Monday, March 26, 2007

Zardoz

You may wonder why I review some of the movies I do- and in complete honesty, I find myself wondering the same thing. For instance, why am I reviewing an obscure Sean Connery movie from 1974? The simple answer is that this movie is so deliciously bad that it warrants a review thirty years later. This movie was terrible, but I'm going to recommend it. It's sort of like Plan 9 From Outer Space. It's a horrendous classic everyone must see. But why should everyone see this movie? Three reasons. A genuinely interesting premise; a giant, flying, talking, stone head; and Sean Connery in a dress. Isn't that reason enough?

This movie was actually recommended to me by a teacher (as a great example of tepid film-making), and right there in class I jumped on Netflix and put it to the top of my queue. After watching the movie, I can say I was not disappointed. The idea of the movie I actually really like. It tells the story of a futuristic caste system where one group (Immortals) rules over another (Savages). The catch is that the Savages don't even know the mortals exist. They are trained to kill each other and farm, giving sacrifices to their god, Zardoz (the giant flying head). Sean Connery finds himself in the land of the Immortals, and they are immediately intrigued by him. The group is bored with their immortality, and find excitement in this change of pace. Eventually, however, Connery brings distrust and violence to the immortals.

On the surface this doesn't actually sound like that bad of a movie. Unfortunately the acting is horrendous. Sean Connery did this movie with an entire cast of unknowns, simply because he was fresh off of playing James Bond, and nobody would hire him for more serious roles. (If you've ever seen Finding Forrester, he's still struggling to find that role.) The acting almost works well together, though, because it's all so monotonous, but equally so.

Many parts of the movie are long and tedious, and others are long, tedious, and make no sense. I mean no sense whatsoever. It's hard for me to tell, but I'm pretty sure a lot of what happens contradicts other things. And at the end, the entire thing just falls apart. Honestly, it's almost as if writer/director John Boorman literally unraveled the script at the end, and threw together whatever randomness he could put down on film.

There are amusing moments with his interacting with many nude women, effeminate men, and various groups of immortals including the apathetic (pretty much anybody who watches the movie), and the renegades (crazy old immortals). They use him for tests, labor, and of course- sex. Connery takes all of this in stride, thinking that he is actually already dead.

This movie isn't a total loss, however. It has some social commentary to it- actually a lot of it. In fact, that's pretty much all it is. The entire movie revolves around a dominant class that keeps the other one subdued and enslaved. There's even sexism, and capital punishment sprinkled in there. Leave it to a cheesy 70's sci-fi flick to beat us over the head with lessons about discrimination. I do like the idea, I do like the message, and I do like...um...Sean Connery in a dress. I just wish the rest of the movie was on par with these three pluses. It's a shame that these messages would mean more coming from a better movie. Even though the movie is rather dreadful, I'm still going to encourage you to see it. It's still not as bad as some of the movies being made today (see my review of the Hitcher). Zardoz, despite all of its flaws may actually entertain you. Do I need to reiterate?- Sean Connery in a dress.

2/5

1 comment:

NOVAK said...

Zardoz freaks me out.