Comics posts are coming, honest, but I did want to mention that I watched THX 1138 recently. It was the “George Lucas Director’s Cut” version, which meant some CGI inserts a la the Star Wars special editions. I am not especially familiar with the original THX, although I did tape it (and Lucas’ original student film, also a DVD extra) off Bravo ten-plus years ago, so it’s not like the original is completely lost to me. The GLDC didn’t despoil my childhood, is what I’m saying.
Anyway, it was an interesting film, very much in the mold of alienated ’70s sci-fi, where everything looks drab, utilitarian, and monochromatic, and all personality has been outlawed. It does have its moments, most of them having to do with the characters LUH (love interest) and SEN (maliciously annoying colleague).* THX (the character) is heroic in his way, but it’s a slow burn before he finally decides to (as Lucas puts it elsewhere on the DVD) “walk through the open door.” LUH and SEN each have designs on THX, and it’s through their actions that THX is put through his ordeal, so perhaps that’s why they seemed more … well, entertaining to me. I had forgotten it had nudity — which sounds really strange at this point, doesn’t it? Nudity in a George Lucas movie? — and either the actors (Robert Duvall as THX and Maggie McOmie as LUH) had great chemistry or Lucas had a much better feel in the early ’70s for directing a romantic scene. Insert smart-aleck Attack of the Clones comment here.
For paranoid, dystopian early-’70s sci-fi, it’s not especially suspenseful either. (SPOILER ALERT!) When Lucas talks about THX walking through an open door, he’s not exaggerating. The last shot is pretty amazing, though; and it makes a good counterpoint to its sister scene in Star Wars.
Walter Murch’s soundscape didn’t do much for me, probably because I wasn’t watching it in 5.1. I think it’s the kind of movie you have to watch a few times, in order to get a proper feel for the rhythms and themes. I’m not opposed to that, but it may be a while before I revisit it.
* [By the way, I would love someday to chart Donald Pleasance's various career trajectories. Not long before this he was Blofeld in You Only Live Twice, arguably one of the biggest movies in the world. In 1971 he did THX, in 1978 he did Halloween, and in 1981 he was back with John Carpenter for Escape From New York.]