THX 1138 Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 6, 2014
An excessively cold sci-fi that deserves credit not so much for its plot (Lucas doesn't seem to care enough about exploring his ideas to make some consistent social commentary) as it does for its technical merits, with a great use of visual effects and sound design.
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2007
This is George Lucas's feature film debut: a startling feature length remake of a short film he made as a student in film school.

The story is a futuristic sci-fi dystopia sort of thing in the vein of Orwell or Huxley, with some Kafka thrown in for good measure. Everything is very bland, cold, clinical, and dominated by the color white. Everyone has a shaved head, and no one stands out from anyone else. Everyone is also under the control of mind altering drugs that regulate their behavior, thoughts, and emotions and they are always nder constant surveillance.

One citizen in particulatr though, known as THX 1138, wants that all to end, and begins a quest to break free from this confining world and escape to a place where individuality might just be a possibility.

The style and stroytelling are extremely minimalist, and the plot is really bare bones. There's some dialogue, but it is very sparse, so most of the world building is done through visuals and sound design, both of which are top notch. This is art directed to the nth degree, and that's what makes it really enjoyable and fascinating. If only Lucas had continued ot make more films like this, then he might be celebrated as one of the best art film directors ever. I'm not kidding.Lalo Schifrin gives a nicely haunting score, and the performances, especially from Duvall and Pleasance are pretty good.

All in all, this is a pretty striking piece of work. It might have been nice to have a bit more explanation and backstory, but as an experimental exercise in tone and mood, and just an overall creepy and hypnotic experience in general, this is some wonderful stuff.
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2011
This George Lucas breakthrough film is an interesting take on an Orwellian future, especially for its visual and aural boldness. Unfortunately, its story is as sterilized as its scenery.
Super Reviewer
½ June 1, 2011
George Lucas' debut feature film is a dystopian society film about an underground society where people are controlled and everything is monitored. THX 1138 reminds me heavily of George Orwell's 1984. I am a huge fan of Dystopian novels/films etc. I was very much impressed with Lucas' first film and I consider it a Sci Fi masterpiece and a classic. I thought it was beautifully filmed, and told. The story was well paced and featured a lot of parallels of what was going to become the now famous Star Wars trilogy. THX 1138 has an impressive cast of actors, and they have great chemistry. I loved Donald Pleasence in this film, and is one of the best actors of this period. Robert Duvall also gives a splendid performance as THX, the title character of this picture. Watching this film, you feel like you're reading a George Orwell / Aldous Huxley novel. The world that THX tries to escape from is exactly how I pictured Huxley's world in Brave New World, and it's laws and restrictions on the people living in the underground dystopia echo that of Orwell's 1984. In many ways, THX 1138 is a stepping stone for Star Wars, without it, George Lucas couldn't have crafted Star Wars. I don't believe that THX 1138 is greater than Star Wars, but I would say that both films are two of s kind. They're very different, but there is so many similarities as well. THX 1138 is a masterful film that is a classic of the genre, and with a strong story and great acting and drama, THX 1138 is a compelling film not to be missed by fans of Sci Fi or Lucas fans in general.
Super Reviewer
½ November 10, 2006
THX 1138 is a tough movie to get your head around at times. Its great in the sense that George Lucas managed to forcefully get you to empathize with the title character by almost making you feel what he feels. The discombobulating first and a disorienting second act almost put you in Robert Duvall's head then give way to a frantic final half hour. THX 1138 is a jarring and creepy movie at points (namely anytime Donald Pleasence is on the screen in a wonderfully nutty performance) but at the same time its also brilliant and visually stunning at others. Of course, Lucas had to go back and screw with the effects again but despite its faults and the fact that I fell asleep during 3 attempts watching it before I finally got through it, THX 1138 is a great movie.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
George Lucas' first film is an interesting sci-fi story, but it leaves you flat in the end. It starts out exciting, gets confusing, and then doesn't end well. It could have been a much better movie. Maybe he'll remake it someday?
Super Reviewer
April 2, 2007
In a Big Brother style future society where the population are controlled through sedation and a robotic police force, two of its inhabitants decide to rebel and leave their clinical, oppressive environment. Based on a student project Lucas made himself some years earlier, THX 1138 is one of those 70s "concept" sci-fis sharing ideas with the likes of Logan's Run and Planet of The Apes and has been very influential in itself over the years. The idea of a subdued, barcoded and identical populace has since passed into cliche, but this film was one of the first to explore the idea and stylistically it's still marvellous. Lucas shows a great eye for composition and the production design of the robots and vehicles in particular still looks great, as does Lucas' clever choices of location. Unfortunately what is missing is any real sense of narrative momentum and emotional involvement; the plot is essentially just a long chase sequence with little explanation as to where the protagonists are going and why. Still worth seeing for some excellent visuals and sound design but there is a real sense of "Is that it?" when you reach the rather unsatisfying conclusion.
Super Reviewer
November 1, 2010
George Lucas' only good film. Sure, the 4 "Star Wars" films he directed were great entertainment, but they were far from intellectually stimulating. "THX 1138" is sleek, stylish, sparse and probing. Full of great visuals and commentary. Compared to Lucas' legacy, "THX 1138" almost seems like a fluke for how good it really is.
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2010
THX-1138 is a more than your average science fiction film. It's a film that says something about human society, it's also a movie distinctly set in the 1960s and at the same time a very entertaining movie.The film has a naturalistic feel at a future society which gives it a haunting feel and let's the audience decide for themselves what they are seeing. The film does away with the need for exposition and thus it allows the movie to go on without the need to stop it excessively to make sure the audience is following.The performances are calculatingly human and provide the film with a human face amidst its haunting imagery. The images of bald humans who live their lives without thinking about much anything is a sight that stops you from time to time. However, the movie avoids dullness by being very personified by moments of absurdity and levity.Over-all there's not really anything bad you can say about the film as it is so unique in its genre. It's an impressive feat in film-making for the day and definitely an under-rated classic. It's captivating, bizarre and beautiful all at the same time. As a film it shows all of George Lucas' strengths and none of his weaknesses.
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2010
George Lucas developing his science fiction chops, a lot of the techniques you can tell were used in Star Wars, such as the robotic voices and the futuristic look. A trippy movie, kind of out there, definitely has a Kubrick feel but more stripped down. Don't really know what the balls is going on in this movie, an update will be added when I figure it out.

