Monday, August 29, 2011

HOLY CRAP! Zardoz


Jim over at I probably liked it did another crossover. Jim's parts are Italicized and you should check out his other reviews at his blog, link provided above!

Jim and I recently decided it was time for another cross-over. This time we took a look at “Zardoz” starring Sean Connery! If you’re like me you probably didn’t know what the fuck Zardoz was until about 2 years ago when you came across this picture of Sean Connery on the internet




And that image haunted me for YEARS afterwards. Looking in to the film it has a really strong cult following and there also seems to be a lot of hate out there for this film.

Well, I don’t know where I stand, because I just don’t know what to make of it. It was a bunch of nonsense, but I was unable to turn away. It was the 1970’s, everyone! Drugs!

I’d like to interject here for a moment and say, watching this movie kinda made me feel the same way when my friends tried to introduce me to Stanley Kubrick in high school. completely confused, like I wasn’t in on what was going on. Basically, I agree with Jim I should’ve watched this stoned. It starts off with just a floating head, telling us his name is Arthur Frayn, and he sometimes goes by Zardoz, he’s a god of sorts.

You’re forgetting to mention that he has a goatee and a curly mustache painted onto his face. And the “floating head” technique is him wearing black in front of a black backdrop and them cutting him out and moving him around the frame.

Really that is the highlight of the movie, its kinda all downhill from there, I mean Zardoz or Art as his friends call him was by far my favorite part of this movie. He’s barely in it, but he’s SO hammy and I kinda feel like everyone else was really serious going in to this. Arthur seems to be the only one who REALLY enjoyed his role and had fun with it.

I think his character was supposed to be a “performer” or an “artiste” or something, so naturally, he acted like the worst Shakespearean actor ever would. I wonder if it was scripted that way, or John Boorman was just like “yeah, do that” when the actor brought it up. I get a sense there were a lot of “yeah, do thats” in this movie. After making Deliverance, nobody was around to tell Boorman, “maybe don’t do that”.

I could see that, but moving on to the actual..........plot...of this movie. After we get passed the floating head we have a bunch of men in red masks ride horses and making noise. They don’t appear to be making any sense they just kinda are mumbling loudly. At this point they see the giant floating head of Zardoz, which is some stone head that speaks to them and tells them probably the greatest line in cinematic history. “The Penis is evil!”

Also that guns are good. Then the stone Zardoz head vomits guns all over the place and the barbarian men scramble to pick them up. That’s when we get our first glimpse of Connery, as he turns around and shoots the camera with his gun. See that? It’s a James Bond thing! He did it in this too! I wish Finding Forrester had started out that way.

Every Connery movie should’ve start out like that. Sean Connery then climbs out of a pile of wheat that’s apparently inside the giant stone head of Zardoz. Seriously at this point we’re probably what 15 minutes in? it’s already had floating heads, barbarians being told their peni are evil and gun vomiting.

Well let’s add one more: Inside the floating heads are bunch of sleeping naked people wrapped in cellophane! We could keep adding stuff all night. Every new minute of the movie there’s something inexplicable going on on camera, and it all adds up to... umm...

I couldn’t agree more, my favorite part about inside the floating head wasn’t even the people wrapped in cellophane, it was how 70’s everything looked, but like “future 70’s” they mine as well have put a lava lamp in the middle of the room below a disco ball and all the actors should’ve been wearing roller skates through the entire movie, and if they had, it wouldn’t have been the least bit out of place.

I can’t believe we’ve written so much and we’re still at the beginning of the movie. I swear, I took copious notes for the first half, until finally, I wrote “I fucking give up” and let the weird wash over me. We better get moving on this: The Arthur Frayn/Zardoz/floating head mustache man jumps out at him and Connery shoots him and he falls to his death, and Connery takes the head back to its home, some future paradise place where people are immortal. I skipped like 30 things or more there.

That’s what makes this such a hard movie to review really, I mean not much actually happens as far as “plot” but so much is constantly going on. Regardless, this is where you meet the rest of the main characters, a woman named Consuella, a man named Friend, and another woman who’s called May. If Zardoz hadn’t been in this movie, Friend would’ve been my favorite, he’s a complete asshole and he acts the part well. May and Conseulla just have a little battle over whether to kill Connery’s character.........I can’t actually remember his name, or to study Connery.

ZED! His name’s Zed. Also, we find out that they are in “The Vortex” and Zed is from the “Outlands” and we knew they worship Zardoz, but did you catch that he refers to a unit of time called “Zardays”? I’m going to start measuring my life in Zardays.

it only makes sense to measure your units of time in Zardays or Zarweeks, Zaryears, etc. There’s also two specific “races” I guess you’d call them apart from the eternals?of people, those are the apathetics and, some other group who’s name escapes both of us. They’re basically immortals that have lived too long and have kinda gone a bit nuts.

Yeah, I think apathy is a disease that they can’t cure, so they just put them all in a cave where they stand around and don’t care about things. And the old people were eternally young people, who have been punished by being aged to the point of senility but still not allowed to die.

It’s not exactly they weren’t allowed to die, it’s that they didn’t know how to die. If you died the Tabernacle, which is some sort of sentient being that talks to the eternals through their giant crystal rings, would just bring them back to life as a baby. This is where I think we should kinda leave it. because we’re hitting page 3 and I could probably easily write another 2 pages, if I don’t cut myself off soon. Any closing thoughts?

In the end, we find out Zardoz’s master plan, and see in flashback how he executed it, and that scene’s a doozy, with the book and all. I won’t ruin that because it was hilarious. But basically Zed was sent to The Vortex to bring back humanity and the life cycle to people who had forgotten to live and be human. It just goes a looooooooong way to say that.

So, Zardoz is a big, druggy, jumbled mess of a movie, but it’s pretty watchable in that car-wreck kind of way. I know I couldn’t take my eyes from it. I think everybody who loves film should watch it, both as an oddity and a rite of passage. It came out in 1974, the year that Coppola released The Godfather Part II and The Conversation, Mel Brooks released Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, and Polanski released Chinatown. In one of the best movie years ever, there was still room on the table for this insane bit of sci-fi overindulgence. You’ve got to admit, it was pretty original, right?


It was definately orginal! I can safely say I’ve never seen anything like this movie! My closest comparison would be something like “Barbarella” yet it’s absolutely nothing like that at all, I can safely say if there are other films like this, I’m not sure I’d want to see them. It was fun and would be good for a night with friends where there’s not much else to do. Don’t watch it on a laptop though.

No, don’t watch anything on a laptop unless you have to. Good night, everybody! Penises are evil!

1 comment:

Flashy said...

I give you guys kudos for even trying to review this movie. It may be the one movie where, if someone asked me if I liked it, I would have to think long and hard and finally say "I. . . don't know?" It would be like someone showing me a geometric shape I never knew existed and then asking my thoughts.

I also remember, for a few days after watching the movie, the word "tabernacle" would suddenly leap into my brain. I'd be like "what?" and my brain would be like "Tabernacle. I mean... I don't know." So the movie *did* something to me, so I guess that's good? Or it's a success for the movie, at least.