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Customer Review

169 of 193 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly one of a kind ... or, 1138 of a kind, or ... whatever., July 22, 2004
This review is from: THX 1138 (Two-Disc Director's Cut Special Edition) (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.

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.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 25, 2010 3:24:07 PM PST
Kyoto Martyn says:
"THX and LUH are asexual because of their sedations" Oh really? There is a scene where THX appears to be watching a pornographic hologram while being pleasured by a mechanical device. Sex between men and women make be a "sex crime" but that doesn't mean they are asexual. And how do you think LUH got pregnant? One sceen shows the couple naked and presumably post-coital, before the robocops come to take them away.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2011 7:36:39 AM PDT
"oh really?" you sir, are a douche.

Posted on Mar 30, 2012 7:09:24 PM PDT
THX 1138 is directed by George Lucas. The entire movie from start to finish is based on a white background and characters clothed in white, living in a future underground dystopia where sexual contact is banned and drug intake is required. People on drugs compelled to work harder in order to actualize themselves by consuming more? Sounds like our world to the T. The black robot cops chant "everything will be all right" and "buy and be happy" as they regulate the community. The movie stimulates us to think about government control and take over in our lives in the future or even today. This movie is full of artistic and abstract art ideas. The areas in the movie all seem to be sterile areas. Everyone is just a number. The emotion is removed from the characters. This is seen throughout the movie as the characters relate with little emotions, drugged into compliancy.
The cinematography in THX 1138 carried out by David Myers. He chose to bath the characters in white space. He traps the characters in sharply defined blocks of light and shade. As Robert Duvall, THX 1138 is sitting in the confession booth in one half of the screen, the other half of the screen portrays an image of Christ dominates the next. This was use of a close-up {195}shot. This created a sense of claustrophobia and unease for the viewer. The imagery is very striking throughout the movie. All the actors and actresses had to shave their heads. Lucas made the quirky decision to have the film's opening credits scroll down instead of up. All these decisions were deliberate decisions made to make the viewer really think about and movie. It makes us think about life and the direction the world is going.
Walter Murch is credited for his golden talent in editing and sound editing on THS 1138. The editing of the police car scene moves the car in and out of site with focus techniques. This was most likely a special use of adjusting the lens {173} called racking focus {visible to blurry - 178}. The speed of the car is enhanced with editing techniques and the car appears sleek and quick. I noticed that the left tail light was out during the entire scene. I believe the editors used time-lapse cinematography {173} to intensify and speed up the racing scenes. This created the sense of faster scenes. The cars speed at the speed of light almost before your eyes.
The sounds are echoes at times. The sounds are vibrant and there is a sense of surround sound that makes you feel like you are part of the movie, that you are there too with them. The sound techniques used absorb you into the movie. The new audio reproduction techniques were discovered and would then be shared with theaters worldwide.
The color was all controlled to express the simplicity in the color of white in the walls, floor and ceilings as well as their clothes. This was to help you think that everything in life is taken in this movie to its simplest form. Again, the white is portraying a very sterile environment. A splash of color from time to time in the primary colors shows us some life in the movie. George Lucas is making a political statement that people are controlled by money and consumerism. The black represents authority in the movie. It is funny that the bad characters usually wear black. This must relay the negativity in their form of governmental control.
Most critics think that all the editing techniques involved in creating THX 1138 are revolutionary for their time because for starters, the use of color, or lack of color (white) was never used before. It was truly unique. Film editors use these new techniques that have taken us to the point of editing we have today.
It was funny watching the movie, thinking about how it was made in 1971. 1971 was so different back then, but now, we do have visible government control and cameras surveilling every move. It was eerily prophetic of today.
The movie concludes as THX 1138 emerges from the hidden city below the earth's crust and walks into the bright sunshine in red sky while birds fly overhead. This is an indication that a new life is possible on the surface.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 12:38:25 AM PDT
We have "corporate" control Teresa. not The govt,(esp in the hands of the far right) is controlled by Corp. dollars. And so are we.THX-1138 was very prescient.

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2013 12:37:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 26, 2013 12:39:00 PM PDT
Retired Nerd says:
No, we have gubmint control. Right now as I write this, there are three scandals going on dealing with gubmint control and its abuse, and a new multi-million dollar "data collection" center being built in a near desert, its only design is to collect data..and use it as any administration in power sees fit.. This is currently in the hands of the far left. But that doesn't matter. Whoever is in office will have this power and ability to do what they please with it, as it is being done right now. Read the paper please, watch the news, look at the accredited sites on the internet.
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