Zardoz (1974)

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Zardoz (1974)

Post  BoG on Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:21 pm

A JOHN BOORMAN Film -  Arrow  - starring SEAN CONNERY  Like a Star @ heaven  CHARLOTTE RAMPLING

SARA KESTELMAN and JOHN ALDERTON  Idea  Yes, this is the unofficial sequel to THE WIZARD OF OZ.
OK, not really. The trailer for the film actually gives some clue as to what other films influenced this one; the trailer begins with "BEYOND 1984, BEYOND 2001..."  I think this was Boorman's bid in presenting his own 'mind trip' of a film and this one now kind of epitomizes those 'mind-bender' pictures of the period, late sixties to mid-seventies, usually sci-fi films. Of course, it was probably marketing people who tried to compare this to such films as 2001. The story actually takes place in a post-holocaust future, such as in LOGAN'S RUN, THX-1138 and THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR - all different looks at how a bleak future might appear. ZARDOZ was certainly different and it tackled some deep themes.
The way I see it, ZARDOZ addressed two challenging subjects as related to the human condition (and these usually ARE addressed in sci-fi stories, more so than in other genres):

    #1: the first is the subject of immortality. As with many things, this notion seems great in the beginning but probably will not seem so after some time has gone by. Boorman tried to seriously address the possible effect on human beings in the hypothetical of immortality actually being attained.
    #2: the second subject is godhood, worship and the concept of a deity. We humans (most of us) seem to need such a concept, possibly to give order and meaning to our existence; what if reality does not revolve around such a concept, as some revelations in this film point to?

Now, this 2nd subject does imitate a theme / plot presented in THE WIZARD OF OZ - the whole thing about 'The Man Behind the Curtain' - so now that old children's film from 1939 looks to be a bit subversive, doesn't it?
This IS a radical thought, an attempt to restructure a person's worldview and personal reality. You enter the whole iffy debate about atheism vs. belief at this point. As for the first subject... yes, Zed (Connery) is the central character, an Exterminator and barbarian, but most of the film takes place inside the 'Vortex' - a community of immortals named Eternals (whoops, no relation to the Marvel comic book series by Jack Kirby - or is it? Question    Wink    ).
I also think Boorman identified most with the Arthur Frayn character, the one who introduces the film, explains much of the ideas & plot and, being another Eternal, represents the trickster god in many ways - the guy 'behind the scenes.' I think Boorman saw himself that way - the sly filmmaker who presents his tricky film, with all its strange ideas and weird, deceptive imagery. We should also realize that back then, right after his film DELIVERANCE, Boorman was given virtual carte blanche to create whatever film he desired and thus had a kind of godlike film-making power in his grasp for a time.
And so Boorman annoyed people and drove others nuts with this odd film - keeping in mind that Boorman himself may not have very many deep insights into all the meaning here; his audio commentary on the DVD only reveals the basic concepts, most of which I mention above. And, nowadays, most viewers are not really annoyed or perplexed by the ideas in the film but by the 'costume' worn by Connery.

click here for details: SECONDSUPPER REVIEW OF ZARDOZ  Idea  BoG's Score: 6 out of 10

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