|Page 5 of 13:||            |
|Index||123 reviews in total|
While this film is hardly classic, it turned out to be decent since there
was an horrible accident on set so early in the production.
The prologue is directed by John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Blues Brothers), starring Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd in a car discussing TV show. This segment is well acted and is hilarious ,and is definetly the best segment of the film (if you can call it that).
The first proper segment is also directed by Landis, starring Vic Morrow as a bigot who travells in time to get his just-deserts. It's a good segment with the usual Landis in-jokes (SYNW, Charming guy etc.) but was blighted on 23rd July 1982 when Morrow, along with two young children, were killed by a helicopter in a Vietnam sequence. Landis, ass.producer George Folsey Jr, the unit producton manager, the special FX man and the helicopter driver were aquitted of manslaughter in 1987.
The second segment is directed by Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters, ET) and starring Scatman Crothers, and is the first actual segment that is a remake of a Twilight Zone episode ("Kick the Can"). It is the worse segment of the film. Spielberg would have been better off directing the one he wanted to ("The Monsters are due on Maple Street"), but was put off by the helicopter tragedy.
The third segment, directed by Joe Dante (Piranha, The Howling) is a remake of "It's a Good Life", about a boy who can do whatever he wants. This is a really good segment, which celebrates Dante's love of animation. Somepeople doen't like this segment because it is only loosly based on the 'Zone episode, but that was Dante's point, to try to create something new out of something old.
The final segment is by George Miller (Man Max, The Road Warrior), and it stars John Lithgow as a terrified airline passenger who thinks he sees something on the wing of the plane. It is a remake of "Nightmare at 20,000 ft", and will keep you on the edge of your seat. The gag ending is funny too (it was shot by Dante, not Miller though).
Overall, this film is decent but should have featured some Rod Sterling work. The score by Jerry Goldsmith is one of my favourites in film history.
What exactly was going on here? Four directors trying to re-create "Twilight Zone" episodes? Unthinkable! Rod Serling must be rolling over in his grave. After watching "The Twilight Zone" marathon on the Sci-Fi channel for two straight days, I can't imagine why anyone would want to improve upon these four brilliant episodes. The "It's a Good Life" segment was utterly ridiculous . It is much better in black and white and much better when you can't see so many of Anthony's horrifying creations and destructions. Though John Lithgow was extremely convincing as a white-knuckle flier who had lost his cool in the "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" segment, William Shatner is a hundred times more crazy and wonderful. "Kick the Can" was a very sweet segment, but we all know what a genius Speilberg is. Give us more "Jaws", "E.T.", and "The Color Purple" and leave the "Zone" alone. I did love dear old Burgess Meredith as the narrator, as Mr. Meredith contributed so much to the "Zone" ("Printer's Devil", "Time Enough At Last", "Mr. Dingle, The Strong", "The Obsolete Man", etc.). No more re-makes, Hollywood, please! The "making-a-movie-based-on-the-popular-TV-show" has to stop!
This 1983 full length film based on the classic TV series gives it a shot but......Well it didn't have Rod Serling and he was THE TWILIGHT ZONE! The segments aren't badly done but aren't that strong either. The final with John Lithgow as the terrified airline passenger is probably the best of the lot. Three of the four were remakes from original TZ episodes. If new stories could have been done (even some of the stories that were in the old Gold Key Twilight Zone comics) the film may have been better. Additionally actor Vic Morrow and two child actors lost their lives in the making of this motion picture.
I just saw part of this movie again recently and for the first time I picked
up on a very sly little inside joke John Landis plants for us in the first
segment. If you listen carefully (during the very short bit where the Vic
Morrow character is transported to Viet Nam and he is being fired on by
American troops), you will hear one of the confused and frightened (and
leaderless) soldiers lay into the others with the following
"I TOLD you guys we shouldn't have shot Colonel Neidermeyer!"
P.S.: If this doesn't ring big bells for you, go back and watch Landis' "Animal House" again (with special attention to the ending) and then go to the head of the class...
