Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Great and Powerful Zardoz

I can't say what inspired me to watch Zardoz. It has been widely panned, condemned as one of the worst movies ever. I must have read a contrarian review somewhere. Maybe I just wanted to see Sean Connery in little pants.

Zardoz starts with a floating disembodied head delivering a prolog, which does little to explain the next scene: a giant stone head floating through the sky, puking guns and ammo through its stone mouth to a crowd of worshiping barbarians on horse. They chant, "Praise Zardoz! The gun is good! The penis is evil!" And one of these worshippers is Sean Connery, wearing a red diaper, an S&M harness, a heinous mustache and nothing else. Now I'm beginning to like this movie.

Somehow, Connery winds up with a bunch of leftie telepathic aristos wearing crocheted vests living on a rustic farm in a dimensional vortex. It seems that they are Eternals, who ineffectually rule the world from their vortices. They share labor communitarialy, they make and eat green bread, they commune in level 2 meditation trances, and sometimes become Apathetic, bored to sleep standing up. Also, they seem to be about 80% female, and they don't wear anything under their unbuttoned crocheted vests. This includes Charlotte Rampling and Sara Kestelman, a cute freckle-faced Brit who reminds me of Felicity Kendal. Rowr.

Connery is a member of the Enforcer class, created to exterminate the Brutals, a.k.a. ordinary humans who breed, use resources and don't meditate at level 2. Now, the Eternals have brought him into their vortex on the principle that mindless macho murder and rape may be just what they need to invigorate their stagnant culture. Who hasn't thought that at times?

As this movie unfolded, I thought of science fiction stories of the far future like Brian Aldiss' or Jack Vance's Dying Earth, where science seems like magic, and magic is as everyday as cellphones. But the real timeline seems to be something like this:
  • In the 1960-1970s, a group of intellectuals took drugs and meditated and became telepathic, immortal and all powerful
  • 500-600 years later, things aren't going so hot
So, we get this magical future world, but set in 2590 A.D., not 1,000,000 A.D. I found this fascinating, and now Zardoz is my favorite movie ever in the world.

In conclusion: Zardoz.

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