never tell, always show. Sadly, Solar Crisis tells us at every turn. Most of the first act is solid, boring exposition. The film begins with some very inexpensive looking scrolling text, letting us know that Earth is doomed and to buy war bonds now. Don’t strain your eyes though as a narrator reads those same words aloud.
Could the movie poster above be any more generic?
They waste a good cast. Charlton Heston, certainly a sci-fi veteran if ever there was one, has little to do here and just scowls and collects a paycheck. Jack Palance chews the scenery as a desert rat. Peter Boyle gives Jack a run for his money as Arnold Teague. The rest of the cast are stiff and wooden, including lead Tim Matheson.
Director Richard C. Sarafian so disavowed this mess that he uses the Alan Smithee credit. The plot desperately needs streamlining. As with the later projects Armageddon and Sunshine, apparently saving the Earth isn’t sufficient to capture people’s interest. They have to add on all sorts of plot devices, including the ubiquitous traitor in their midst.
While Solar Crisis is terribly boring, it was certainly way ahead of its time with greedy corporations ruling the Earth. Danny Boyle appears to have lifted whole sections of the plot for Sunshine (much as he combined Day of the Triffids with Night of the Living Dead to produce 28 Days Later). At least Sunshine was exciting and visually attractive.
People Watch: Yes, that is composer Paul Williams as the voice of Freddy the Bomb (I don’t make this stuff up). Horror icon Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes) has a small part as Matthew.