George Lucas’ debut feature explores a twenty-fifth century totalitarian state where individuality is forbidden across mankind. Sedative pill induced drones make up the populace. One man’s life is irrevocably changed when he stops taking his mind-numbing drugs.
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Competent but dour assemblage of familiar dystopian themes and tropes. As with most of these things, the projection of then contemporary concerns are as interesting as any exaggerations of a predicted future. It's rather more the son of Huxley and Orwell than a presage to Star Wars, although it's certainly the sour to that film's sweet in the small Lucas canon. Aesthetically striking if thematically hackneyed.
director's cut 'THX-1138' represents an interesting entry in Lucas' filmography showing us what kind of films he might have made if he had gone in an artistic direction instead of a commercial one. Technically impressive if lacking humanity (applicable here perhaps) the films antiseptic and bureaucratic future is a fascinating one.
Having never been a fan of Star Wars, I miss this incarnation of Lucas more than ever! While American Graffiti is his masterpiece, THX gives its audience a dour, Kubrickian take on an Alphaville-like dystopia; full of wry social commentary on consumerism, voyeurism, the nature of existence. The imagery - drawing heavily on Japanese filmmakers like Yoshishige Yoshida in its monochromatic fragmentation - is astounding.
The aesthetic of the movie is quite amazing. The shaved heads, the white clothes, the police robots, the buildings, the sets, the transportation... All pretty cool and hip. However the dialogues and the plot felt a bit dull... I know these are emotionally suppressed characters, but there were times when even the robots seemed more human! Things just didn't flow naturally throughout. It could have been outstanding!
Sporadically interesting glimpse of a technocratic dystopian future, with the clean-white yet scuffed visual aesthetic that is a clear prescursor to the look of "Star Wars"; but it seems aimless when the real star, Walter Murch's brilliant sound design, is not present. Also, the adding of additional CGI is deeply unfortunate and undermines any confidence that the film conveys in its original vision.
The perfect antidote for anyone who's ever accused Lucas of being a spectacle-focused, money-grubbing one-trick-pony. Dark, frightening and patiently-paced, "THX 1138" is the inspired work of an angry young artist trapped in a brutally streamlined, disconnected, commercialized world -- and it's arguably even more relevant today than it was in 1971.
The 1984/Brave New World aspect of THX 1138 wasn't that impressive, but what blew me away about this movie was how George Lucas melded his audience with the protagonist and left them as disoriented and discombobulated as he was for the first hour. Once you're out of the mundane and dreary prison the chase and the freedom are so worth it. The multiple sleep-interrupted viewings were worth the ending.