Update: Looks great George, just cook the chops a little longer, just throw in some American Graffiti and you'll get Star Wars.
Super Reviewer
½ November 30, 2007
Not half bad actually. Once again this was in a time when George Lucas somehow didn't suck. I think it has something to do with the power of technology corrupting him. Anyhow, fun film. Not a very orignal idea, but great visuals. I didn't know Robert Duvall was going to be in it, and that was a treat. I love how the outskirts of town are crawling with smelly midget creatures. I wish the movie had gone on to show him starving to death outside. I suppose one of the cool things about this movie is how little they show or explain about the world they live in. Who is in charge, how do they run things, etc. It makes us feel like the character himself; confused and scared.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2008
Classic sci-fi/human interest film. Lucas, leave it alone.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2009
A decent film detailing a "1984"-ish government in the 25th century in which everyone is bald, wears white, and sexual connection between roommates is prohibited. For the first hour, I was very bored with this movie. It's not as haunting as Lucas wants it to be, it's no "2001", that's for sure. However, the last half hour does pick up considerably, including a mystifying ending that is indeed well executed. This is an okay movie, but I found the film "1984" to be more effectively devastating from a mood perspective, although the set design of this film is wonderfully bland. Watchable definitely, but certainly skip-able.
Super Reviewer
October 13, 2009
A pretty cool concept, nicely executed.
It's easy to say that it is a bit slow in parts, but if you think of it...that feeling contributes well to the general feel of the society being depicted.
There are bits and pieces of future "film inspirations' littered throughout.
Not a perfect film, but all things impressive one.
Super Reviewer
½ August 10, 2009
It's no surprise that Lucas went on to much bigger things after this interesting and understated sci-fi film. Like Brazil and 1984 it offers up a grim version of the future where humans are treated more like cattle. The film is overall, a very creepy affair that purposefully distances us from the actual events. The biggest problems come from Lucas' tweaks to the DC, with added CGI beasties that are nothing but a distraction from the 70's feel.
Super Reviewer
½ April 4, 2007
I?ll be the first to admit that this is not familiar territory for me when it comes to Sci-Fi films. For me, there were good parts in the beginning of the film, where I was reminded of more recent films such as ?The Island? and ?Equilibrium?, both I should imagaine look influence from this film, and then there were incredibly dull parts and couldn't wait for the ending to come.
Super Reviewer
June 1, 2008
Just completely odd-as-shit, but that's just George Lucas for you. A very visual experience that has it's moments to keep its head above water. Not horrible, but Lucas has done better, like those two franchises whose names escape me at the moment. They're small, indie films I believe. (rolls eyes)
Super Reviewer
½ January 31, 2009
I was a little disappointed by this one. It dragged on in many places and it was only an hour and a half to begin with. I like the originality of the future that Lucas created. It definitely makes me feel grateful for the liberties I have today.
Super Reviewer
January 5, 2009
This movie truly is a piece of cinematic science-fiction art. People who say the last couple of years that George Lucas is a bad writer and director should be forced to go and watch this movie.

The movie is very artistic and therefor is not really that watchable for everybody. Fans of the science-fiction genre however will love this movie. Star Wars fans will also notice some subtle things and elements in this movie, that Lucas later used, mostly in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope".

A lot of professional people were involved in this brilliant serious big movie debut by George Lucas. Producer Francis Ford Coppola, composer Lalo Schifrin, Walter Murch and actor Donald Pleasence. Robert Duvall plays the main part in the movie but he was a fairly unknown actor at the time. Donald Pleasence really was a wonderful actor and he shows that once more in this movie. Robert Duvall also really is excellent as the main character THX 1138.

The story really is secondary in this movie. It's all about the visuals. The special effects in this movie were also surprising good especially when considering that this movie was made in 1971.

The movie also knows to be tense at the right times and the end chase is pretty spectacular and nicely done.

I for one truly love this perfect piece of visual art. Not a movie for everyone though.
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