Movie of the Day – THX 1138

Yeah, yeah, I know.  Yet another sci-fi movie making its way into my daily blog.  Seriously though, science fiction movie are an amazing look into how society and individuals view the future of the world.  Some people have this optimistic outlook on the future where society has progressed to the point where technology has made our lives easier, technology has made our culture reach its maximum opulence or we have advanced culturally as a society rather than technologically.  Other view the future aspects of society as being doomed by the very technology we created.  Society could be at a crossroad when viewing the marrying of technology and our human lives.  Society could be doomed because of the use of the very technology we created to help our lives.  Or in some instances, a greater power is held over the populace through the use of technology.  Viewing the future of our lives and society is fascinating to me since there is no one similar idea of what life will be like in the future.  I find that when directors tackle the idea of futuristic society, the results are unique and taxing on our comprehension of current society and that of the directors society.  I am more or less rambling on about one of pillars of science fiction movies, but I generally feel that there needs to be a little explanation before everything begins.

One of the things that gets overlooked by this particular director is that he started out creating engaging and boundary pushing movies.  Now I am not saying that George Lucas is a terrible director, I think that he has just been caught up in trying to continuously alter and change what he has done with the Star Wars franchise.  He has lost his sight a long time ago when he decided to go back and alter the original trilogy with enhancements and structure changes.  But his current bastardizing of his films overshadows his contribution to film and his early work is just a bleak memory.  As a film fan, I do remember the halcyon days of his early work and as a science fiction fan, THX 1138 is an amazing visual and story telling achievement that is forgotten by most.

THX 1138 revolves around the dystopian society which lives underground, due to the unknown factor to the audience that the surface is uninhabitable.  The powers of authority have taken control of  the populace and regulate their emotions and sexual behaviors in order to quell any form of free thought and feelings.  The drugs that the people take are also used to control them in performing highly dangerous and complex tasks.  With no form of free thought to distract them, the people can work without incidence.  Worker THX 1138 (Robert Duvall) works in the factory that creates the androids that police the people and his roommate LUH 3417 (Maggie McOmie) starts to become conscious of her surroundings and makes a decision to stop her medication.  She also secretly replaces THX’s medication and soon THX starts to develop emotional feelings towards LUH.  THX must make a decision whether to take his drugs again or leave with LUH and search for freedom outside the city.  THX is discovered by the authorities that he is no longer taking his drugs and that his sexual relations with LUH is found as well.  THX is sent to Limbo, where he meets several other workers who plan to leave the city as well.  Now it is a race to reach the outer edges of the city and head topside to Earth.

I am cutting out a lot of the story, since there is a lot more interaction between THX and other members of the workforce who are looking to escape their situation.  While I have a desire to dive deeper into the story, I do want people to see this movie.  It is an amazing technical achievement and showcased the abilities of Lucas’s story telling and visual style that just seemed to get lost in his later films.  Visually, the movie is rather stale and bleak.  This isn’t a bad thing since the makeup of the city and the inhabitants is mirrored by the current situation of the society.  Since authority is controlled by the use of drugs and emotions are long gone, the architecture and style of the city is more industrial and uniform.  It sets the tone for how society behaves and how the government controls the people.

The movie has a lot of tones of 1984, which are echoed throughout the movie where you see that the people worship this godlike being called OMM 0910.  The inhabitants only communicate with OMM through telephone booths.  The use of controlling emotions and sexual desires is another science fiction staple where free thought and human emotions cause unforeseen circumstances that disrupt the status quo,  An inability to control feelings means that it can spread to other people, causing control to be loss.  The movie is effective in showcasing this central point by the sterile environments of the sets and the uniform look to the people.  Shaving their heads reminds us of the conscripting nature of military being a single unit rather than the individual aspect of life.  Haircuts look to give us an individual nature and feel, so being bald takes away that uniqueness and makes us the same.

THX 1138 might not be the best science fiction movie out there, but it is one that has a lot of echoes in our society.  Control, uniformity, this faceless authority figure is a stark contrast to our current world.  I think if you watch this, it might not hit you right away, but you can appreciate the visionary directing by Lucas.  He created a unique, albeit bleak dystopian world.  Plus THX 1138 is also referenced in a lot of Lucas’s other films and influenced other movies with it’s sterile, government controlled look.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

2 Responses to Movie of the Day – THX 1138

  1. H.E. ELLIS says:

    If I can find this on Netflix I’m totally there.

    • Nick says:

      Last I checked it was on there. But if you are a lover of dystopian societies and a strong cast (duvall is incredible) you won’t be disappointed

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