Movie Review: THX 1138

“What’s wrong?” The version I saw.

Yes, it seems that it’s not just Star Wars that George Lucas likes to tamper with. I have only seen “The George Lucas Director’s Cut” and yes, the added elements are noticeable, even to someone who hasn’t seen a different version like me.

The movie is not so much about the plot as it is about set design. Long story short, it’s a sci-fi escape movie. In a world where computers dominate society, humans are known by letters and numbers; emotions are repressed through mandated drugs. Our hero, THX 1138, is part of an assembly crew that makes android police. His mate, LUH 3417, breaks the drug mandate by switching pills. This leads to a new emotion that has not been felt for a long time: love.

The fact is discovered and THX is “mind-locked” at work during a rather crucial part of assembly involving radioactive material. He is then sent to a prison consisting of nothing but seemingly infinite white. This area is the most memorable part of the film. After all, you can’t really run from infinity. He escapes with the help of a hologram and one car chase later THX more or less goes above ground and walks into the sunset because there was not enough money in the police budget to capture him. Yeah.

Keep in mind that this is based on the short film Lucas made. I’d watch it first before this.

Now, the added elements vary from somewhat detectable to the blatantly obvious. From what I can gather, there are more people in the crowds thanks to CGI. That’s in the “somewhat detectable” area. The creature or whatever that attacks THX near the end is also CGI; very blatant CGI where you realize how distracting it is for it to appear in a 1977 movie.

I put it as one of my favorites, despite the complaints, because of the set design and the style of the overall piece. The closeups of the data re-establishes the fact that the world they live in is only made up of data. The stark white that is seen in the world and costumes represents that without any distinguishing traits, everyone looks the same.

This is not for everyone as some will find it painfully slow at times, even for 88 minutes. Some say that it’s another 1984 based on the dystopian elements. Well, that’s true but while 1984 was dirtier in environment, THX 1138 is unnaturally clean.

The movie is more or less remembered as a reference in other works. The “THX” part should be obvious; even this movie is certified though I’m not surprised as it is a Lucas film. The number is more or less shorthand for this film. Anytime you see “1138” it usually means this. I’ll try to get an older version of this film.


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