Tuesday, February 26, 2008


THX 1138

Year: 1971
Director: George Lucas
Starring: Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Don Pedro Colley, Maggie McOmie, Ian Wolfe
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA: Rated R

George Lucas is mostly known for making Star Wars. While Star Wars is a multi million selling product, its not Lucas's only movie hes made. Before he went off to make Star Wars, Mr. Lucas made THX 1138. His first motion picture film that started out as a school project, but when on to become a theatrical release. As a huge fan of the Star Wars trilogy, I had to see the directors first film he made. In comes THX 1138, a movie that's budget was around $777 thousand and grossed an estimated $2 million. While the movie wasn't a box office smash hit like Star Wars, it did create some fans of the movie. This was George Lucas first real stab at the SCI-FI genre. So I was more than excited to see this film.

Plot Outline:
THX 1138 (Robert Duvall) is a man living in a dark futuristic society where everyone is drugged up, nobody is allowed to have sex and big brother always seems to be watching. Citizens are expected to just take their medicines and conform. Order is kept by a bunch of chrome plated robots dressed as police officers. They speak softly, but carry big sticks to keep people in line. People are constantly being reminded over loud speakers to increase productivity and remain cost efficient. Emotion is not encouraged and the medicines help with that aim.

The story of THX 1138 is kind of a mixed bag. The story isn't clear at first on whats actually going on in the film. The pacing is real slow with alot of scenes just dragging on and on. The characters that are in the movie are hardly lovable or heroic in anyway. It also seems the story is unoriginal seeing as how we have seen this stuff before with Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Here we have a film that trys to be very creative and gets really interesting from the start, but just doesn't have enough story to satisfy the crowd. The ending is also alittle un-fulfilling as I wanted it to keep going to see what would happen. I cant say that I hated the story of THX 1138 because it does have some moments that can keep the audience alittle pleased especially during the first half of the film, but this is far from being an outstanding hit like Star Wars was. I guess I shouldn't be too rough on Lucas considering this was his first film.

The cast of THX 1138 is pretty good. Robert Duvall plays as THX and hes actually pretty good in his role. While He doesn't speak as much as I would have liked him to, he still give a pretty good performance. Donald Pleasence plays as SEN and he also does pretty good in his role. Hes probably the only one in the whole film that speaks the most even though Duvall's character has more screen time. We also have Don Pedro Colley playing as SRT the hologram. Hes pretty good for his role and brings some happiness to this dark story. Maggie McOmie plays as LUH and shes pretty good alongside Duvall, although her character doesn't speak as much as I would have liked. Overall, I enjoyed the cast of THX 1138, I thought the cast members were pretty solid and comfortable in their roles.

The visual effects for THX 1138 at the time were pretty good. I think they were at the stage in which technology could only go so far and judging by the pictures, they looked pretty good. I'm not sure if this is true, but I heard that director George Lucas made some changes to the visuals like the backgrounds for the new director's edition. I wouldn't be surprised if its true considering he did the same with Star Wars. To me the changes look great since the technology we have today is far superior compared to 37 years ago. The futuristic world in THX 1138 is wonderful to gaze at. The movie has an amazing atmosphere that is dark and filled with people. Detail is also pretty sharp with flesh tones looking solid. If their was one reason to watch this film, the visuals would easily take the lead.

The music in THX 1138 is pretty good. Composer Lalo Schifrin who is well known for composing the soundtracks for the Rush Hour trilogy composes a pretty well soundtrack for THX 1138. The movie doesn't feature a powerful score that really puts you in the shoes of THX, but the score that it does have comes off pretty good. Bass is on the low side with some rumblings here and their, but nothing extraordinary. The film is presented in 5.1 surround sound and while it sounds pretty good, you cant help, but wonder it could have sounded better. The movie would benefit alot if the music was properly remastered and remixed for a future special edition release. Overall, I was pleased with the film's soundtrack and thought it fit the tone of the movie.

THX 1138 is a strange film once you watch it. Being the first film in George Lucas's career, I knew it wasn't going to blow me away, but I didn't think it would be that bad. The story of the movie starts off interesting, but fails to keep that interest high. The cast is pretty good with everyone giving solid performances. The visual effects look good for a movie of its age especially the newly added effects. The soundtrack is pretty solid with good music that fits the films dark atmosphere. I cant really recommend this film to just anyone simply because it isn't as great as Lucas's other films. I would definitely give it a rent at least.

Grade: C-

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