Kristina A. from ST PETERSBURG, FL Reviewed on 6/18/2011...
While I wouldn't go so far as to say that this "George Lucas Director's Cut" "destroys" the movie, it's not an improvement. I had the original version of this film on VHS years back and must have watched it at least 5 times; by the same token, I gave this version more than 1 view to give it an even chance.
This movie is a classic of dystopian sci-fi that did not need "improving" with the new cut. I do anxiously await the release of the original version of this film on DVD!! It is needed.
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THX 1138 - Sound the missing dimension
alan fortune | Coventry UK | 11/24/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Much ignored by many reviewers, this film (THX 1138) has a ground breaking soundtrack. Assembled and Edited by Walter Murch (the Conversation), the constant babble of an electronic, cybernetic society, creates an audio montage that greatly enhances George Lucas' excellent first full production movie.THX was started as a student project and subsequently turned into a full movie with the production assistance of Francis Coppola.I originally came across this film on late night TV in 1977. Obviously, there were no videos then, but I had an audio cassette recorder connected to my tv, so for many years I had only an audio copy of the film. Clearly this has caused me to focus on the sound of the movie. If you have your tv or video connected to your HiFi (if not why not?) play the video with your HiFi on at a decent (cinema) level. You won't be disapponted by the cyberbabble - 'make the correction THX!'.Is our society going the same way as Lucas' vision? Next time you're in a shopping mall, think of this video and 'buy more now, buy more and ...be happy'."
New scenes destroy integrity of a classic
Average Dude | 09/09/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"George Lucas' film of a stark data-based future was a very poignant commentary as well as advanced filmmaking. The issues that the film brought up are just as relevant today if not more so, and the original film was a great piece of filmmaking from both an artistic and technical perspective. However, the injection of new CGI scenes, which do not match the original film whatsoever, destroy the integrity and potency of this once classic. Although some of it is subtle, there are a lot of obvious scenes and CGI backgrounds, editing, and even characters. Unlike films of the same era with similar themes (such as Logan's Run) which exude 'cheesiness' and kitsch (they might be fun nonetheless), THX 1138 was one that stood up well with age due to its conservative and high quality visual design, focus on story and use of existing visual references. However, with these new scenes, the movie does seem cheesy and less believable. The scenes do not match the movie and take away from the style. They also give it today's overly literal, overdone visual cues and take away from the strong subtle tone of the movie. Other 'director's cuts' have editing changes, usually inserting scenes that were previously taken out. This instead is a re-done movie that has taken out a lot emotionally and put back in very little. Perhaps the director did not recall the theme of the movie regarding a society over-reliant on computers. ;) Having the original version available on DVD would do justice to the movie that it once was."
Old School Lucas
Darren Aronofsky | 06/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"George Lucas's debut Based on his award-winning student short, feature cerebrally celebrates the possibility for individual freedom against all odds. In a 1984-esque white-washed future underground dystopia where sexuality is banned, all humans sport shaved heads and the same shapeless outfits as they go about their work in a mandated state of sedation, listening to exhortations to "Buy and Be Happy." Black-clad robot cops chant a mantra to their victims that "everything will be all right" and automated confessional booths emit soothing therapeutic bromides. But unbeknownst to THX 1138 (Robert Duvall), his roommate LUH 3417 (Maggie McOmie) has been reducing their meds, resulting in their mutual discovery of love and THX's subsequent imprisonment for drug evasion and sexual misconduct. Determined to find the pregnant LUH, THX breaks out of prison with the help of his cellmate SEN 5241 (Donald Pleasence) and an escaped TV hologram (Don Pedro Colley). With fugitive pursuits strictly budgeted, THX only has to evade the robocops until the funds run out, but surveillance is omnipresent and THX's vehicle keeps overheating. Making the only film produced through the first incarnation of Francis Ford Coppola's independent studio American Zoetrope, Lucas and his small crew, including co-writer and sound editor Walter Murch, shot THX 1138 in northern California with no interference from distributor Warner Bros. When Warners saw the austere result, however, they recut the film before its release. Neither the studio's nor Lucas's cut was a popular success, but THX 1138's coolly minimalist style and story-telling gained fans on the college screening circuit, just as Stanley Kubrick's poetic 2001: A Space Odyssey had attracted a large youth audience in 1968. When Lucas returned to sci-fi after American Graffiti, he traded restraint for nostalgic fun in the film that guaranteed his creative freedom!"