I've just seen this movie again after many years, and was struck by how magical Jerry Goldsmith's music is. Despite the failings in the stories and the fact that the special effects seem silly and fake nowadays, Goldsmith's score absolutely sparkles, particularly in the 'It's a Good Life' sequence. In fact, I went away thinking that Goldsmith's music is _too_ good; it's so affecting that it almost overpowers the ending. The last time I heard a score this good was John Williams's score to 'Raiders of the Lost Arc', but there, the film was good enough to handle the orchestration.
The prologue with Aykroyd and Brooks is the best sequence in this film. Landis could have done more with his section, and he probably would have had that fatal accident not occurred. With that in mind we can all forgive the first segment for ending abruptly as in many ways there was little choice. I did like what I saw though, it was an interesting idea. Spielbergs is terrible, it was so low key that it was boring. Dante's section is difficult to watch, and its only when you get to the end of that sequence that in retrospect it wasn't all bad. As far as the last section by Miller, it is so overrated. I was expecting something much more, the ending was good though. This is a real hit and miss (mostly miss) attempt, which should have been much better.
Twilight Zone - The Movie starts out with an entertaining prologue, followed by a clever first episode about a bigot who gets what he deserves. Unfortunately the second story directed by Steven Spielberg is silly and boring. The third is the worst. A confusing mess that nearly destroyed the whole movie. Fortunatly the best was saved for last. The Fourth, a remake of the classic William Shatner episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is excellent. Well directed by George Miller with a great performance by John Lithgow. I give it 6.5 out of 10
One can't blame John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller for trying, but this big screen adaptation simply does not measure up the standards of quality set by Rod Serling's science-fiction show. Landis's prologue, featuring Dan Akroyd and Albert Brooks, is highly entertaining. However the first segment, also directed by him, falls completely flat. Telling the story of a bigot (Vic Morrow) receiving his just desert, it is devoid of any inspiration and, of course, the abrupt ending brought about by Morrow's tragic death didn't help any. The second segment, done by the best known of all the directors, Spielberg, is the worst. A remake of the series episode "Kick the Can", it lacks any of the seriousness of the original and amounts to mindless, pointless fluff. Dante's loose remake of "It's a Good Life", which infuriates some series purists with its outrageousness, has a quirky quality that makes it watchable until the mind-numbingly cheerful ending. Miller's segment, a remake of "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is easily the best, offering some strong suspense. On the whole, watching reruns of classic series episodes would be a better use of time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Episode 1. An unpleasant and heavy-handed moral tale of Vic Morrow, a
bigot, who leaves a saloon and finds himself in Nazi-occupied France.
Wounded, he's transported to the American South where he's mistaken for
an African-American and barely escapes lynching, only to find himself
in Vietnam being shot at by GIs. Then back in France where he's thrown
aboard a train crowded with passengers headed towards a concentration
camp. I'm not sure what the point of this original story is. Morrow
doesn't seem to have learned anything from his persecution. The
American soldiers are hardly the equivalent of the Gestapo or the KKK.
The people who might need to have this lesson spelled out for them are
not likely to get it because the examples of bigotry shown are so
extreme that they don't prompt identification with the bigots. Not even
by bigots in the audience. And then there's that sadness associated
with the death, during filming, of Vic Morrow and two Asian children
near Tejon Pass.
Episode 2. Kick the Can. A fable for children. Certainly not for old people. Old age is difficult to deal with and it's not always easy to watch a movie that tells us that you're only as old as you think you are, as if the pain and the loss could be disregarded. Among Western countries, the French probably have the best attitude towards old age. The heck with it; pass the wine and the escargot. Of course, the bowlegged Scatman Crothers is always a delight.
Episode 3. Laregly a sfx extravaganza, this is the only episode that purports to be comic and, to the extent that it succeeds, does so because of the performance of Kevin McCarthy. In the original, John Larch was good at registering clammy fear, but McCarthy is GREAT. He wears these out-sized horn rims, and with his jutting chin and his gray hair hanging down in unruly bangs, he overacts outrageously. He's the only actor in the entire film who seems to be truly enjoying himself. The animated figures, alas, struck me as less frightening than just grotesque. Kathleen Quinlan is oddly beautiful with her big, blue saurian eyes and lissome figure. Kids might enjoy the cartoonish aspects.
