Tag Archives: Zardoz

What The Hell Did I Just Watch?

21 Jul

I happened to see Zardoz (1974) was available on Hulu. All I knew is that it was terrible and was one of those films I’m sure Sean Connery wish he never did (including Highlander II). But then one of my friends convinced me, “Oh, no – it’s really good. Watch it!” Okay – and I descended into movie-watching hell.

I’m not going to put a spoiler warning here because this movie is already spoiled. There is no way to describe this film–even the official description makes absolutely no sense after the first fifteen minutes. It starts off with a floating head explaining sophomoric philosophy, followed by a killing spree and a (different) giant floating head while Beethoven plays in the background.

You follow the floating head for the credits, which should have told me to run away right there. I already had the “pretentious” flag from the intro, the killing spree by men in scanty clothing, the Beethoven… but then, the “written, produced, and directed by” warning right there? I should have stopped right there!

Now if you love this film, then you and I expect different things out of movies. I expect a story. I don’t expect a visual representation of the pointlessness of existence or the ennui of being really… really old. The story should be the plot. You can have a message, you can have a really obvious message, but there needs to be a story. This has no story – it is “look at this cool universe” and “this is the message” kind of movie. The first could be forgiven – the second screams “art film.”

It’s not just that this is 70’s sci-fi. I love Logan’s Run. I love Soylent Green. But I was reading a review of this film that encapsulated it all. Will Thomas said, “A fascinating reminder of what cinematic science fiction used to be like before Star Wars, this risible hodge-podge of literary allusions, highbrow porn, sci-fi staples, half baked intellectualism and a real desire to do something revelatory misses the mark by a hundred miles.”

There is a lot of boobies. A lot of “Show me more of this human thing called sex.” I now understand the “Big Giant Head” joke from 3rd Rock from the Sun. I feel asleep twice during this film… and only felt the need to rewind once. I skipped past a five minute montage of teaching Zed… with lots of boobies. There were two redeeming points in the movie – and I’m giving nothing away here – one is where Zed learns to read, the other was the Apathetics licking Sean Connery.

And then it ends, as you knew it was going to end, with a denouement which would have been nice if it hadn’t been so creepy. It reminds me of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Most of the film is slow-motion shots of “Look how cool these effects are!” set to the Blue Danube Waltz, fifteen minutes of “That’s a neat story,” and an artsy ending.

I’m gonna give this a 8/10 on the WTF meter. The only movie I’ve ever seen that rating higher (9/10) was Motorama (1991); I figure a 10/10 would destroy the fabric of the universe. I am also going to punish my friend for telling me to watch this film. My retribution will be swift.

How would you punish my friend? What piece of garbage would you make him watch? Write your answer in the comments below.

P.S. Shaktimaan (the TV show) is not an option. That’s just cruel and unusual punishment.

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