Warner Bros. // 2004 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 2nd, 2005
Touted as the "Kids WB's First-Ever Movie," Zolar tells the story of a blue-skinned teenaged extraterrestrial who possesses immense galactic power but is interested primarily in skating with his friends and reconciling his freakish exterior with the norms of society. And surviving attempts on his life by the evil interstellar overlord Hedion. That concerns him too.
Fourteen years ago a burst of galactic energy smacked into planet Earth. A guy named Skip (David Millbern) happened to discover what was deposited -- a blue-skinned alien baby. Skip, obviously, claimed the baby as his own, named it Zolar, and proceeded to do what any normal person who just found an extraterrestrial would do: teach it to skateboard!
In the present day, four friends -- Keiko, Dex, Hanson, and Chelsea -- are trying to break into the extreme sports circuit. Be it rollerblading or skateboarding or even snowboarding, all four prove to have the will, but not the skill. Their combined mediocrity continues to depress them, until one day they run into Skip and Zolar. Skip offers to train them in the way of awesome skateboarding, while also giving his adopted alien freak boy a chance to make friends with some normal kids.
Everyone immediately becomes friends. However, the evil Hedion (C. Thomas Howell), a powerful space bad guy, seeks the power that Zolar has within him. To capture Zolar and retrieve this mojo, he dispatches some cronies to Earth, chief among them some clown named Geommer.
Geommer puts together a scheme to trick Zolar and takes him prisoner. It's now up to Zolar's new friends to spring their blue chum, and prevent Geommer from taking over the universe.
If that synopsis made the movie sound like crap, then I did my job well. Zolar may have some merit for kids who like snowboarding and skating (of which there is surprisingly little, seeing that the film's full title is Zolar: The Extreme Sports Movie), but overall it's a painful experience for sentient life forms of all ages.
First off, let me say that Zolar is harmless stuff. It's nonviolent, there is no innuendo, and it stresses the quality of friendship. It's also really, really stupid.
All style and almost no substance, Zolar is a movie content with slathering on weak computer- generated effects, horrid quasi-punk music, and bad makeup jobs in lieu of a mildly interesting plot.
To be fair, Zolar's action isn't much different from other attention-deficit sugar-soaked live-action kids' hooey that's on the air. And the generic morals of acceptance of different people and loyalty among friends are in place. But those shows aren't necessarily yardsticks for quality children's entertainment (see Power Rangers Dino Thunder).
The plot for this movie is as close to nonsensical as you can get. How does a hippie guy who lives in a bus raise a blue alien in such a discreet manner for fourteen years? And why does he do that? And how come the evil aliens attack on skateboards? And do these kids have any parents? And if they do, do they mind their children risking plasma death at the hands of malevolent creatures from another planet?
Sure, you can cop out as often as you'd like by just calling Zolar a typical kids' movie, but the sooner we can recognize that movies can suck just as hard for kids as they can for adults, we'll be on our way to a more inclusive, equal society.
Warner Bros. has treated you Zolar fans well with this disc. The transfer, a matted widescreen, is decent; colors are bright and the quality is clean. A front-loaded 5.1 Dolby Digital mix accompanies, and doesn't do much to envelope the viewer in the movie. Hey, don't complain.
Some truly bizarre interviews with the cast and crew make up the bonus features. One of the producers goes on and on about Zolar being a "savior" and a Messianic figure -- please, it's a kid in blue makeup skateboarding! A behind-the-scenes featurette that included more interview footage tacks on another 15 minutes or so to the offering.
The most amusing part of this movie was the cameo by pro skater Jason Ellis, who plays an "alien" whose sole purpose is to supply some lengthy, incoherent exposition. This has to be the most godforsaken line reading ever! I'm sure Ellis is awesome on a half-pipe, but hearing him awkwardly rattle off his lines made me turn bluer in the face than Zolar himself.
Not much different from most of the brain-numbing kiddie fare out there, Zolar still stinks. A ridiculous plot, overuse of cheap effects, painful dialogue, and amateurish acting should be enough to turn any kid watching it into the cynical bastard who sits here typing this today.
Guilty. Zo long, Zolar.
Review content copyright © 2005 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Cast and Crew Interviews
* "How to Make a Cool Alien" Featurette