Episode 4. John Lithgow is a half-demented passenger on Whiteknuckle Airlines. The plane flies through a severe storm, during which a gremlin dismantles engine number one and begins working on engine number two before being distracted and, perhaps, chased away by Lithgow and his bullets. Lithgow has naturally tried to convince the other passengers, the flight attendants, and the first officer that something weird is going on but, as is conventional in these situations, he turns to jelly and begins spouting gibberish instead of explaining linearly what's up. The monster on the wing is better done but no more convincing than Nick Cravat in the guise of a bipedal sheep.
Award for best-written incident goes to the Prologue.
There was a certain middle-brow magic to the TV series. Serling and his crew had the entire MGM lot to shoot on, but the budget remained low, so everything seemed small of scale, unpretentious, although that was rarely the intent. Of this feature-film version, it can be said that it is bigger and more expensive.
Back in the 50's and 60's "The Twilight Zone" TV series entertained
many, then in 1983 the movie version was brought to the big screen. I
must say the film version was pretty decent and special due to it's big
name directors(Miller, Spielberg, Dante, and Landis) and two of the
segments were remakes of old episodes "Kick the Can" and "Nightmare at
20,000 feet". The opening scene starts off leaving the viewer surprised
and drawn in as it begins with a nice little prologue with Dan Aykroyd
and Albert Brooks as two lonely friends driving the road at night who
begin to play a game of flashing lights and name that TV theme songs,
only to begin a debate of "Twilight Zone" episodes which ends up in a
scary and surprise shock! Really something that might come from a
"Saturday Night Live" skit! Still a good introduction to start the
The first segment is pretty well done and it strikes to the heart of social and culture awareness even if it's a bit overstated. Vic Morrow is Bill Connor a man who's depressed and mad at the world an angry bigot. Bill has just been passed over for a job promotion and he starts to let out his anger at a local bar in front of friends it's everyone's fought from the Jews to blacks to Japanese people! He feels the country is overtaken with outsiders, the segment then takes a huge turn and twist in "The Twilight Zone" Connor becomes his own worst enemy as he travels thru time all the way back to Germany and Hitler's war against the Jews, then he's a victim of the Klu Klux Klan ending out as a Vietnam war prisoner. Now talk about having your prejudice feelings turn against you! As one by one Mr. Connor got to feel the pain of each group of people he hated. Good direction here by John Landis even if he overstated it, he showed hate destroys.
The second segment probably the one weak one is an old episode remake called "Kick the Can" the old magic man himself directs Spielberg yet the tale is predictable and too fairy tale type. The segment features Scatman Crothers with other old folks in a rest home who restore their youth and good feeling by playing a game of kick the can. Really simple and predictable segment of a happy fairy tale of magic.
The third segment is better it stars Kathleen Quinlan as a schoolteacher named Helen who's unhappy looking for a new life. Her wish comes true when she meets a strange and unusual little boy named Anthony who takes her home to his family. This little boy has some type of television cartoon power that controls his whole family and household it's like everything is programmed to meet his needs! Now talk about the technology and adventure escape that Helen needs it's finally arrived. Good segment from Joe Dante just one year before his "Gremlins" fame.
The last and best segment "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is the classic remake of the 1963 episode with William Shattner this time it stars John Lithgow as the frightened passenger riding the red eye flight. Just like the original episode it's tense, neurotic and fun to see that winged gremlin like creature. Plus the segment ends neat and nice with the prologue ending with the return of the Aykroyd character and it closes out with the narration of Rod Serling.
Really this movie has been watched many times over the years by me and it's special and a timeless classic for any Zone fan. Very memorable too for such things as Vic Morrow's death during filming, Scatman Crothers in one of his last appearances three years before his death, plus the narration of legendary Burgess Meredith and again the big name directors. Worth a watch many times that pays good homage to the classic series.
|Page 5 of 13:||            |
|Plot summary||Plot synopsis||Ratings|
|Awards||External reviews||Parents Guide|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|