Sunday, December 12, 2010
When I was 12 or so I was given a book of Science Fiction movie trivia quizzes. It was mostly Star Trek and Star Wars with a smattering of other things as well. I had at least heard of most of the other movies, but for some reason the film Zardoz stood out as one I'd never heard of. Maybe it was because it included the above picture of Sean Connery in a diaper, but that name stuck with me all these years hence. I'd heard it was a classic. I'd heard it was terrible. I'd heard it was a film Connery would like to forget. Well, I've finally seen it, and it is definitely two out of those three. It was released in 1974, and apparently had a budget of about $20, most of which seemingly went to the local pot dealer. The story, as far as I can tell, is about a far future where the world has been separated into the technological, and immortal elite, and the radiation ravaged rabble, and in between a race of exterminators who worship a giant floating stone head called Zardoz. Connery plays one of the exterminators who inexplicably ends up inside the stone head, and then is taken in to the elite society for study, and adventures ensue. And by adventures I mean two hours of head scratching, breasts, and inexplicable plot twists that either mean the film makers were stoned out of their minds, or were really hoping the audience would be...or both. In its favor the story is very reminiscent of some of the best post-apocalyptic books of the era, and I can see where legendary schlock junkie, John Boorman, was going with the film, but the execution of the story is so clunky and disjointed that rather than being an interesting and cautionary tale about the dangers of scientists playing god, it is more the cinematic equivalent of a Doors album. You don't have to be high to watch it, but it probably helps a lot. I blame Stanley Kubrik, actually. 2001: A Space Odyssey was brilliant, but even today it baffles people as to the 'true' meaning of some of the scenes, especially the ending. So it only follows that lesser film makers have adopted the philosophy that if the audience cannot figure out what's going on, they'll just assume it's high art and sing its praises. Not so with Zardoz. The Netflix write up calls it a 'cult classic', but I can't imagine sitting through it a second time, but then again I no longer partake of the substances that might make that an enjoyable giggle-fest. There is a lot of 70s style nudity, which means breasts, but even there the attempt to make the sexual subplot about a 'wild man' being introduced to a sexless and sterile society is, well, flaccid. About the only plus to the movie is that Connery spends the majority of his screen time wearing only his orange panties, so if you find a bit of Bond beefcake to your liking, this film is a feast. If not, might I recommend Silent Running or The Omega Man for your 70s SciFi needs.
Back to you, Stinkypaw.