ZARDOZ

ZARDOZ (1974)

IMDb Rating: 5.7 / 10

Tagline: Beyond 1984, Beyond 2001, Beyond Love, Beyond Death

“The gun is good. The penis is evil. The penis shoots seeds, and makes new life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was, but the gun shoots death, and purifies the Earth of the filth of brutals. Go forth … and kill”

Bloody hell. And people wonder why the British film industry collapsed in the 1970s.

Zardoz is impenetrable, salty arsewash. A jumbo serving of pretension with a huge dollop of pomposity on the side.

Zardoz

Just relax and watch the magic not happen

What’s unusual about this punishing marathon of cinematic dump dribble is that unlike many of the bad movies we have featured, director John Boorman and his cast ended up with EXACTLY what they intended. Zardoz is the film equivalent of interpretive dance- everyone involved is taking themselves VERY seriously, thinking they just might change the world, while the audience either nap peacefully or burn with suppressed guffaws.

“You have penetrated me. There is no escape. You are within me. Come into my center. Come into the center of the crystal”

Can’t you see how deep my meaning is? Cup my profundity while you slowly jerk my subtext.

Suspiciously though, for a film that is so deep and philosophical, it does seem to involve plenty of young women taking their tops off. It is breathtakingly, gloriously, impossibly self indulgent. It is as pleased with itself as an armless man at a circle jerk.

The plot? Do we have to? Really? OK, fine then…

Zardoz

This can only result in an Oscar

It’s the post-apocalypse 23rd century. The immortal, psychic, Eternals rule the race of Brutals from inside the safety of their Vortex. The Vortex is controlled by an artificial intelligence called the Tabernacle. One of the Brutals penetrates the Vortex by stowing away in the giant flying stone head known as Zardoz. The new arrival soon upsets the delicate balance of existence inside the Vortex.

Sounds like it could be a masterpiece- of course you can have $1.5m to make it – An idiot financier, somewhere

So- happy? Of course not.

Understand? Only if you’re not trying hard enough.

Zardoz

"I look fantashtic"

So the Eternal ladies need to be on their guard, a potent dose of Scottish sex musk is about to be introduced into their environs- Sean Connery has penetrated their Vortex. Though in reality, the Brutal intruder sounds more like something you might buy online and not tell your wife about.

Now the fun really begins as Connery, a man who 10 years previously was the epitome of urbane cool, creating one of cinema’s greatest icons, does his best to commit career suicide. Looking to escape the role of 007? Well dressing like this might just do it.

It looks like Mr. Bond has already slipped into something more comfortable.

Wielding a ponytail, a bandolier, thigh-high boots and an orange nappy, Connery resembles a camp pirate on his way to a specialist S & M club.

Obviously, Connery’s appearance is one of the most memorable aspects of the film, indeed of ANY film, but in fact the costume designers give the impression that they must hate all the actors- must really despise them. The entire cast look like it’s fancy dress night at a swingers retreat.

“Stay close to me- inside my aura”

Zardoz

"No Mr. Bond, I expect you to cry"

At one point, Connery tries to evade capture in The Vortex by wearing a wedding dress, complete with veil. This was a serious plot point. However, the moment the 6’4” Connery’s veil is lifted to reveal his stern visage, complete with woolly handlebar moustache, may be one of the ten funniest moments in the history of cinema…or indeed, in history.

On the DVD commentary, director John Boorman is candid about the film, using words like ‘hubris’ and ‘farrago’. Who are we to argue?

Zardoz is a staggering, bewildering, confusing and alienating experience- from beginning to end, one of the most pretentious films ever made. It runs the gamut of glorious bad film from z to z.

 

Symbolic?

Sym-bollocks more like.

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