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thx 1138

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by Jeremy page, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. Jeremy page

    Jeremy page Jedi Youngling

    Aug 3, 2014
    is this a good film goerge lucas put out. thx1138
  2. thejeditraitor

    thejeditraitor Chosen One star 6

    Aug 19, 2003
  3. MOC Vober Dand

    MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 6, 2004
    I believe it's a very much underrated film, which well demonstrates the philosophical and film making sensibilities of the young Lucas. I love it.
    oncafar, TK327, xezene and 3 others like this.
  4. Blur

    Blur Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 11, 1999
    This post is an edited version of some of my previous responses to older threads on THX-1138 (some of which have been locked due to age):

    THX-1138 is a truly superb film. I didn't fully appreciate the movie until I saw it in a very limited theatrical release back in September 2004, about a week before the Special Edition DVD release. The Special Edition version of the film is great, since it truly enhances the movie in subtle ways. 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.

    I really enjoyed the theme of escape from the confines of a restrictive society/life - these themes were visited again by Lucas in "American Graffiti" and "SW: A New Hope".

    I also 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 in the crummy pan & scan format, something that really inhibited my full enjoyment of the movie back in the day.

    Side-note: To those who are wondering what happened at the very end of "THX-1138" when THX went through the man-hole that led to the surface, the very end of the "THX-1138" novelization (by Ben Bova, long OOP these days) indicates that there are other people on the surface of Earth (if the planet is meant to be Earth). That being said, I liked the end of the film better, because you just saw THX going up to the surface and that was it - the red setting sun worked really well for this scene, and this ambiguous ending was much more cinematic than the one in the novel, at least IMHO.
  5. MOC Vober Dand

    MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 6, 2004
    THX creates for me, as does ANH, a distinct sense of sparseness and desolation. I sometimes wonder the extent to which this was something which Lucas was consciously trying to achieve at the time, a byproduct of financial / production limitations, or a bit of both. It's certainly not evident in his later work.
    xezene, Pensivia, TX-20 and 1 other person like this.
  6. Samnz

    Samnz Jedi Master star 3

    Sep 4, 2012
    THX 1138 is a good and even fascinating film, although it probably doesn't offer the highest entertainment value.

    I love the "What's wrong" questions! Actually, my favourite part of the film is when THX return from his meeting with the "God voice", opens the cupboard on the wall and there are these seemingly endless "What's wrong?" questions, accompanied by a very disturbingly rising music and fluttering surveillance images, until LUH steps in, takes THX and his hand, which leads to a very tender moment (seriously, I'd advise everyone who doesn't believe the AOTC Anakin/Padmé romance was deliberately awkward to see the THX/LUH interactions).
    Honestly, combined with the previous vomiting and the surreal "Buy. Buy more. And ... be happy." this was probably the most disturbing thing I've ever seen on film! It's so diffrent.

    Absolutely, and TPM is like another re-visit, with the characters of Anakin and also Padmé, yet it's a bit different. Also appreciate the visual resemblence of Kamino in AOTC to the world of THX 1130, especially since the Clones are very much like the people in THX: stunted emotions, not supposed to live a free and conscious and lovely life, puppets and caged.

    Actually, I think THX 1138 is probably the feature film that came closest to what Lucas likes. It's a film that definitely builds upon the interplay of sound, images and editing more than anything he did later on. I would have loved to see Lucas making films like this after ROTS was done in 2005, unfortunately it doesn't appear to come true :(
  7. Alexrd

    Alexrd Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 7, 2009
    Same here. Although I would love if George had discussed the changes/improvements in the commentary. It's one thing to assume the 'how' and 'why', but hearing from the man himself is much more interesting and authentic.
    Ezon Pin likes this.
  8. Blur

    Blur Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 11, 1999
    Agreed. One thing I found interesting is that the Death Star setting in ANH with the white, black, and grey colors bears some similarity to the stark imagery in THX-1138.

    In reading Lucas' Biography Skywalking (1983), I remember one of the chapters mentioned that the stark colors of the Death Star were supposed to contrast with the much more organic tan & brown tones of Tattoine in ANH; this seems similar to how the stark white & black colors in most of THX-1138 contrasted to the red sky & sun at the very end of the film.
    Echo Base and MOC Yak Face like this.
  9. TCF-1138

    TCF-1138 Porg of New Films & Fan Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 20, 2002
    THX 1138 is one of my all-time favorite movies. It doesn't have a very high entertainment value, but artistically it's a masterpiece.
    I watch it once every few years when I'm in the right mood. It always inspires me to experiment with the film medium, and it has influenced my filmmaking a lot.

