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A box office failure, John Boorman's Zardoz has developed a cult following among science fiction fans whose tastes run toward more cerebral fare, such as The Andromeda Strain and Phase IV. An entrancing if overly ambitious (by Boorman's own admission) film, Zardoz offers pointed commentary on class structure and religion inside its complex plot and head-movie visuals; its healthy doses of sex and violence will involve viewers even if the story machinations escape them. Beautifully photographed near Boorman's home in Ireland's Wicklow Mountains by Geoffrey Unsworth (2001), its production design is courtesy of longtime Boorman associate Anthony Pratt, who creates a believable society within the film's million-dollar budget. The letterboxed DVD presentation includes engaging commentary by Boorman, who discusses the special effects (all created in-camera) as well as working with a post-Bond Connery. --Paul Gaita
- Commentary by director John Boorman
- Still photo gallery
- Concept Art and Pressbook Galleries
Top Customer Reviews
While there is a great danger that no one will ever read this review, it is immense fun to write a review of this rich, quirky, and very flawed movie. For starters, I find it easy to see that people have a hard time understanding the movie. I have never held that fact alone against a movie, as it took me at least three viewings of `2001 A Space Odyssey' to feel I was anywhere near understanding it, and `2001' has taken its rightful place among the very best American movies. It has taken me at least that many viewings to understand some of Fredrico Fellini's movies and I still don't understand `8½'. But that doesn't mean this is not a great movie. But that doesn't mean this is a great movie. It only means it has potential the fact that it can still be found on the store shelves is a testament to the fact that this movie has a lot to offer, even if it ultimately does not fully realize the filmmaker's vision.
There are few movies I have seen which are more in need of the director's commentary than this one.Read more ›
Twenty years later, I grabbed a movie guide and searched for Sean Connery films. "Zardoz" I found. That had to be it. I rented it and sat down and watched it all over. It was as wonderfully strange and goofy as I remembered. I loved the big floating head of the god Zardoz at the beginning. My wife hated it, and watched only 30 seconds of it. If you must have your movie spoon-fed to you, forget this one. If you're brave enough to be baffled at times, strong enough to see Sean Connery in a wedding dress, and tough enough for some laughable dialog, then you've come to the right movie.
"Zardoz" (1974) occupies a very special place in his filmography. As Boorman also wrote the screenplay, we may assume it is a "film d'auter". He not only conveys a sci-fi story, he also gives the viewer a parable about power and immortality.
The whole movie has the look and feel of mid `70s cosmovision. Daily life in the Vortex resembles a Hippie community; there are scenes with kaleidoscopic effects (Ken Russell will use very similar images in "Altered States" (1980)); scenes of mass killing are shown with minimal blood effusion and so on.
The story is a classical sci-fi argument: in far future humankind is fractioned in two groups. One group lives in an edenic valley, profits from immortality and suffers no material needs. The other, by far the hugest group, dwells in a destitute Earth subject to the persecution of the Exterminators.
Exterminators are servers of god Zardoz, an enormous flying and speaking stone head. Their religion promises eternal after-life at the Vortex. Zed, one of them, decides to creep into Zardoz's head and starts a "heroes' journey" of discovery, enlightenment and trial.
From there on a complex plot, requiring viewer's attention is deployed.
There are several high points in this film.
Cinematography directed by multi-Oscar awarded Geoffrey Unsworth ("Cabaret" (1972) and "Tess" (1979)) is delicate, portraying slender and beautiful women bodies. He uses color and texture (especially cloth texture) masterfully. The film has received a BAFTA nomination to Best Cinematography.Read more ›
The DVD finally does justice to this film--justice not done by the VHS or laserdisc. There is a considerable amount of material that was cut off the full-screen edition and even the LD was cropped. Now we can finally see Sean Connery shoot John Boorman in the head, as well as the shot where Zed sticks his finger through a painting. Visually this is SOOOO much better--the hazy effect which looked like tape degradation is now clearly the result of cinematic techniques which look awesome here. The sound is good, but it was never really that bad, so no complaints there. The director's commentary is a hoot if not super-informative, and you can (as a bonus) watch the film in French. Ironically I think Zardoz may even work better in French (but its just THAT kind of film.) There are a few other goodies, but nothing really notable. What's more outstanding is just the quality job they've done in reproducing the original film on DVD. If you are at all a fan of the film, you really do owe it to yourself to own this addition since this is the first time we've had a chance to see it the way it appeared in the theatre since its original theatrical release.
Lastly, to those who don't care for this film, the beauty of Zardoz that you're missing is how really deep it goes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What the hell did I just watch? 100% satisfied. Recommend a lot of wine with this one.Published 15 days ago by squidasaurus
Certain films are an acquired taste, but once you acquire a taste for "Zardoz" you never lose it. It's a bloody STRANGE film, and not for everyone. Read morePublished 16 days ago by R Anthony Botti
A strange movie, but if you're a Sean Connery fan it might be worth watching.Published 17 days ago by Andrew C. Moutoux
Either Sean Connery made this film to prove himself fearless, or he just wanted to embrace a topless Charlotte Rampling in her prime. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Paco Calderón
At this moment, this is my favorite science fiction film of all time. I first saw it over a year ago and have thought about it consistently ever since and I feel compelled to share... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Morgan
There is a 4k restored version with DTS out in the UK and Germany (steelbook) if you own an all region BR player-Amazon.ukPublished 2 months ago by Mark C.
"In the beginning there was the gun..." AMAZING movie! Seriously. Best Sean Connery role ever!Published 2 months ago by Spargle
The first time I watched it, I almost hated it. But it haunted me, so a few years later I bought it and re-watched it. I see it from an entirely different perspective. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kimrey
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