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Unwatchable. Took it out at 33 minutes
An old early 70's sci-fi movie that features a dystopian future where everyone's bald and has names that look like license plate numbers. This one was very hard to keep up with as far as me not dozing off due to extreme boringness. I can tell you three things that stood out: 1.)the weird confessional that is basically a poster of a closeup of Jesus's face with a weird robotic voice 2.)a scene featuring Robert Duvall jacking it to some kind of cheesy holographic porn with a naked black chica dancing to some kind of African tribal music and 3.)Duvall's character in a high speed chase at the end in what looks like an early 70's Ferrari that crashes(he survives though) in a tunnel that has some kind of ape like creatures who sound like sick, dying cats. Oh and the police look like a crappy version of Silver Surfer in cop clothes. So yeah... other than that I don't really remember a damn thing about this, hah.
The first glimmer of George Lucas' genius. Admittedly, he was never a master of dialogue, as demonstrated in this film, but the visuals are striking and the action sequences are compelling.
A stunning piece of filmmaking that was ahead of its time but it is not for everyone. Layers upon layers of meaning, many time with only imagines, make this a movie that rewards you the more you take it in. The future where drugs control our emotions and cameras are everywhere is still a future that can be written for mankind.
George Lucas is now primarily known as the creative force behind Star Wars (1977), which would go on to produce one of the most popular media franchises of all time. Earlier in his career he had directed the wonderful American Graffiti (1973) and this influential science fiction film. It was at my father's urging that I watched this and I am glad I did. It's a concise inventive exploration of free will vs. determinism and the effects that environmental changes could have on our lives. Robert Duvall's presence as the lead actor was obviously a big draw and as expected he was great but the presence of other lesser known actors as the figures that populate the bizarre world that this film operates within. If you like science fiction films from the 1960s and 1970s this is a must-watch.
THX 1138, Robert Duvall, lives in a future in which everybody is drugged to prevent them from having sexual feelings about others and reproducing and to keep them under the control of the state who only want them to perform menial tasks. He falls in love with LUH 3417, Maggie McOmie, and they engage in sexual contact. He then makes the decision to stop taking the drugs which alerts him to the authorities and causes him to be imprisoned and then separated from LUH after it is discovered she is pregnant with their child.
The film engages with it's fascist allegory better than most science fiction films do as we see the influence of the state everywhere. Even religion is controlled by them as there are no priests available to offer consultancy but instead a pre-recorded message from a robot creepily intones that he will attain happiness by following the rules of the state. Everybody looks the same, they have shaved heads and wear white long sleeved shirts and pants, causing them to blend together and appear like human resources instead of individuals. Even the ending of the film, spoiler: The sun is far too close to the surface of the earth therefore society has moved underground, questions whether escaping from this society is better than being free. This way, THX is almost certainly barred from seeing his child or LUH ever again and will die of starvation, dehydration or radiation quickly.
The central point of the film then is that we should not harm our environment so much at this point that our ancestors live in a world where it is necessary to have them controlled. Overpopulation appears to be a major problem as even the prison is extremely overcrowded. The living quarters that every person lives in are as small and nondescript as everybody else and genders, races and body types blend together to prevent certain people from rising above others. The environment on the outside appears apocalyptic and it is clear that there is nowhere to go that will allow human life to flourish, what a dark vision.
Lucas' direction already shows stunning attention to visuals as the disturbing lack of bright colors and monotony of the life that THX lives is shown with an incandescent white present at all times. He creates a concise film that can be oddly entertaining despite containing characters who are subdued almost all the time and a very bleak scenario. He does not fall prey to clichÃ (C)s of the genre and his handling of the suffering of THX and LUH feels more subtle than say Logan's Run (1976). He had huge artistic abilities and it seems so strange that someone initially so opposed what was popular in the early 1970s would become a purveyor of mainstream cinema.
This is a great movie even as it doesn't contain the wacky, child-friendly supporting characters usually present in films directed, written or produced by Lucas, it feels like one of his most pure creative visions. If you are going to watch his non-Star Wars work I would urge you to watch American Graffiti first but this is a far more worthy effort than Howard the Duck (1986) or Strange Magic (2015). If you want a break from the mindless Avengers movies of today this is a film that works within it's genre but is far more interesting than you would initially be lead to believe.
Most Underrated George Lucas of all time
As a Sci-Fi fan THX-1138 is probably a movie I should have seen by now. To be honest, though, I hadn't really been all that interested in it for the most part. There isn't any malicious reason for it. The movie just never seemed to pique my interest. That is until I found a copy in the dollar bin because I am a poor man hiding behind a cheap suit.
As George "Red Tails" Lucas's first film, I have to say that I was equally impressed with visuals, and ideas, as I was unimpressed by the lifeless story, and dull execution of some scenes. That's not to say I didn't enjoy myself while watching, I just felt that as the movie went on it started to feel a bit empty. It was like the constant stream of information and conversation happening over the main parts of the film were a way to disguise that there really wasn't much going on with the plot. Sure, THX has some heavy-handed themes including lack of identity and government suppression. The lack of a leader figure beyond the religious view was also very prevalent, leading to organized chaos that mostly works, but isn't quite there for me. The stand out character hammers home this story lite idea, as Donald Pleasence is fantastic in this as another rule breaker who is a bit mentally tossed, and yet his motive is never known past, needing a new roommate. Still, some scenes were just cool. Watching them make some robots, the mindlock scene was really good, and the nerd in me enjoyed the fun but somewhat hokey chase at the end.
All in all, THX-1138 is a solid film and a really neat debut from Mr.Lucas. Just thinking of how this must have looked in the early 70's shows that he was ahead of his time. I wonder what happened.
Creepy sci fi world.
The strangest, most scatterbrained movie I have ever seen. At some point Lucas throws in a midget in a scene in jail. Guess the circus was in town. And, at the end of the movie, Lucas throws in some half-alien monkey to jump on Duvall's back where seemingly it doesn't make sense. Guess we know who wrote a lot of the latest "Indiana Jones" movie.
A disturbing sci-fi movie, a debut, from George Lucas, a cerebral movie clearly influenced by philosophical "Space Odyssey". I really wish Lucas had had focused more on doing this kind of sci-fi movies instead of crowd-pleasing "Star Wars". A true science-fiction movie should be of this quality: pondering on philosophical questions of human existence, of its aim and progress (or, more accurately, regress) into a bleak and terrifying future, post-modernism in its bright wrap.