Pssst, want to check out THX 1138 in our new look?
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Displays the real creative talent George Lucas had as a burgeoning filmmaker. It's hard to believe this visually appealing and creative film came from the same guy as those god-awful Star Wars prequels.
movie looks great, but falls flat in every other aspect. the only thing it has going for itself besides the visuals is the promising premise/concept, which was ruined through a half-assed script, techno-mumbo-jumbo-dialog and awful pacing. the timer says 1:30 h. my gut said 2h. when i was halfway through.
Before George Lucas changed the direction of movie sci-fi, he swam WITH the current, writing and directing a 1970s dystopian film called THX 1138. Fitting somewhere between 1984 and Brave New World (and seemingly an inspiration for the Paranoia RPG as much as those two books are), the film paints a bleak, antiseptic portrait of the future where we live underground, where conformity is the rule of law, and where love and sex are banned. The plot, such as it is, follows Robert Duvall's THX 1138 getting off the meds and into his roommate's bed, and getting punished for it. Donald Pleasance is another non-compliant whose agenda is never completely understood. While I respect the world building, it goes so far as to create the tedium of this world, and the characters' tedium sort of becomes our own. The movie is LANGUOROUS and yet, somehow, manages to end in an interminable car chase. Intriguing, but sleep inducing and ultimately, unsatisfying. The 2004 edition has Lucas return to insert bad CG shots that feel extremely out of place in the otherwise remorselessly raw footage, because he can never ever leave a movie he's made alone. These aren't works in progress, George! I don't need to tell you they don't add anything important to the film.
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In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #83 in BFI's 100 Science Fiction Films
This movie ranks #92 in Total Sci-Fi's The 100 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies
This movie ranks #148 in Butler's Fantasy Cinema: Impossible Worlds on Screen
This movie ranks #224 in Jennifer Eiss's 500 Essential Cult Movies
This movie ranks #901 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die