Zardoz

Psychic Hippies: 8/10

Costume Design: 9/10

License to Kill: 10/10

Anytime a movie starts off with a floating head talking to me, I’m usually worried that everything that follows will be trippy and hard to follow.  When that head has a moustache that looks like it was done with a Sharpie pen and 60 seconds, it gives me the impression that I’m not going to be too impressed with the FX side of it.  Then, when the first real shot of the movie is Sean Connery wearing red underwear(and only red underwear), I pretty much prepare for an eye raping.  Thus is the legacy of the film “Zardoz”, the tale of a future where the world is split into 2 groups:  the highly civilized Immortals who are kept safe in the Vortex, and the powerful Brutals who live in the Outlands….

Sean Connery plays Zed, a Brutal who exterminates anyone in the name of Zardoz, a floating head that comes and goes, giving guns and ammo, and taking harvests.  Zed becomes upset when Zardoz commands him to take prisoners and use them to farm(he would prefer to rape and kill them), so he takes refuge where any of us would: a library.  In his free time he reads everything, and eventually stumbles on a little known book called The Wizard of Oz.  He understands the story of a man pretending to be a god, and when his thumb covers part of the title(WIZARD of OZ) he finally sees the truth.

Hiding in a pile of grain, he sneaks aboard the flying head and kills the guy who’s flying it.  He rides it all the way into the Vortex, where he finally meets the Immortals, a race of hippies who segregated themselves from the world in order to live forever.  The are all psychically linked, and everyone must behave in a happy and productive way.  The only form of punishment is aging, where a misdeed could land you a sentence of getting 5 years older, until you’re an old senile wreck that can’t die.  So, it has its problems.  While Zed is sneaking around this creepy Utopia, he gets captured and examined, becoming a science experiment that is to be eliminated after data is attained.

I wonder if they showed him the costume before or after he signed on...

The story starts to get really confusing and psychedelic here, where Zed is continually experimented on and eventually discovered to be a superior physical and mental organism compared to the Immortals.  In fact, he was specifically bred to be superior by the guy who flew the Zardoz head around, so that he could free the Immortals from life(they all want to die!).  Zed starts a rebellion and a riot breaks out, with everybody fighting now that they realize that they can fight(or something, now they all feel emotions…).  Contacting the other Brutals, Zed takes down the force field surrounding the Vortex, and the slaughter begins.  All of the Immortals run around screaming “Kill Me!!” and the Brutals are happy to oblige, leaving no prisoners.  And where is Zed during all of this?  He took off with his hippy bride(who wanted to kill him through the whole movie) and spends the rest of his life living in a cave with her and their newborn son.

This movie is worth looking into if you like seeing Sean Connery’s chest hair, but I think for the most part it’s just an oddball.  I enjoyed the whole Wizard of Oz connection, as well as the fact that they were still using pistols instead of laser rifles or something like that.  If you have 2 hours to burn and really like your Sci-Fi Psychic Hippy Thrillers(there’s a market for that?), then check it out. 

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