Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 214: Zardoz (1974) - Rank 2.5/5


Whether it's early in his career with the likes of "Deliverance" or later endeavors, such as "The Tailor of Panama," I'm typically a fan of John Boorman's work. He's got a great knack for compounding suspense as his films progress, often choosing lowly characters to become involved in something grand, typically without choice on their part. When I first saw the trailer for "Zardoz," I thought that visually, the film looked spectacular. Sean Connery hamming it up was an added bonus and Boorman at the helm fresh after "Deliverance," I had no doubt in my mind that the film would be awesome. But I came to learn that my instincts were a tad off on this one.

Set at the turn of the 24th century, the human race has split off into two factions - bloodthirsty warriors (the Exterminators) and the telepathic Eternals, whose name indicates their lifespans. Zed (Sean Connery), the greatest of all Exterminators, leaps into the mouth of the floating head of Zardoz (a "deity" that warns of the dangers of the penis and belches out automatic rifles to his followers), where he kills the Eternal operating the stone noggin. He's taken to the Vortex, where he's a creature of fascination to all present, and soon he undertakes the task of killing a sentient presence, known only as the Tabernacle, so that the Eternals can finally die if they choose to, thus injecting something new into their boring lives. Actually, any attempt to explain the film only makes it seem more perplexing.

I really wanted to like the film, but it lost and bored me intermittently between awesome visual sequences. I'll at least give it some credit where credit is due, because it's pretty damn unique and experimental, though the plot gets convoluted at times. Charlotte Rampling's breasts smooth out any kinks a certain extent. This would actually be an interesting film to see a remake produced (as much of an antithesis to my movie morals as that might seem), but it would have to be as visually stimulating and surreal as Boorman's vision and I'm not sure if general audiences in this day and age would be ready for something like that - myself included (especially if it means recruiting modern-day Sean Connery to dart about in a red diaper as he does in the film...shudder).

Watch the Trailer

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