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In the year 2293, savage "brutals" worship
Zardoz, a flying stone head that spews firearms out of its mouth and proclaims
that while the gun is good, the penis is evil. One of the brutals, Zed (Sean
Connery), crawls into his god's mouth, discovers that it is a vessel operated
by a man, whom he promptly tosses out of its mouth, and travels in the craft to
a land of bored immortals.
John Boorman's Zardoz is a strange
film that somehow fails to become as captivating as it could have been. While,
for example, the images of the movie's opening scene are remarkably evocative
and inventive, most of the remainder of the film is visually pedestrian.
Despite this, and its other flaws, Zardoz is filled with such a variety
of fascinating ideas that it manages to maintain the viewer's interest
throughout. The strange land of the immortals the protagonist visits, while not
always perfectly realized, does, for instance, contain a number of intriguing
elements. Its inhabitants, though undying, live sexless, frequently
dissatisfied existences. Some, rebelling against their dull society, have been
caused to age so that while they remain immortal they are decrepit and senile.
Others are so jaded they have become mindless vegetables. In fact, much of the
immortals' society, and even some of their technology, such as their
crystalline computer, are complex and unusual. The movie's narrative,
unfortunately, is often less engaging and is frequently meandering. The result
is a film that could easily have been enthralling but is ultimately somewhat
Review by Keith Allen
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