Two-Disc Special Edition: — * Digitally remastered with THX certified sound — * Commentary by George Lucas and co-writer/sound effects editor Walter Murch — * Theatre of Noise sound-effects track with branching segments to 13... more » master sessions with Walter Murch
* 2 New documentaries: "A Legacy of Filmmakers: The Early Years of American Zoetrope" and "Artifacts from the Future: The Making of THX 1138"
* George Lucas's original student film "THX-11384EB"
* "Bald": 1971 production featurette
* Five new trailers from the 2004 theatrical release
Leslie E. from SAINT LOUIS, MO Reviewed on 7/18/2011...
Probably like nothing you've watched before. Strange but intriguing. I liked the ending.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
David F. from GAITHERSBURG, MD Reviewed on 9/12/2009...
This movie was actually very cool....dark and disturbing, George Lucas's first movie is very interesting. I can see whay many people think this movie is wierd...it is wierd. One of the first truly original sci-fi flicks of the time. This directors cut has some beef'd up special effects that fit in quite seemlessly. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. A vision of a future that is over medicated and over regulated...not so far out looking at it now...our society is over medicated and over regulated and it's only getting more extreme. Definitely a must see for big sci-fi fans...not so much for the casual viewer.
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Truly one of a kind ... or, 1138 of a kind, or ... whatever.
Funky Kikuchiyo | Fairfax, VT USA | 07/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The world seems to be divided between two kinds of people. The people who think George Lucas is a talented legitimate artist, and those who think he's a business man unbothered by aethetics. For those who feel Lucas has (or had) talent, THX-1138 is a testament to it that. The use of color (or lack thereof), sound and editing in this film is truly unique. Lucas is often accused of lacking in writing skills, but THX-1138 doesn't rely on complex character backstories, or inspiring dialogue. In fact, THX, SEN, and LUH are rather one-dimensional characters. (Just to settle a common argument about the film, I do not believe SEN is intended to be homosexual, as beings in this world aside from THX and LUH are asexual because of their sedations) While images and sounds typically supplement dialogue as the force that progresses a story, it seems to be backwards at times in THX-1138. The title "visual storyteller" has been applied to every director at one point or another it seems, but for this work Lucas truly earns it. The sound effects of Star Wars have been copied so many times we all are numb to how good they really were, but watching this movie gives us a fresh idea of how incredible sound can be. These days most movies just use digital catalogs for all of their sound effects - Lucas had people go out with tape recorders and find things. While the sound is crude by today's standards, it is richer and warmer.
If I had any complaints about the film, it would be that there are moments where its quite obvious that its being made by an amateur director fresh out of film school who is used to making short features. Although these aspects also supplement the film as a whole, it does detract from the watchability (and rewatchability) of this film for some people.
This was one of the first art films I ever watched as a young man, and this had a huge impact on me. To know what was happening, I had to pay attention to everything - not just words. Without having seen this movie, I wouldn't have learned to appreciate so many other films in the way I do. Every so often we viewers have to have our artistic perspectives broadened, and this film continues to do that. I would recommend this film to anyone - Star Wars fans (be warned... it is different), young film students, anyone.
Personally, I consider it a real shame that he burned out after directing the first Star Wars (those familiar with Lucasology know that he only directed the first feature and the newer prequels), since he obviously was capable of so much. I'm not dumping on Star Wars here, but the while the world doesn't end with the Star Wars movies, unfortunately Lucas's directing career did."
Director's cut has major problems
Geoffrey James | Boston | 09/11/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THX 1138 has been one of my favorite movies for years. I have been awaiting a DVD copy anxiously, because the VCR version was poorly done. I just saw the Director's Cut in the theatre last night. What a disappointment. The added special effects and reedited scenes weakened the movie in every case. The computer graphics were fakey, making an obvious contrast to the gritty, ultra-realistic feel of the rest of the movie. The added distance shots destroyed the compressed, claustrophobic feel that gives the movie its character. The "edited" animals were straight out of Ewok-land. The ending scene where THX is attacked by the shell dwellers was turned from something really eerie into an outtake from Planet of the Apes. This created a major consistency problem because the shell dwellers in this scene were entirely different from the shell dweller in the prison scene. In short: Lucas has made a total mess of his best work. He took a seminal SciFi film that was way ahead of its time and stuck in a bunch of stupid, unrealistic, irrelevant special effects. What a shame."
What's up with the Director's Cut?
W. Smith | 09/15/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Most fans are wondering just what tinkering Lucas did with his first film. I know when I first heard he was giving it a "special edition" style makeover, two shots immediately came to mind: the ridiculous, ordinary modern doorknob with keyhole that the robots are trying to circumvent, and a shot where the futuristic race car THX has stolen clearly sports "Firestone" brand tires.
Well, much to my surprise, both of those shots survived into this new special edition! So what got changed? There's good news and bad.
The world itself is enlarged with new backgrounds and expanded vistas, not unlike some of the tinkering we saw with Cloud City in the Empire Strikes Back Special Edition. What were once dead ends or nondescript tunnels have morphed into busy elevator shafts and shuttle buses. Overall the effect is good, although sometimes the added effects seem too busy compared to the main action.
