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THX-1138 - The Messages For Today!

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by G-FETT, Mar 29, 2006.

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  1. G-FETT

    G-FETT Force Ghost star 7

    Aug 10, 2001
    If this is redundant, please lock and re-direct. :)

    Well, I brought THX-1138 last week and I finally got round to watching it this evening. I saw it on TV about 10-15 years ago, and to be honest, it didn't make much of an impression on me. I remember thinking it was reasonably cool, I could see the little precurssor's to Star Wars, but I really didn't like the strangeness of the movie and was definatly put off by this aspect of it, and I think because of that, or maybe because I was too young, I didn't pick up on all the nods and implications that ever visionary Lucas decided to put in about present day life.

    So, there was I this evening, not really expecting very much from the DVD I brought. But, having finished it, I've got to say I LOVE the movie. Despite still being strange and abstract I think I'm now able to appreciate and understand what Lucas was trying to say about modern society - And its amazing that the issues he was highlighting in 1970 are just as relevent, if not more so, in 2006.

    So, some of the things I picked up on;

    Drug abuse. Not shooting up illegal drugs, but the State actually giving you legal drugs and getting you hooked on drugs. In my view this issue is increasingly a problem today, as doctors hand out drugs for every ill, and especially mood altering drugs to make people conform to what society thinks is the norm. I've long been concerned about children being given mood altering drugs for things like Hyper Activity Disorder. Is it right that a 5 year old is given, what is effectively an anti-depresent, to make them behave "normal?" In THX its quite clear that the State is using drugs to make people conform and to keep them under control. To supress their emotions and stop them beinbg able to feel and think independently.

    Conformity in another interesting issue in the movie that is relevent today. In THX everyone is the same. Everyone looks the same. Everyone acts the same. Everone speaks the same. Everyone seems to say the things. Individuality and expression's of emotion are forebidden, and indeed, THX is tried, convicted and sent for "threapy" because he REFUSE'S to conform and dare's to explore his emotions and fall in love. Conformity is a big issue for todays society - Everyone wants to look like their favourite football or movie star. If someone dares to be differant, to express their individuality by whatever means, it seems to me that they are generally looked down and frowned upon by society at large. Conformity also plays a part in people taking mood altering drugs in todays society. Most people take illegal drugs through peer pressure. Most people are given mood altering drugs by society (especially children) to try and make them "normal" Even though some of history's greatest artists and historical figures were completely insane.

    Consumerism is yet another issue in THX that resonates today. In THX everyone is encouraged to work and then everyone is encouraged to spend. What the State giveth, then State taketh. With todays "service" society we are living this. We work and we spend. We spend on things we don't especially need and in a lot of case's, we spend on stuff that we don't especially want. But we are encouraged to spend - The UK economy (I'm sure this is true of many other places) would hit recession shockingly fast if everyone suddenly stopped spending.

    One of the creepiest aspects of THX-1138 is the "camera network."
    Like all great Totalitarian stories, timeless works like 1984, for instance, camera's and monitoring of the individual, by the State, is the biggest way that society is controlled. The camera's are everywhere - Just as they are in todays's society, but in THX it goes further. How would you like to have the State in your home, watching that you are taking your drugs, by having a camera in your Medicine Cabinet? This is what the people in THX are faced with - How long before the State in our society begins to move into our homes? Ordering us about what we can eat in our homes? Stopping us from smoking in our homes? Will CCTV eventually be
  2. JohnWesleyDowney

    JohnWesleyDowney Jedi Master star 5

    Jan 27, 2004

    G-Fett, that was an absolutely brilliant and incisive post.
    To say that THX was ahead of it's time, both in it's artistic
    presentation and themes of individuality vs. conformity, etc.,
    is putting it mildly. Like yourself, when I first saw the film
    years ago, I didn't completely "get it." I knew it had been
    compared to 1984 and Brave New World, but I only got the connection
    on a superficial level. I watched the DVD recently and was AMAZED
    at how much insight there is, especially the "opiate for the masses"
    implications of the "confessional booth."

    To think Lucas made this film at age 25 is mind-boggling. The attention
    to detail, the incredible sounds, the fantastic graphics and visuals, wow! It's a
    truly remarkable film of a very talented filmmaker.

    I loved your comments on how the chase is abandoned over "money issues."
    I had never thought of it the way the way you explained it. THX costs
    too much, money matters more than people.

    Cameras are going up EVERYWHERE now. But it's all for "our own good."
    Yeah, right.

    Oh, have you listened to the Lucas/Murch commentary? There's a mention there
    about the little box that THX brings home. It serves no purpose. But the state
    urges people to buy it for the sake of buying something. We're going in that direction.
    The amount of junk that's marketed to us today is so great, that I wouldn't be surprised
    if some company actually was brazen enough to do that!

    I highly recommend the commentary on the DVD.
  3. G-FETT

    G-FETT Force Ghost star 7

    Aug 10, 2001
    Thanks John. :) Like you say, a remarkable piece of art. :)

    No, I haven't listened to the Commentery yet. I just saw the film this evening and it blew me away so much that I don't think my mind could take anymore artisitc stimulation, LOL! [face_laugh]

    I'll certainly have a listen tomorrow, though. ;)
  4. JohnWesleyDowney

    JohnWesleyDowney Jedi Master star 5

    Jan 27, 2004

    My favorite line:

    Are you now or have you ever been?

  5. G-FETT

    G-FETT Force Ghost star 7

    Aug 10, 2001
    My favourite has got to be;

    "Whats wrong?"

    The first time you hear that line, you think someone is genuinely interested to know what THX's problem is. Its only after you've heard it a few times that you realise its just a recording spouting rhetoric. Nobody actually really cares what the problem is.
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