THX 1138 Reviews
THX 1138 is kind of incomprehensible as presented. It shows this odd dystopian world which could be fascinating, but we are never clued into why things are this way, and they give almost zero exposition to help us understand the rules of this all-white world. There were elements that became clear, like the idea that society was sedated for some reason and sex was banned, but everything I figured out was from context clues or very brief throwaway lines. I think much of this would have been forgivable if the events that took place for the protagonist were more straightforward. But I didn?t feel there was any explanation given for why THX stopped taking his meds, and therefore fell prey to lust. He's put on some weird rambling trial that is tough to understand. Then when he?s on the run events seem to happen almost at random, with no clear sense of where he is or what his end goal will be.
Most of the normal qualities that I would use to judge a film are lacking in THX 1138. The acting is very robotic, but intentionally so, and therefore I have a hard time judging whether they did a good job or not. The sets/costumes/makeup/hair all were so minimalist, which is the idea, but it means those departments did nothing to impress me. In fact, the plain white of everything took away any sense of place that you?d normally have. It was impossible to tell where the characters were, or where they were going. They could have been running around in circles for all I know. It?s all up in the air and confusing. In fact the only thing that came across clearly for me in THX 1138 was the relationship between him and LUH 3417. That almost made an emotional connection for me in this stark flat film. The movie feels like many student films: an interesting concept that falls apart in the execution. It seems that Lucas is still only a one-hit-wonder for me (at least as a director.)
There's not much here as far as characters and the story is familiar, but what this film excels at is atmosphere. I love all these industrial sets in parking garages and factories. The color palate is dull and everything is uniform. You can see a lot of later movies (particularly YA movies) adopting this.
Unfortunately, the only version I could find of this was the director's cut. I thought it'd be just a longer version, but Lucas definitely pulled a "Special Edition" on this one. Awful CGI pops up a lot and completely takes you out of the movie. I mean CGI that looks like a 90's video game. It's a real shame because while the technology of the original film is dated, it still works and feels cohesive. But looking at what he's done to Star Wars, I guess it shouldn't surprise me.
Kind of a slow movie, but essential for any sci-fi or film junkie.
It looks iconic for the first time I've watched it.