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THX 1138 (Two-Disc Director's Cut Special Edition) (2004)

Robert Duvall , Donald Pleasence , George Lucas  |  R |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Don Pedro Colley, Maggie Mcomie, Ian Wolfe
  • Directors: George Lucas
  • Writers: George Lucas, Walter Murch
  • Producers: Lawrence Sturhahn, Francis Ford Coppola
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, Director's Cut, Surround Sound, Collector's Edition, THX
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 2004
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002CHIKG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,313 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "THX 1138 (Two-Disc Director's Cut Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "A Legacy of Filmmakers: The Early Years of American Zoetrope": new 60-min. documentary
  • "Artifact from the Future: Making of THX 1138": new 30-min. featurette
  • "Bald" original production featurette
  • Master session with Walter Murch (Branching sessions from isolated effects track)
  • "Electric Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB" -- George Lucas's original student film
  • Theatrical Trailers

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

George Lucas's fascinating, almost art-house, film just took a quantum leap into the digital future. Never has the world of THX 1138 looked as bright, clear, and antiseptic as it does on this remastered version. It is equally impressive how far Lucas and the camera crew push the widescreen 2.35 aspect ratio, particularly on a film that emphasizes minimalism. For those that fault the film as being "soundless," prepare yourself for a shock. The new "THX enhanced" THX 1138 sports a newly remastered DTS audio track that enhances every wonderfully subtle, ambient sound of Lalo Schifrin's soundscape. Complaints are likely to be aimed at the restoration. As many assumed, the newly restored (and retitled) THX 1138: The George Lucas Director's Cut underwent a few CGI alterations. In one aspect, the computer graphics are stunning, they're not excessive, and they don't take anything away from the film's storyline. In some aspects the CGI scenes bridge some empty gaps. However, the modern effects do look a little out of place in comparison with the rest of the film. Though a futuristic sci-fi film, THX 1138 is still very '70s in its look and feel. When the newly added scenes appear, it is pretty obvious what has been added. Yes, the purists will cry "Blasphemy!" but in all honesty those new to the film may not notice the differences, and most viewers will probably not care.

THX 1138: The George Lucas Director's Cut DVD set contains pretty much everything you could ever want with regard to the film. It includes the new documentary Artifact from the Future: The Making of THX 1138 (30 minutes) as well as the original production featurette Bald (8 minutes). There is also the excellent 63-minute documentary A Legacy of Filmmakers: The Early Years of American Zoetrope, featuring Zoetrope founder Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, John Milius, and Walter Murch. The DVD's informative and entertaining commentary is a combination of separate tracks by George Lucas and co-writer/sound designer Walter Murch. Though not an action-packed thrill ride, THX 1138 is nonetheless a very interesting, meditative film that hits a lot closer to our home than a galaxy far, far away. --Rob Bracco

Product Description

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 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
* Original theatrical trailer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
190 of 215 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Director's cut has major problems September 11, 2004
Format:DVD
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.
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161 of 184 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
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.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What's up with the Director's Cut? September 15, 2004
Format:DVD
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.
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67 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old School Lucas June 22, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
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!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
under rated all time great sci fi. Too intelligent for masses.
Published 2 days ago by Donna L. Siemers
2.0 out of 5 stars Movie Fan
It is definitely a love it or hate it movie. It's a bit unusual for me.
Published 9 days ago by Wisconsin
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful 70's Sci-Fi from George Lucas
Haunting performances by a number of supremely talented actors. The talent behind the camera is not bad either.
George Lucas made a brilliant film here!
Published 9 days ago by Sethster
3.0 out of 5 stars THX... JUST....THX that Dolby sound in the theater...more...
Seemed like a good one, but not that great.
Published 17 days ago by J.B.
4.0 out of 5 stars The directors cut.
When one watches this depressing film, they have to wonder how Lucas went from this to Star Wars. But originally, George wanted to make small, intimate, art films. Read more
Published 1 month ago by EE
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
I seriously think you need to be super high to see this movie. It was torturous. Don't waste your time.
Published 1 month ago by Penny Blake
1.0 out of 5 stars Had to switch to Google Play!!!!
It kept skipping and I couldn't play on instant video. I didn't even get ten minutes in when I got frustrated and switched to GooglePlay instead and had to pay another three... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nicole Moran
3.0 out of 5 stars if only it would play
bought this, got it on time, dropped it into my Panasonic Blu-Ray player and got to the Warner Bros. logo screen and it quit. Read more
Published 1 month ago by My Opinion
3.0 out of 5 stars slow.
this came out before Logan's run but that is a much better told story. Also visually similar to A Clockwork Orange also released in 1971.
Published 1 month ago by Ernie
2.0 out of 5 stars Lucas'ed Again!!!!
I watched this movie on Amazon instant video. I've seen the original multiple times back in the 70's and loved it, and was looking forward to watching it with my film buff 18 year... Read more
Published 2 months ago by David K.
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