MIND ALTERING TV ? NOT FOR TECHNOPHOBES!
Foot Artist | Houston, Texas United States | 05/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Wild Palms Mini Series first aired a few years ago, it was made for TV and it is based on the comic strip by the same name that appeared in Details Magazine in the early 90's. Its main audience was Generation X'ers, but I've heard that the comic strip became very popular with aging hippies, potheads, and the "underground" in general because of its offbeat pace and cerebral content. I taped it off the TV when it first aired and have watched it many, many times. I will definitely buy it on DVD when it comes out. The film stars Jim Belushi as Harry Wyckoff; Dana Delaney as Grace, his wife; Angie Dickinson as Josie, Grace's mother; Robert Loggia as Senator Tony Kreutzer, Josie's brother; and a few others like Kim Catrall, Bebe Newirth , and Ernie Hudson.Wild Palms is a story that takes place in the year 2065, and shows how technology has advanced to the point of being at the verge of making hollographic images physically interactive with human beings. Senator Kreutzer is about to launch a new sitcom on Channel 3 called Church Windows which will project the characters into people's living rooms. It will make people "feel" like part of the TV program. The dark side of the plan is that in order for people to interact with the hollograms, they have to take the drug MIMIZINE. Prolonged use of the drug has a side effect...it causes the user to see hallucinations of cathedrals and churches and it is ultimately fatal. But Senator Kreutzer wants the whole world to get hooked on hollographic TV for his own purposes, but you'll have to watch the film to find out what that is.Wild Palms is the first major production concerning VIRTUAL REALITY, though there was a kind of predecessor in TRON and in other lesser known films. The concept of VR has been used in movies again and again since Wild Palms in varying degrees of benevolence and malevolence (e.i. THE LAWNMOWER MAN, VIRTUOSITY, THE MATRIX), but when Wild Palms first came out the idea of VR was pretty fresh and open to exploration. The premise of VR is that human beings can communicate, interact, copulate, and in essence live and die in VR which is an extension of the real world within a network of computers (like the internet).The conflict in Wild Palms begins with Senator Kreutzer, he is the founder of a group called "The Fathers" who epitomize capitalism and right-wing, traditional politics (their corruption notwithstanding). Their antagonists are "The Friends" whose founder is a political prisoner named Eli Levitz. Eli used to be married to Josie...their daughter is Grace.Chickie Levitz (played by Brad Douriff) has the secret to the GO CHIP, which is the thing that will allow Senator Kreutzer to achieve his final goal once everyone is hooked into the Church Windows Sitcom.Throughout the film there's betrayal, seduction, incest, murder, and torture. None of it is overly graphic as it is not a "gore" film as such. The atmosphere of fear and impending doom is created more by what it implies than by what it shows. Like when Josie pokes the eyes out the artist. Not much is shown in the way of gore, but the scene is pretty disturbing.... Later in the film, as he prepares for revenge ,he says to Josie, "...once I was a painter, and mixing colors was my joy...", he then pokes her eyes out, and as she's screaming on the floor he shoots her a number of times.The film is very textural and warbles in and out of psychological focus. It mixes Oriental mysticism, politics, philosophy, hi-tech drugs, and the American Dream in a mish-mash so weird, you just have to watch it to understand it. Many of the scenes are reminiscent of Peter Greenaway films (a.i. A Zed and Two Noughts, Drowning by Numbers, etc.)"
Phenyx | Fremont, CA USA | 09/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been entranced by this mini-series for years and haven't ever been able to look at palm trees, rhinoceri, empty swimming pools or television the same way since. Wonderfully bizarre and a "must see" for anyone into Gibson-esque cyberpunk."
Dated but fun
Lord Summerisle | Austin, TX | 10/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1993's 'Wild Palms' isn't as edgy these days as it was twelve years ago - in fact, now that the virtual reality fad of the late '80s/early '90s has faded, the series is something of a period piece - but it's still an interesting take on the collision of government, technology, and religion. Great cast, too. Robert Loggia in particular delivers a jaw-droppingly over-the-top performance; no corner of the scenery is left unchewed, but he manages to make it work. I love Sakamoto's theme, but I have the feeling that he phoned the soundtrack in (maybe literally, as it's all synth and was apparently "realized" by someone else). Nice transfer, and an improvement over the crappy VHS version. And the price is certainly right.
In reply to an earlier reviewer's comment: Some of us think '12 Monkeys' is an improvement on 'La Jetee.' And 'Wild Palms' may not be top-drawer SF (arguably, '12 Monkeys' is precisely that), but it's fun to watch and I'm glad it's finally out on DVD."
High-tech designer drugs and Virtual Reality
Phenyx | 03/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the not too distant future, Senator Kreuzer plots to take over the country through strange cults, high-tech drugs, gestapo tactics, and a tv-set-top virtual reality device. I was afraid of Angie Dickinson before I saw her gouge a man's eyes out with her thumbs. Bizzare plotting, archetypal visions, and a tunnel network connecting the swimming pools of Los Angeles. Throw in amazing music by Ryuchi Sakamoto, the ever-frightening Robert Loggia, add brain implants and the Japanese techno-mafia, purple snot, and Dana Delany for a mind-bending 4-hour epic."