New creatures! A pack of bizarre monkeys now attacks our hero instead of the little-people shell dwellers. It actually comes off better than it might sound. Also added are a bizarre scorpion creature that frightens SEN, and a lizard stuck in the computer works seems to have sprouted antenna and wings(?)
The robot factory where THX works is much larger and busier. Now when THX is urged to "make the correction" we see exactly what that correction entails as a new radioactive rod melts everything in its path as it rolls around on the work table. Also the danger involved is more evident as we see people engulfed in explosions.
Most shocking addition? How about what I could only describe as a "mastrubation machine" pumping away as THX is watching his hologram television. Kind of creepy but definitely a ballsy move...no pun intended.
Finally the big car chase at the end has been enhanced with a few barricades here and there. But the main change is an additional passage which has him driving like a mad man through the rush hour traffic. The segment is exciting and looks good, but it doesn't really transition well with the original footage, and the frantic action and camera movement does not match the tone of the original footage. Also, in this new footage, THX seems to be driving the car like a professional racer, as opposed to the rest of the footage where he seems like he can barely keep the thing in a straight line.
It is a jarring addition, but not a disaster.
One major misstep with this DVD release is not a single mention is made of these digital enhancements in any of the supplementary material. Its as if Lucas wants to just rewrite history and pretend this is how the movie always looked. If he wants to bury the original version, fine, that's his decision, but at least let his fans in on his decision making process in making these changes and how they were technically achieved!
This DVD? I was just issued it!
Patrick J. Mccart | Georgia, USA | 11/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, I have never seen the original 1971 cut of the film. In fact, the only reason I purchased the new 2-disc THX 1138 DVD set is because George Lucas' other two 1970's films are masterpieces (American Graffiti and Star Wars).
George Lucas' talent as a director is really underrated as THX 1138 shows off his knack for a "pure art" film. American Graffiti showed how well he could make a film focused entirely on characters and the interactions between them. Star Wars was his epic.
THX 1138 isn't for everyone, yet it has much to admire. On the surface, it seems to be a psychedelic sci-fi movie. To be honest, it's more of a very dark comedic satire. To me, the drug dependacy the society in THX 1138 had is a parody of the drug culture that was popular in the 1960's. The drugs, which give the look of being the savior just imprison the mind. As another reviewer stated, religion is run by the state in THX 1138. To be honest, the film really does have a lot of darkly comic moments. The "hologram" television switched between pornography and violence... not too different from our own TV broadcasting. A swipe at communism appears when a very awful comedy duo discuss a car one of them was "issued." The narration is often ironic. After an explosion in one of the robot factories, the group Thx works in happily exclaims their lack of casualties.
As for the CGI additions, they give the feeling of completing an otherwise unfinished film. The revised factory scenes look less like they were trying to hide budgetary problems. The car chase near the end feels right. Overall, I think that if the 2004 version was possible in 1971, THX 1138 would have become a more well known classic rather than a cult classic.
Warner's DVD is a flawless effort. The newly restored film (digitally restored by Lowry Digital Services at 4K from the 2perf Techniscope original camera negative) looks spotless. However, nothing has been done to alter the film to look "standard." The film still maintains the Techniscope "look" by keeping a hint of grain on the image. Colors are highly stylized as skin tones are often pale, as intended. The new Dolby Digital 5.1 remix shows off Walter Murch's stunning sound design. Dialogue occasionally sounds dated, but it's not that obvious.
As for extras, the commentary with Lucas and Murch is excellent. A 5.1 isolated music & effects track is wonderful, since it's one of the best parts of the film. There's also a seamless branching feature that lets you view clips of Walter Murch discuss the sound design of THX 1138.
Not on the single-disc edition are a lot of facinating featurettes. There's an hour-long documentary on American Zoetrope, a 30 min. documentary on the making of THX 1138, a one-reel vintage featurette on the film, the original student film (which is an amazing piece of short/low-budget cinema), originial and re-release trailers, and even an easter egg.
Zoetrope Studios' DVD Lab authored the DVD and they did a great job. The two documentaries are both 16x9 enhanced, as are the Master Sessions clips. The menus are tasteful and the cover art is perfect for the film.
This is an essential DVD to anyone with a DVD player."
New Director's Cut only strengthens the story...
Jon B. | San Francisco, CA United States | 10/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lucas may be obsessive or insane about making sure his films are perfect in his opinion. I for one love all the changes he's made to the Star Wars Trilogy. It's his story, his baby, he can change it all he wants. In my opinion he hasn't taken away from the spirit of the films...yet.
THX-1138 is another story, after funding had dropped out of the project (which was American Zoetrope's first production) Mr. Lucas had to leave holes in the plot and in the scenery in order to save some dough. This meant a shorter less elaborate car chase, less characters and less character development.
Now in his Director's Cut he's opened up his brave new world, made it more ample and he's shown us that this underground society is much bigger than previously shown. The extra shots at the policeman factory detailing the explosions, the subway, the station with all the elevators, the hoards of people in the background when they exit into the "people traffic", the prison of endless white, extra footage of the cops and the new beasts on the outskirts of the city all make this world easier to take in without losing the artistic and innovative feel of the original cut.
Not to mention the restoration of the film is gorgeous and much needed. You will not be disappointed with the new effect shots and the meaning and narrative of the film is still very much spared."