Tuesday, July 08, 2014

My Latest Oz Movie Rewatch

I've been a little lax on watching Oz movies lately, but that's because I've been pretty busy and/or stressed out, or had other priorities. I also have to squeeze my movie watching in around when Laura's home, in case she wants to see it with me — or when she's out if she doesn't want to. Such was the case last night, when I finally plugged in the DVD that I've had for a few years now of Zardoz.


Look, I get that the early '70s was one of the most explosive, experimental eras in movie history. The new ratings systems and new technologies meant that filmmakers could experiment more and really push the envelope in ways that had never been permitted before. But just because you can make a movie doesn't mean you should. Actually, I suspect Zardoz was a pretty wild, cutting edge movie in its day. But it just hasn't held up very well. It's wild visuals and not-so-linear storytelling just make for a confusing mess. Here, take a look at the trailer and see if this is something you'd actually want to see, even in 1974 (good grief, this film is now forty years old!):

It doesn't get much clearer than that! The R rating also meant lots of bare breasts (and I don't mean just Sean Connery's) and strongly implied sex, which may have been a big draw in its day, but now it just doesn't seem to be that big of a deal.

Now, if you haven't seen the movie, you may be wondering, what does this have to do with Oz? To spare you having to watch it, I'll reveal one of the big secrets of the movie: Zardoz, the big floating god head thing, takes its name from The Wizard of Oz, with a few letters crossed off, like this: The Wizard of Oz. See? As Sean Connery's Zed puts it, "A story about a man hiding behind a big head and making a lot of noise" (or words to that affect, I'm sure not going to go back and look up the exact quote). Kudos to the props department for using an edition of the book with W. W. Denslow illustrations, at least, although it's not one that I recognize. Maybe it hasn't been published yet.

I have a few extras I want to watch on it. The filmmakers' commentary ought to be interesting. I wonder how much of it will be John Boorman apologizing for this and that?

1 comment:

rocketdave said...

I've seen bits of pieces of that movie, but I don't think I've seen Zardoz in its entirety. I did try watching it once. I do recall the opening with the guy whose beard and mustache were drawn on with a sharpie and not realizing right away that that was actually part of the movie- I thought perhaps he was a host on the movie channel I was watching and he was just spoofing one of the characters from the film or something like that. And then there was the stone head with its unintentionally humorous dialogue, which once again made me question whether I was watching the real movie and not some sort of parody. Anyway, I tried, but I apparently could not get through the whole thing.

I'm somewhat curious whatever happened to the computer animated Wizard of Oz adaptation John Boorman was going to direct. I assumed it was dead in the water, but some quick googling shows that it was still being mentioned as a potential project of his as at least early as a year ago. Of course, Legends of Oz may have put studios off the idea of doing any more Oz films for the foreseeable future.