    I absolutely love it!
    xezene and Pensivia like this.
  10. smoothkaz

    smoothkaz Jedi Knight star 2

    Nov 25, 2014
    Oh man, THX 1138. One of my favorite movies of all time. I honestly consider it to be Lucas' finest hour.
    Pensivia likes this.
  11. Darth Zannah

    Darth Zannah Jedi Knight star 3

    Oct 28, 2014
    This is quite possibly one of the greatest small budget independent films of all time....very inspiring for indy sci-fi film makers...any one seen the student film version George made?
    xezene likes this.
  12. rumsmuggler

    rumsmuggler Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Aug 31, 2000
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure I have at some point. THX 1138 is a well made film and is underrated in my opinion.
    xezene likes this.
  13. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 26, 2009

    Yep, and you can watch it here:

  14. Alexrd

    Alexrd Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 7, 2009
    It's also on the DVD/Blu-ray as an extra.
    Darth Zannah likes this.
  15. Ingram_I

    Ingram_I Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 7, 2012
    One of the aspects of the film that seldom gets any recognition, let alone credit, is that it is actually serves as a deeply irreverent comedy. Lucas himself has since described as such. There are one or two slight silly moments on the surface, yet even beyond that, holistically, the film makes the driest of mockeries of its setting and societal circumstances. Not laugh-out-loud funny, perhaps, but there are many scene throughout the narrative that match bizarreness with absurdity to a degree that warrants a wry smirk.
    Valiowk and Ezon Pin like this.
  16. EternalHero

    EternalHero Jedi Knight star 3

    Feb 17, 2014

    Agreed it's a wickedly funny "black" comedy and a killer satire.
  17. Darth Eddie

    Darth Eddie Jedi Master star 4

    May 14, 2013
    THX 1138 is the first film in the true George Lucas trilogy, joined by American Graffiti and Star Wars IV.
  18. MOC Vober Dand

    MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 6, 2004
    They are a distinct unit to be sure.
  19. The Krynoid Man

    The Krynoid Man Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 24, 2015
    I found the story a little confusing, but it is a very good film. It shows that George genuinely has a lot of talent as a director.
    xezene likes this.
  20. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002

    Thank you for posting the student version. Never seen it before.

    I had the tie-in novel for years before I saw the commercially-released version, and it certainly is a good film.

    Little bit of personal nostalgia as I used to work with those kinds of tape racks.
  21. xezene

    xezene Jedi Master star 3

    Jan 6, 2016
    Just wanted to pop in here and post a review of the film from the time. I found a book full of early-70s film reviews and I was surprised (and excited) to find THX-1138 in there. The review is from 1971 and is pretty glowing. THX-1138 is one of my favorite films of the science fiction genre. I made a list once of the greatest sci-fi movies for the thinking man or woman. I update it periodically. THX is always on the list. I think the film has had a low-burning influence on other cinema. The soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin is also incredible, and evokes an atmosphere at times which is a precursor to stuff like Alien by Jerry Goldsmith.

    Anyway, here is the review for this great, forgotten film:
    Here also is the audio commentary for the film, which is absolutely worth your time. Lucas and his editor Walter Murch are clearly both very intelligent, and I would go so far as to describe Lucas as a visionary after listening to this. Makes me wonder what Lucas could have done if he hadn't done Star Wars.
    Samnz and Ezon Pin like this.
  22. Straudenbecker

    Straudenbecker Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 22, 2015
    It is a good movie. If you have not seen it yet, I suggest you take the time to watch it.
  23. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    Perhaps because I watched a ton of classic Soviet and Russian films a few years ago when I fell in love with Russian culture, I felt at home with THX 1138. In fact, the first idea that came to mind when watching the film was "This is like watching (Andrei Tarkovsky's) Solaris!" Of course, there are differences between the films - a Soviet science fiction film would never tackle the concept of such a future, its characters speak differently and building architecture is different - but there's a quote by Walter Murch in xezene's video above from 3:48 to 4:36 that captures the similarity between the two:
    One wonders if it was a coincidence that both films were made in the early 1970s or whether it says something about that period and its visionaries.
    TK327, Ezon Pin and xezene like this.
  24. xezene

    xezene Jedi Master star 3

    Jan 6, 2016
    Great point. Both films were inspired, or offshoots of, 2001 as well. I also share your liking of Solaris (similar things are being discussed here). I think it is this foreignness element that is the real key to Star Wars that everyone misses. Lucas fills the universe to the brim and then just initiates you into it immediately, showing you all of it, not explaining everything. That was the key, I think. By making a foreign universe full of nostalgic tropes, he presented a universe openly and mysterious which was immediately attractive to audiences. Familiar yet exotic. In other words, a gold mine.
    Ezon Pin and Valiowk like this.
  25. xezene

    xezene Jedi Master star 3

    Jan 6, 2016
    Ah, how I wish there was more discussion about this film. What a classic!