|Page 5 of 12:||           |
|Index||120 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.
** 1/2 out of ****
Considering the fact The Twilight Zone: The Movie features the work of four of Hollywood's most talented directors, I must say I'm a little disappointed by this collaboration. After all, Steven Spielberg has worked in almost every conceivable (respectable) genre. George Miller directed the action masterpiece The Road Warrior and the very entertaining and complex Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Joe Dante made the enjoyable The Haunting and John Landis directed An American Werewolf in London. It's not so much that all the stories are decent (But I must say, these two haven't done anything worthy in a long while). Rather, the first few are pretty bad, but the movie as a whole is saved by a scary prologue and two good final segments.
Speaking of the prologue, wow. After this opening, I was expecting the scariest anthology to date. It doesn't happen, but anyway, the movie opens with Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks driving down a deserted road in the middle of the night, doing nothing but listening to music. But then we hear the classic line "Do you want to see something really scary?" and thus begins the film in a great start. John Landis helmed this opening prologue, and it caps off with one of the scariest scenes I've seen in a while.
Unfortunately, the directors make a stupid mistake by interrupting the flow of momentum. The first five minutes are so fun and scary that the rush is brought down when you see the ham-fisted opening story. It's overstated, to say the least, and is purely a predictable tale of comeuppance. The late Vic Morrow plays a racial bigot who gets a taste of his own medicine. Had this story gone anywhere other than the obvious direction it headed for, this might have gone somewhere. Unfortunately, nothing surprising happens and the abrupt ending is just icing on a rotten cake.
The second segment isn't much better, despite being completely different in style and direction. I was most disappointed by this tale, if only because Steven Spielberg is my personal favorite filmmaker. This one goes further to bring you down from that terrific opening by unraveling a story of hope and wonder. It's about an old man (Scatman Crothers) who brings life back to an old retirement home communtiy. But it's pretty boring, to say the least, and every minute I was tempted to fast-forward through the whole thing (My temptation won over, but I eventually went back and watched it again). Once again, this one holds no surprises and the sentimentalism is overwrought. Spielberg usually handles these elements a lot better.
The third story is a considerable improvement. A young (and quite lovely) Kathleen Quinlan plays a schoolteacher who gets into a minor car accident with a boy on a bicycle. She takes him home, only to discover something incredibly strange about him and his family. This segment, directed by Joe Dante, is pretty good. Dante sets up the story quite well and the weird atmosphere is certainly a plus. There are even a couple of good creepy moments in this one, though not up to the same quality of the prologue.
Thankfully, they saved the best for last. George Miller directs this paranoid tale of a man afraid of flying. John Lithgow plays this man (and very well, might I add) and his fear is only heightened by the fact that this plane is flying during the middle of a storm. He tries to calm down, but when he looks at the window he sees a man. Or does he? This eerie, suspenseful story is pretty damn fun and scary, matching the mark set by the prologue. I don't want to give anything away in this segment, but it features Miller's trademark kinetic style and brilliant editing. This story will play well with both fans of eerie horror and frantic action. The ending to this one, by the way, is truly the perfect way to end the film.
The Twilight Zone: The Movie was obviously greatly assisted by a big-budget, which is noticable from the great production values. This is an overall enjoyable and fun film to watch, but not quite as good as I had hoped for. I don't really know how this compares to the TV series, but I'm sure that it had its own ups and downs. Still, anthologies are always something that have appealed to me and this is better than the usual ones. I certainly wouldn't mind another stab at an anthology by these filmmakers.
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.
|Page 5 of 12:||           |
|Plot summary||Plot synopsis||Ratings|
|Awards||Newsgroup reviews||External reviews|
|Parents Guide||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|