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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    'And You Poor Creatures... Who Conjured You From The Clay?'

    An ambitious science fiction satire by John Boorman (Excalibur; Deliverance; Emerald Forest.) A very unique science fiction film even for the groovy days of 1974. This movie is primarily a political and social satire using science fiction as a medium. In the post-apocalyptic Earth of the 24th century, Sean Connery is Zed,an Exterminator. He and his tribe are the followers of Zardoz, their god, a flying stone head seeking food and human tribute in exchange for guns: a lot of guns! Tired of blindly following the violent commands of his god, Zed seeks to find the truth at any cost. Sneaking into the stone head, Zed finds his god and soon realizes that he doesn't like what he sees. But there's more! Zed's brief and strange encounter with his god is all part of a masterplan by the god himself. Zed is left to ponder on those questions as he finds himself trapped inside the shields of the Vortex: a protected community of advanced humans who have overcome death and who have reached the limits of human knowledge. The theme is grand and the plot, although somewhat convoluted, is excquisite. The theme touches upon the purpose of civilization and knowledge: specifically, the plot follows the thematic conflict betweeen immortality and finite knowledge. If you like science fiction movies for state-of-the art special effects, you might be disappointed. If you like science fiction as a satirical medium such as Logan's Run or Brazil, you'll probably like it. If you're a Boorman fan, you definitely need to see this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    serious camp

    I read every scrap of science fiction available to me in the 60's and early 70's as a kid; coming across Zardoz in the 70's while at college was a hoot, and all that reading prepared me to gladly accept it. Social commentary, both serious and tongue-in-cheek, is what it's about, with some ultra-violence and the old in-out thrown in. Can you resist Sean Connery in 21st century loincloth and ponytail? If so, how about Charlotte Rampling in anything? I admit it does look a bit early-70's but that's OK. Plus, it's my wife's least-favorite film of all time, which in my case at least gives it that little something extra.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Ominous 'Zardoz' Mirrors Society

    Director John Boorman's 1973 sci-fi cult classic extrapolates upon continuing socio-political trends in our world, providing a stirring vision of a future society gone wrong-- and the inevitable resolution of its discordance with the natural order. Bursting with mystical symbolism, it is definitely a film intended for an educated audience, the kind of brainy science fiction associated with a literary tradition, rather than with Hollywood-style fast-paced action-adventure. Though the scenery, cinematography and costumes are striking, the presentation now seems a bit dated, as the film precedes the special-effects revolution sparked by Star Wars in 1977. By and large, however, the mild 'camp' factor does not unduly detract from the film's essential message and relevant commentary on our world. The somewhat complex plot does warrant more than one viewing to fully extract the dense layers of meaning. 'Zardoz' is philosophical and thought-provoking, and touches on central themes of life: the vast and cyclic nature of time; the inevitability of change; the interconnection of birth, youth, old age and death; the unification of pairs of opposites; and the coexistence of divergent world-views working out as the fundamental theme in all drama-- conflict and resolution. Supported by a lesser-known but talented British/Irish cast, Sean Connery gives a fine performance as the hero, Zed, an outsider who infiltrates an impenatrable sanctuary of powerfully psychic, immortal 'custodians of the past for an uncertain future... the rich, the powerful, the clever,' who shelter themselves in comfort and complacency from the sufferings of the wretched masses in the dying outside world. Thematically the film is a 'man vs. the system' story, and Zed is the vengeful destroyer-hero who brings harmony through conflict and upheaval. Though not a benchmark of technical achievement, 'Zardoz' is a satisfying and thought-provoking story, well-suited for the moviegoer who enjoys an intellectually stimulating, philosophical workout, plus some beautiful scenery and perhaps the best cinematic use of Beethoven's 7th symphony.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Sci-Fi Art Film

    Zardoz is unjustly heralded as a "bad film" because it's simply too weird for most people. A brief synopsis of the plot suggests a dystopian sci-fi epic with social commentary on the "haves" and "have nots" of modern Western society, but still rarely prepares a person for the imaginative sets, quirky costume choices, and larger-than-life existentialism-heavy script that, combined, make up ZARDOZ.

    At times, the dialogue in (seemingly unintentionally) campy and bizarre, and the costuming choices, while unlike anything else from any other science fiction film made between the dawn of the sci-fi film and 1980, and while unlike typical 1970s fashion in many ways, still has this distinctly "badly dated '70s" look to it, mainly in their choices of colours and materials (some pieces are obviously that thick, awkward-wearing first generation polyester), but in cut and design, are obviously "futuristic" takes on ancient Mediterranean clothing. The storyline also take a strange nose-dive toward the end (my room-mate's primary complaint about it), where the symbolism of visuals and dialogue suddenly get very heavy -- to love it as anything more than a "camp classic", you need to be receptive to art films.

    The DVD is worth every penny, but fortunately, the price is still low -- the commentary track from director John Boorman is only somewhat insightful on the making of this gem of retrofuturist design and existentialist dialogue, and the trailer and radio spots are entertaining (still haven't perused the gallery of stills), but that's all there is. I would be overjoyed if an edition with interviews of the surviving cast and crew were to come out that could give better detail on the making of this film. My only complsaint about Boorman's commentary track is that near the beginning, he seems to be explaining some of the most easily comprehensible events (specifically, Zed's first moments in Arthur Frayn's house, investigating things he's never seen before); to Boorman's credit, he *says* that some viewers and fans have expressed confusion over what was going on in the scenes he explains, so while understandable, it still felt patronising the first time watching with commentary because it's scenes that just looked so obvious.

    If you go in expecting science fiction and action or even classic melodrama, you're going to be disappointed. If you expect something with a calmer and somehow more oddly optimistic feel than Derek Jarman's _Jubilee_, then you'll find something well-executed and enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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