Thoughts on THX-1138

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by Kweh-chan, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Kweh-chan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2006
    star 1
    (I'm going to be safe and give this a SPOILER ALERT, to anyone who hasn't seen it)

    It seems like such a "rare" film, nowadays, and that a great many people outside of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones communities haven't heard much of it. I was excited to see the second 2/3 of the film on TV a few years back and did some research on it. What I read, at the time, was that its reception was mixed; however, it has a 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is nothing to sneer at. The topic had come up on a few other film and Star Wars forums that I frequented, at the time, and the majority of people said it was an "okay" film; nothing really special.

    Having read that, I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed it! I thought it had a certain subtlety and subdued nature about it, which set it apart from other post-apocalyptic films. I seem to recall that the soundtrack was relatively limited and I remember feeling, at the time, this gave it a more contemplative and even realistic sense. In some ways, style-wise, it was similar to ANH; I won't say the soundtrack is limited, but it certainly isn't as music-involved as other films in the saga. Either way, I think it lends a certain style and atmosphere that sets it apart. Now while, action-wise, it wasn't nearly on the level of Star Wars, the final chase and ladder scenes actually kept me on the edge of my seat, not necessarily from the intensity, but rather from the idea of what THX was trying to accomplish. The final scene was very striking and moving, for me, and it was visually beautiful; it left the film on a very melancholy note and I couldn't decide whether I felt bad for THX or happy for him. The idea wasn't original, but I think it was executed very well.

    I'd love to hear what people here think of it, both with and without respect to Star Wars. And if you haven't seen it, I can wholeheartedly recommend doing so; it's certainly one of Lucas' most contemplative and philosophical films.
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  2. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    I would just like that Lucas would revisit the "monkeys". Otherwise, I like it as it is.
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  3. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2012
    star 4
    I thought it was brilliant.

    Check out the student film that's included on the DVD, it might be even more brilliant IMO.
    Last edited by Count Yubnub, Jan 14, 2013
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  4. FRAGWAGON Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2012
    star 4
    Great great film. The sound design always gets me. Amazing commentary on the dignity of the human person, and the dehumanizing effect of technology. It's Orwell and then some.
  5. Bobatron Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 3
    I liked it. I never saw it until it came out on DVD so I have yet to see the unavailable original version but still so much production value was conveyed with so little. It's a good glossy-looking film with an emphasis on style and editing, in which the American Zoetrope specialized at the time (also why Apocalypse Now looks and sounds awesome.) It goes beyond 1984 with unexplained sci-fi like holograms brought into reality and strange creatures, while being a parable on more than just the effects of communism.
  6. rumsmuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2000
    star 7
    I thought it was very good and underrated.
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  7. Darth_Harmon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2005
    star 4
    Really a fantastic film. I was proud to see it in the very limited digitally projected run back on September 10, 2004. Got a sweet free poster out of it, and a week later bought the DVD. Have since bought the blu-ray.

    I just love the atmosphere and the use of sound and the pure allegorical nature of the story and characters. Really a cool looking heady art film, with just enough sci-fi to keep even casual moviegoers interested.

    I also love the Star Wars references, such as the mention of "wookies" and the similarities between Luke, THX and American Graffiti's Curt Henderson.

    ---

    I sort of want to read Alien Exodus now: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Alien_Exodus
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  8. Lazy Storm Trooper Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 18, 2012
    star 4
    I want to see this movie anyone got a link for me to watch or buy it?
  9. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2012
    star 4
    You can buy it from anywhere, like Amazon or whatever online retailer you prefer.
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  10. Blur Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 1999
    star 4
    THX-1138 is a great film. I first saw it on VHS tape back in the day, though due to the cropped format & poor picture I couldn't really appreciate the film.

    However, I truly enjoyed this when I saw the film during the very limited theatrical release in September 2004. Very nice that Lucas bothered to clean up & update the film, since Lflm. probably didn't make much $ on this re-release. The "updates" were very subtle, and if you had never seen the film before you probably wouldn't have been able to tell they were even there. (I also have the DVD, which is superb. Haven't gotten the Blu-ray yet, though I'm sure it looks fantastic in that format).

    Great themes of personal individualism vs. the good of the group, escape from an oppressive society, etc. I liked how the security guards stopped chasing THX when they realized the pursuit was getting too expensive to justify ;) The final scene of THX silhoutted against the red sky was brilliant.

    If you can get ahold of this, also worth checking out is the novelization by Ben Bova. This is long OOP, but IIRC in the final scene (after THX goes to the surface), he actually sees some other people that live there. Not sure if this was in the original script or not....

