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Zardoz


What in the hell?

One of the strangest films ever made and certainly the weirdest one in Sean Connery's legacy, 1974's ZARDOZ is a futuristic head trip from some very good filmmakers.

But lets be clear, this is anything BUT a good movie.

Connery sports a Borat style mankini through much of the movie as Zed, a horseback executioner in the year 2293. The countryside has changed very little over the centuries, with a couple inflatable domes around a country house that speak more to the limited budget than any visionary style.

In the first ten minutes, we see a narrator explaining what we are about to see. He has a mustache and a van dyke beard that are drawn on with a sharpie. Why, I have no idea.

Then we see the giant 40' tall floating head of the God Zardoz, floating out of the sky like that goofy mountain in 'Krull" and saying things in a booming voice like "The gun is good, the penis is evil" and then spouting buckets of guns from its giant mouth all over the countryside like some NRA fever dream.

Zed hops aboard the floating head and begins an unintelligible journey to meet a bunch of half naked, ageless hippies who guard all of mankind's greatest works.

I can only assume that the budget also impacted the costume department, as everyone is dressed in cheap looking, barely there outfits that look more like Woodstock than 2001.

Connery said in his biography that he was anxious for work after walking away from OO7 post "Diamonds Are Forever". His first film after Bond had bombed badly and Writer/Director John Boorman had free reign to make any film he wanted after his film "Deliverance" was a huge hit in 1972.

Connery said the script was great and that it remains one of his favorite films that he made. I dont know what Sean is drinking, but I need some.

I love weird movies, I don't need a movie to make sense for me to love it. My love of most things David Lynch attests to that. But you have to give me something to hold my interest.

Charlotte Rampling (The Verdict) is pretty good as one of the elders, who dole out punishment by adding years of aging to their brethren, who are otherwise eternally young.

Since no one can procreate, at one point they run tests on Connery to see if he's up to the task. It's hilariously 70's in its approach.

Boring and silly, it does have a few moments thanks to great photography from Geoffrey Unsworth (2001, Superman, Cabaret).

With visual references that brought back "Planet of the Apes" and Lynch's "Dune", its a few great scenes looking for a story.

Boorman has made some superb films, certainly 'Deliverance" and "Excalibur" would qualify, but he must have been stoned when he wrote this thing.

ZARDOZ is loaded with self important references to social structure, ageism and violence, but sinks to the ground under its own weight like that goofy giant head flying around like a stone blimp.

ZARDOZ gets a D.

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