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Featured Movie Reviews

Twilight Zone: The Movie

Back in 1983, some of film's greatest directors came together to create a film version of a legendary sci-fi TV show, with very mixed results.

TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE kicks off with a fun prologue starring Dan Aykroyd (wow was he young here!) and Albert Brooks as a driver and hitchhiker swapping scary stories.

This rolls nicely into a strong title sequence with Burgess Meredith taking the roll of narrator from Rod Serling in style.

Our first tale stumbles badly under the hand of John Landis (Animal House, American Werewolf in London) as it tells a very predictable tale. An angry racist played by Vic Morrow finds himself suddenly Jewish in Nazi Germany, black surrounded by the KKK and wading through the swamps of Vietnam as an all too literal and not very subtle payback for his racism. It's not very well written and especially sad knowing that Morrow and two children lost their lives when a helicopter crashed during filming.

Our second tale, directed by Steven Spielberg is very sweet and again predictable as we follow Scatman Crothers (The Shining) arriving at a retirement home and bringing new youth to its residents. It's more "Amazing Stories" than classic Spielberg, but plays nicely and has some poignant moments thanks to Spielbergs sweeping camera and Jerry Goldsmith's terrific music.

Next, we find ourselves in our third story, well directed and envisioned by Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace). Kathleen Quinlan plays a school teacher on the way to a new town that meets a young boy along the way with a very special and scary talent. Dante envisions the entire episode as a live animated cartoon, before Roger Rabbit took that idea to a whole new level.

In a case of definitely saving the best for last, the final segment is tautly directed by George Miller (Mad Max, The Road Warrior) and tells the terrifying tale of an airline passenger having a very bad flight. John Lithgow plays John Valentine, a man who hates to fly to begin with, stuck on a turbulent flight with something VERY strange going on just outside his window.

This sequence is worth the price of admission, with Miller and Lithgow ringing every bit of terror, suspense and surprise out of the story.

The visual and sound effects on this airborne chapter hold up very well over 30 years later.

This final sequence is a solid A+ but the entire affair gets a B-. Who would have thought that Miller would out Spielberg the man himself!

The film concludes with Rod Serling's original narration and it still packs a punch...."you are about to enter....The Twilight Zone"....great stuff.

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