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THX 1138

A couple of days ago, I watched THX 1138.

God, it was awful.

The first full length feature by George Lucas (and produced by Francis Ford Coppola, no less), THX 1138 is an example of how Lucas' trademarked ability to "lift concepts" from other works and reapply them can have disastrous consequences. THX 1138 has as background a society in the future that feels like a mix of what we see in Huxley's Brave New World and Orwell's 1984.

The movie is slow, pretentious, and boring. Similarly the score (good at times) pretends to be oppressive and starts being annoying halfway through the movie.

Its vision of the future is not "explained": we are never told how the world got to be what it is. For whatever reason people refer to each other (and to almost everything else) by alphanumeric combinations ("THX 1138" is the name of the main character). I suppose this passes for symbolism of how the "electronic age" would take away all humanity. People somehow seem to remember these 7- or 8-digit sequences effortlessly, I suppose the better memory displayed by these opressed humans is on account of being drugged all day with tranquilizers and such?

Even though most society has gone (again, for no apparent reason) underground, when THX 1138 (the character) is imprisoned, the prison is a huge, seemingly endless white space with no doors. The character, dressed in white, his head shaven, is almost invisible in the sea of whiteness. Visually, it's very impressive, but it makes little sense that a prison this size (and an underground prison, no less) would be used for a single man. Whatever happened to sensory deprivation? It would certainly be cheaper, and all that empty space could be used as a dance floor or as a big lounge with sofas and coffee tables with water and cookies for all visitors who wander into this fortress of despair.

The movie has aged badly, and its "vision of the future" is simplistic, almost childish, particularly considering that it was released about two years after 2001: A Space Odyssey and they could have drawn some inspiration from that movie on how to look at the future. A small bugdet was almost certainly a factor in the low quality of the costumes, etc.

On a lighter note, there are a series of appearances by groups of "robot-cops" with hilarious metal masks (I think they are supposed to be threatening, but I couldn't help laughing) and long black sticks that, when used to stun people (by contact) they produced a sound very similar to the Star Wars lightsabers....

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on July 16 2002 at 10:15 AM

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