It’s Space May Days here at The Mustache and The Beard, and have I got an obscure movie for you? It’s to my understanding, that when the Mustache and the Beard started their Space May Days, it was to celebrate what they referred to as Space Operas: Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and things along that nature. It has since turned into something more.
So, it was interesting to me that I came across something that can only be described as a polar opposite. Solis is as far from a space opera as you can get. One guy, one escape pod, one sun. No large cast of characters, in a vast galaxy. No larger-than-life spaceships that house cities within them. No jump to hyperspace. Just a guy in a pod aimlessly floating throughout the void of space.
It’s not so much an opera, as it is a one man show. It’s a film about survival more
than anything else. Solis was released in 2018. It was written and directed by Carl Strathie, and stars Steven Ogg. Up until Solis, Strathie had only done independent, short films. While Ogg was best known for Trevor in the video game Grand Theft Auto V. Not only was Ogg the voice for Trevor, but he also wore the motion capture suit to perform the actions as Trevor.
The only other major player in the movie was the voice of actress Alice Lowe. She’s collaborated with Simon Pegg in Hot Fuzz and The World’s End. Ogg plays a mining prospector and engineering technician, Troy Halloway, for the Orbis Mining Corp on Athen 2024 DEC. When a mining accident happens the astronauts that he was with are killed, and he escapes to the EEV Khapera 2 evacuation pod.
When Halloway awakens, he is hurt very badly and finds that he is the only survivor of the accident. He’s able to establish radio communication with Commander Roberts who is aboard the Hathor 18. However, the beacon on Halloway’s pod has been damaged and she has a hard time triangulating his position but vows to find him and rescue him. All while he is hurtling through space and heading
towards the sun.
Halloway’s troubles don’t end there, though. As the escape pod has been badly damaged and vital equipment to keep alive along with it. Running out of oxygen and getting hotter by the minute as he heads towards the sun, he has to take on daunting tasks to keep himself alive until help arrives.
It sounds very dramatic on paper and director Straithie plays on that. But maybe a little too much. First off, the movie is not as bad as some of the reviews would suggest. It currently has 0% on Rotten Tomatoes Fresh-o-Meter with avg rating of 4.6. But let’s break it down and take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of this film.
The good? Honestly for a low budget straight to streaming film the special effects are outstanding. The exterior shots of the ship are believable enough, and the shots of the sun are truly mesmerizing. Almost hypnotic in a way. The shots of Steven Ogg moving around the ship in zero gravity are right on par with Apollo 13 and Gravity.
Ogg himself does an admirable job of carrying the movie since he is literally the only person on-screen for the whole movie. Ogg doesn’t get enough credit for his acting abilities as he usually type-cast as a bad guy because of the sheer intensity that he can bring to the screen, but it was nice to see him in something that is completely stripped down and raw like this. It makes not only the character very vulnerable, but the actor as well.
Then there is the score and music throughout the film. This may be no space opera but the music itself is very operatic. Adding to the drama unfolding before us, the music tries to ramp the intensity and urgency for the film as Halloway gets closer and closer to his potential demise. Given the score, the acting, and the special effects, I can’t see why this movie falls flat.
Unfortunately, I would have to point my finger at the director Strathie himself.
As mentioned earlier Strathie had only done short films up until this point. This was evident throughout the film. Solis itself probably could have done very well as a short film. It’s throughout the 2nd and 3rd acts of the film where things start to become strained and redundant.
Something as simple as getting to a lever to pull it becomes a 10-minute adventure
that could’ve been done in half the time. Strathie essentially over-dramatizes what is already a very dramatic situation. It didn’t need to be overplayed. Overall, I really did enjoy this movie. Truth be told, I’m a huge GTA V fan therefore I am a huge fan of Steven Ogg and follow his career with great interest, so it was nice to see him be the star of the show for a change.
There are more strengths than flaws in this movie, and I give it a solid 3 out of 5 Grey Geeks. And now I’m off onto the next adventure that Mustache has sent me on. So, keep watching, keep reading, and keep your eyes on the skies for more Space May Days.