Other Stuff Exists

Don't get too comfortable with the familiar–other stuff exists, so go explore!

Zardoz

Posted by Tracy Poff on July 15, 2011

Zardoz is a very odd film. Amazon’s description claims it’s ‘complex’ and ‘cerebral’, but I think the main points of the movie that will stick with anyone are:

  1. Sean Connery in a wedding dress.
  2. Lots of pointless nudity.
  3. Sean Connery in a wedding dress?
  4. “The gun is good. The penis is evil.”
  5. SEAN CONNERY in a WEDDING DRESS.

Okay, I may have been a little overly dramatic about that last one. You’ll also remember Sean Connery in a red leather thong.

Well, I’m making it seem like a bad movie (spoiler: it is a bad movie!), but that’s only because it is a bad movie (the spoiler is safe to read now).

To be fair, not everything about it is terrible. The idea that in a society of immortals, boredom would be a major threat is, if not precisely novel, at least reasonable. The role Zed is to play in things is a pretty nice twist. Actually, all of the ideas and plot of the movie are at least serviceable, and in another movie could be pretty good. It’s the execution that ruins it.

The movie suffers from poor acting, underdeveloped plot lines, and, in my opinion, a rather disjointed feel. It’s all very odd. The part that holds the most promise (again, in my opinion) is the examination of the ‘utopian’ society, but it’s just not shown in enough depth to make this a particularly thought-provoking movie. We’re shown little pieces of it, and we’re told a bit more, but ultimately the film doesn’t investigate the really interesting questions–it’s like Boorman (who both directed the film and wrote the screenplay) had a bunch of ideas for scifi films, and decided to stuff them together, with shallow treatments all around.

Why are they all waving their arms? They have magic psychic powers. Don't expect much examination of this.

Besides the sometimes-inscrutable plot lines, the film is full of cheesy scenes, like the aforementioned one containing Sean Connery in a wedding dress. Some of them are certainly intended to serve the plot, but fail–the scene where everyone is voting on Zed’s fate is clearly meant to show that over the years they’ve come to be able to communicate without words, but it just comes across as a bunch of people wiggling and grimacing. It’s weird.

The movie ends with two skeletons holding hands. Spectacular.

Zardoz is probably worth seeing once, if only to see how bizarre it is. If it doesn’t scar you for life, you may just get something out of it, too.

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