Ditto, I really don't know if I loved or hated this movie.
Quite good film with an interesting concept and some cool hallucination sequences. The acting was alright and the production work was solid as well. The script and dialogue was a bit all over the place. The movie could have been a lot better had it not had the "man-ape-sequence" which was awful and ridiculous and dragged the movie down. The "love-conquers-all-ending" was also a let down. Good music score though...
"The final truth of all things is that there is no final Truth. Truth is what's transitory. It's human life that is real." I'm not sure how I felt about this one. There's really nothing philosophical here, it's all bullshit. Like, I can see hip teenagers sitting around high watching this and thinking it's incredibly profound. In reality it's more of a John Carpenter style genre flick, and the parts that hold up the best are those that are just for sheer entertainment. It becomes problematic when it reaches for something more. Ken Russell's trippy 2001esque montages are still georgous to look at, though, but there just isn't much of a point. But still, it's enjoyable, it's garish and over the top and it has apemen. That alone is worth something.
Terrible,all except for the montage of the beginning of time. The acting was so bad. Anything Hurt said had zero sincerity. One of the scenes at the end when he's telling his wife he loves her he then, whilst explaining his carthartic moment, walks into the kitchen with his back to her. The primordial human scenes were genuinely hilarious although i'm dubious as to their wanted effect. The ultimate truth? Hope not.
watching this as a kid was one of those things that probably doomed me to be a weird teen--returning to it as an adult, the story feels oddly quaint, like a snapshot of a state of mind that doesn't really exist anymore, but Ken Russell's camera tricks hold up, and I think it's still worth viewing for anyone who considers the manic sincerity of the story a feature rather than a bug.
I just wish it hadn't been so heavy handed. Leaving a little to the imagination of the viewer could've really improved what slowly became a mediocre movie as it progressed. The core idea and philosophy behind the experiments is quite vast and really wonderful, but I felt it was shoved down my throat.
Cut out the talking and you have yourself one of the best movie experiences out there.
Had one or two scenes that were among some of the greatest things ever committed to celluloid (the surrealistic drug trips) but unfortunately there was way too much tech-babble and unconvincing character development to keep me completely engaged. If the film had been 102 minutes of surrealistic images, it would have been a masterpiece, at least to me. Overall: glad I saw it, but wouldn't watch it again.
I saw the preview version of Altered States in 1980 in Pasadena. I recall a character (maybe the Blair Brown character) expressing her relief at not having to take a course in John Milton's poem Paradise Lost. This brief scene is not in the current DVD, I think; the preview version underwent some edits. But, to confirm my memory, does anyone else recall the scene I mention above?
'2001' meets Lady Gaga - pure sci-fi insanity just interesting enough to warrant your attention. Ridiculous expository dialogue almost kills the script but you can't help but giggle as William Hurt busts a gut soliloquising pseudoscientific theories. The hallucination sequences elevate this above average - unique surrealist mash-ups that grow in intensity, leading to a beautiful, accomplished, extended trip.
If it weren't for the good acting, the movie would have been totally ridiculous. As long as it remains on the experimental side of filmaking it suceeds; but when it demands to be taken seriously on the drama/pshycological thriller side, it fails. Leaves no explanation to what you just saw, and fails to preserve viewer's curiosity. It's like a bad acid trip with a corny ending.
A favorite though perplexing and different scifi film, stellar music. Ken takes a slightly rediculous idea and makes it amazing with its own visual unique visual style much like raimi's unique film style in the Evil dead movies. If your looking for ken russell movies to watch, this is my favorite Russel film. Also my favorite william hurt movie other than dark city.