    Lastly, many years ago I read an interview with Lucas in which he mentioned that the common thread in his first three films (THX, AG, and ANH) was one of "escape", which I thought was interesting.
    Last edited by Blur, Jan 28, 2013
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  11. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2012
    star 4
    Yeah, that shot gives me goosebumps. And the bird flying by is just such an awesome piece of luck.
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  12. fishtailsam Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 4
    I saw it in theaters for the 'hey-I-made-this-movie-once-I'll-make-some-more-money-from-the' re-release.

    Absolute Rubbish.

    It just goes to show that Star Wars never would have been, without Spielburg, Coppalla, and Marcia Lucas whispering in George's ear.
  13. Samnz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 3
    THX 1138 (1971):
    Director: George Lucas
    Executive Producer: Francis Ford Coppola
    Assistant Editor: Marcia Lucas

    Didn't these two "whisper in George's ear" on THX 1138?
    What makes you think Coppola "whispered in George's ear" on Star Wars (where he is not credited as anything) but not on this movie (since you call it "rubbish" and attribute Star Wars to their "help")?
    Last edited by Samnz, Jan 31, 2013
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  14. Blur Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 1999
    star 4
    I could be very wrong about this, but I don't believe Lflm. made much (if any) $ on the extremely limited theatrical re-release of THX-1138 to theatres in September 2004. When I went to see this, there was almost noone else in the theatre. And, IIRC, it was only playing in theatres for about a week.

    And, this is the reason I think it's so great that Lflm. bothered to even remaster & re-do (to some extent) the film by adding additional scenes. The film is so obscure that I'm guessing a lot of people (including probably some SW fans) aren't even aware of the film's existence.
  15. markdeez33 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 3
    Great film. Really enjoyed it. Haven't seen it in a while, though. Need to watch it again!
  16. obi-rob-kenobi4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2007
    star 4
    One of the most underrated films of all time and a true REAL masterpiece. This film has made me cry. This film is enough to seriously realign a persons perception of society as we know it and life as we know it. This is a serious work of true art by a real human who knows a thing or two about life, love, struggling and being afraid and confused in a frightening world. An artist who, basically, went through all the things that THX goes through in the film which is what all human beings go through at various points in their life.

    One of the best experiences is watching THX-1138 followed by American Graffiti and ANH.
  17. Darth_Harmon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2005
    star 4
    Agreed. Just as watching the PT followed by the OT reveals a number of parallels, THX-1138, American Graffiti and ANH watched one after another (in one big marathon or simply in the space of a week so the movies are fresh in your mind) is a great experience. You really get a soild idea of what GL was all about in the 70's and the themes that interested him. You also pick up on the fact that THX-1138 and American Graffiti were stepping stones and test beds for ANH. THX, Curt, and Luke are all cut from the same cloth and its really interesting to see three radically different films telling the same sort of story.
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  18. Blur Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 1999
    star 4
    Yes - this. I like the similar themes running through all three films, i.e. leaving your comfort zone to make your own way in the world, despite how difficult this is to do.

    Re: THX-1138 specifically, this thread is inspring me to watch this again. Really liked the whole movie, including the hologram sequence, the "white room/space", the constant "What's wrong?" questions, etc. The whole vibe was very much like the novels 1984 & Brave New World, etc., while still being completely original.

    Also, though I touched on this before, I wanted to again mention how significant it was that Lflm. cleaned this film up, made some non-intrusive changes/improvements, and re-released it to theatres & DVD back in 2004. If this hadn't been done, we would all be relegated to watching this film on sub-par VHS tapes with a cropped picture, something that really inhibited my full enjoyment of the movie back in the day.
    Last edited by Blur, Feb 28, 2013
  19. obi-rob-kenobi4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2007
    star 4
    Yes! And this kind of subtle non-intrusive touch up was/is exactly the same kind of treatment ANH got when Lucas got to finish it. Virtually nothing is taken away and it only gets key little additions/smoothed out improvements here and there in an almost surgical fashion and a clean, sharp picture and amazing sound. The additions themselves are so particular that you can tell it was ONLY very specific stuff he wanted to get shot/finished badly for so long but could never do it. For an artist who gets so much **** from some people for "adding on" to his films in reality not much at all was even done to THX, American graffiti and SW. If anything the loudest voices demanding changes/additions are the critics of lucas IE: the fanboys.

    The official, finished version of THX-1138 on dvd and blu-ray is a shining example of this.

    I put that baby in the blu-ray player and on my 57" 1080p in surround sound the film is BEAUTIFUL. Its an electronic labyrinth of sights and sounds just like it was always marketed/promoted as.
    Last edited by obi-rob-kenobi4, Feb 28, 2013
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