THX-1138 looks for meaning in a future of crushing anonymity
Chet Fakir | 04/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ignore any comparisons of THX-1138 to any other films. It is stylistically and thematically superior to most other Science Fiction released at the time (except perhaps 2001:A Space Odyssey). Fresh out of film school with little experience, George Lucas crafts a sensual masterpiece set in the sterile, homogenized world of a possible future.Unlike Orwell's "1984," this is an anti-utopia we have brought on ourselves. Our quest for self-perfection has become our undoing. THX-1138 (Robert Duvall) finds himself haunted and confused by emotions and urges with which he cannot cope. Through his struggle to understand his own nature, we explore the nature of our humanity. We join him on his quest to free himself from the oppressive weight of enforced mediocrity.Lucas' vision is stunning, with the human element pitted against chrome-faced robotic police in stark black and white settings. The early work of sound design demi-god Ben Burtt plays a vital role in the creation of the technologically suffocating environment.Leonard Maltin's criticism of the "dull script" is understandable if he did not appreciate its subtlety, or the importance of the "nonsense dialog" between characters and in the ambient sound.p.s. Be listening for the voice talents of one David Ogden STEERS (as spelled in the credits), 6 years before his first credited on-screen appearance."
Georgie screws it up (again)
Chet Fakir | DC | 02/02/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"When I first saw THX 1138 back in the '70s I was spellbound. George Lucas' vision of an antiseptic consumer driven dystopia where not taking drugs was a crime really resonated with me and was original for the time. So I bought this DVD thinking that by "Director's Cut" I'd get extra scenes that were edited out of the original, WRONG! Instead George Lucas has added scenes of modern CG that are completely out of character with the original movie. The original movie was claustrophobic and paranoid. Everything occurred in white hallways or small spartan rooms, or on video monitors. The one exception being the "white out" detention center where the only color came from a few pieces of furniture and the actors faces. Now we have wide angle city shots interjected throughout that completely destroy that ominous and powerful claustrophobic mood of the original. That's not the worst of it though. There's some awful CG character animation as well. George has seen fit to replace the shell dwellers. Originally they were supposed to be humans that had mutated from prolonged exposure to industrial wastes and were played by little people with wild matted hair. And what did Lucas replace them with? CG monkeys, yes that's right, CG monkeys. Nasty ones to be sure, but fake looking, obvious bits of animation nonetheless. He also adds an equally fake looking scorpion-like animal that frightens Donald Pleasance's character SEN. Well we see a foot next to a scorpion-like animal and then Pleasance scurrying away going back to the city. And there's now a car race scene during rush hour traffic that adds nothing to the movie, looks like a video game and once again detracts from the original mood. The worst new bit though is the masturbation machine THX uses while watching holograms looking like a giant milking machine descending from the ceiling. It manages to be simultaneously vulgar, pointless and really really silly. What I find most annoying about this director's cut is that no mention was made re the new added effects. When will George Lucas realize that it's not a good idea to do change a movie simply because he can? Most likely never. Unlike modern DVD's of the '70s era Dr. Who TV show, you are not given the choice of either watching the original movie or watching scenes with newer special effects added. You get what George Lucas decides to give you and that's it. The additions to THX somehow degrade the movie and make it a less than adult film. The movie seems more childish, more fantastic and much less real. I've since sold my Director's Cut and have ordered a used VHS tape of the original movie, which is the only way I can see the splendid original since it hasn't been released on DVD. Yeah I still have a VCR, thank god."