Saturday, March 16, 2013


Let me start by saying Zardoz is not nearly as bad as its reputation had led me to believe but jesus christ is it ever pretentious!
The movie starts with a giant, floating stone head spitting guns on warriors in red diapers, telling them that guns are good and penises are evil.
... No, wait, the movie starts with a dude with painted on facial hair telling the audience he's immortal and he longs for death and what happens in the movie takes place in the far of future and may not even happen or some shit like that and gives off such a strong drama student vibe that I went into high school anxiety convulsions. Then the pro-gun-anti-penis head thing happens.
After the opening credits Sean Connery has somehow snuck into the giant head and is taking a look around when he runs across Drama Student Greasepaint Mustache Guy and shoots him before landing in a place known as Vortex Four where everyone is immortal and psychic and boring and arrogant.
May The Scientist wants to keep Sean Connery around to study him. Fey The Stereotype wants to keep Sean Connery around because he's bored. Consuela The Bitch wants Sean Connery to go away forever because she's a bitch.
Among the vague inklings of really interesting ideas, Zardoz manages to climb up its own ass and drown itself in its own pretentious bile. It really wants to give the audience something to think about and throws the germinations of thought provoking ideas at us, but it also appears to be the work of community college drama majors who are just as desperate to confuse as they are to be thought of as intellectual.
So every time I thought the movie started going somewhere interesting it suddenly turned a corner, shattered the fragile beginnings of any deep or interesting thoughts it may have introduced to me and got all in my face with it's weird for weird's sake bullshit, which is very annoying in any case but it's doubly annoying when you're trying to form a coherent thought based on an idea that you never would have considered if the movie hadn't introduced it to you in the first place!
"Hi, I'm Zardoz. This is my buddy Intriguing Concept."
"Oh, hi, Intriguing Concept it's nice to - holy hell!!"
"Yeah, sorry, you were paying more attention to him than me so I had to shoot him through the head."
And that's Zardoz, ladies and gentlemen.
Bits and pieces of it reminded me of The Prisoner, but only very small bits and pieces. I hate admitting even that much. It's like comparing the best pasta you'll ever have to a week's worth of cheapass ramen.

End of line.


Matt said...

That was more or less my opinion of the film when I first watched it back in the 90s. However, when I watched it again, a year or two ago, I realized just how much I liked it and have since added it to my classics collection. I find the opening monolog very Shakespearean, even though it was forced on the director by the studio.

Give the movie another shot in a few years (or ten) and keep in mind the age in which it was made before passing final judgement on the film.

Sally said...

Well, I can say this much already: when I was done watching Zardoz I put it back on the shelf rather than on the "stuff to get rid of" pile. So there was enough good in there that I did plan on watching it at least once more.
Honestly, when I woke up the next morning and reread this review, I didn't remember writing something quite that harsh. There as a lot that I liked about Zardoz but, obviously, a lot that I didn't. Maybe I was just frustrated with it.