Okay I am going to get the obvious jokes out of the way. Yes this film includes Sean Connery wearing a red nappy / loincloth throughout the film. Now that has been said I can do a more serious review of this very bizarre film.
Set in the distant future, this film follows Zed, a savage exterminator who follows the words of their god Zardoz, ordered to eradicate the primitive people who multiply and try to exist within the harsh, barren lands. Zardoz speaks to his chosen people (the exterminators) as a giant flying stone head which Zed boards one day in search of “the truth”. After confronting a strange man within the head whom he shoots, the head lands in an idyllic land ruled by immortals who have been manipulating mankind and protecting the remains of art and learning from before the great calamity turned the earth to the savage lands they have become. Upon his arrival he is plunged into a world of betrayal and plans within plans. Can he survive long enough to fulfil an old prophecy and find the truth that he was searching for.
So lets start as always with the director / writer of this cinematic delight, one John Boorman. He is well known for his work on some absolute classics including, The Exorcist II: The Heretic, The Tailor of Panama and Deliverance. This is a man who knows how to make a movie to stand the tests of time. He also shows a great belief in the continued enjoyment of the worlds he creates so he took the screenplay that he wrote and with the help of author Bill Stair released a novel whilst he was doing the final editing of the film. If you have seen any of his other films you know how high a caliber story this man can create and you will not be disappointed.
So now we move on to the cast within this production. Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. The main role of Zed is played by Sean connery who doesn’t really need an introduction, but just in case you have been living under a rock and this is the first film you have ever seen he is best known for his portrayal of James Bond in seven of the films, Allan Quatermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Professor Henry Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. This is one of his lesser known roles but I think it may be one of his best. Next in our line up we have Consuela who is one of the immortals played by Charlotte Rampling who played Dr. Evelyn Vogel in Dexter, Lady Spencer in The Duchess and Irene Adler in Sherlock Holmes in New York. Also starring in this film we have Sara Kestelman playing the scientist May. She is better known for her roles in Lisztomania as Princess Carolyn, Lady Jane playing Frances Grey the Duchess of Suffolk and even lending her voice to the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords as Kreia.
Now comes the easiest bit for me. My personal opinion of this movie. I don’t even think I can call this a movie as in my eyes I think this to be a cinematic masterpiece. The story was very well written and the way the film was shot was superb. Yes the special effects would nowadays be seen as outdated but this was filmed in 1973. They used all the resources that they had to the best that they could and created this gem. I think that the fact that this is being released onto blu ray rather than disappearing into the mass of movies that have been forgotten speaks for this film more than my words ever could. I would recommend this film to any fan of science fiction. In fact I will be.
SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE BLU RAY RELEASE
– Commentary by the director John Boorman
– Interviews with John Boorman, Sara Kestelman, Anthony Pratt (production designer), Gerry Johnston (special effects) and many more
– An appreciation by Ben Wheatley who has directed many things including two Doctor Who episodes.
– Original Trailer
– Original radio spots.
As a final note you knew I wouldn’t be able to resist making another point of Sean Connery’s questionable costume so here you go.
And yes this was done before photoshopping was an option. Yet another thing that shows Mr Connery’s dedication to his roles.