Saturday, December 10, 2005

70's Apocalyptic Sci-FI

Well, of course the first thing I think of when I wake up today are those 70's movies that brought together environmental degradation, social engineering, and some pretty bad special effects. A very few are great, some are not so bad, most are awful, and some are obscure - all share some fairly famous actors.

**Fair warning-spoilers ahead!**

Zardoz (1974) - Stars Sean Connery in a plot so convoluted you'll need to watch this tripe at least twice to "get it" - here's a link to a very funny plot explanation. The movie takes it's name from an amalgamation of the book The Wizard of OZ. This link has pictures of the cast and also some more hilarious thoughts. My only other comment is that the first time I saw Red Hot Chili Pepper's video "Breaking the girl" I thought, "The costume designer ripped off Zardoz!!".

Z.P.G.(1972) - The title stands for "Zero Population Growth" and stars Geraldine Chaplin and Oliver Reed as renagades who dare to become pregnant! The funniest part of the show is at the end, when they are sentenced to "death", along with their baby, and are covered by a large plastic umbrella which is spray-painted green to spare the surrounding folks their slow demise by asphyxiation! This review gives even more spoilers, but really gives you the feel of the movie!

Quintet (1979) - This movie was the most confusing for me, I originally thought it was made by Russians, but it turns out to have been directed by Robert Altman, and filmed in Montreal. Not so amazingly, I found a reviewer with the same thoughts. It stars Paul Newman and a large cast of also-rans in a bizarre New Ice Age drama that's so boring no one's even reviewed it on the rottentomatoes site! (However there is a picture of Paul and a quick synopsis)

THX 1138(1971) - This is a still relatively obscure movie, but very good (in my opinion). Stars Robert Duvall in a George Lucas movie that Lucas orginally made in college! Here's a review based on a new director's cut released in 2004. Unlike many Lucus movies, this isn't a warm fuzzy film - the "mood enhancing" drugs the US market is peddling nowadays bear a creepy close resemblance to the drugs forced on the characters....

Now for the best of the last! Since you are reading this, you've seen these movies so I won't bother with links....

Logan's Run (1976)- RENEW! RENEW! This movie made my list specifically because Michael York is HOT!...and also because it's just good entertainment. Cult of the Young anyone? (remember to check out the plastic surgery scenes...)

Planet of the Apes (the whole 1970's series of movies) - PETA's wet dream - I'm kidding! So much social commentary, so little time....'Nuff said!

Soylent Green (1973) - You-know-who shouting "Soylent Green is People!". However, realistically I'd have to say the powers that be would just let the poor starve (like they do now...). Far cheaper than building some expensive machinery to turn people into food! Duh!

17 comments:

The Moody Minstrel said...

That was fun!

Nice synopsis, Ladybug!

ladybug said...

Well, I've already been notified I left one off the list: Omega Man!

Plus, one other I thought of - Silent Running, (with Bruce Dern). This last one is the most depressing.. ok I'll admit it, I cried when the one robot blew off the face of the spaceship, - but was perversely happy yet horrified when Dern killed the two rednecks who wanted to nuke the trees!

Pandabonium said...

Thanks, Ladybug. I'll have to look into some of those which I haven't seen.

Of those I have seen, THX-1138 gets my vote. Very prophectic with regard to many aspects of modern life and where modern societies were (and still seem to be) headed. Still fresh after all these years.

The Moody Minstrel said...

OMG, how in the world did I forget Silent Running? That was a cool movie, but that ending... Those robot drones (later Huey and Dewey...but Louie got blown away) are a classic of the genre!

I'm not sure "redneck" is a good way to describe the three crewmates that Lo waxes (two by locking them in the dome they themselves had rigged to eject and detonate, one by cutting his throat with a shovel). I think "fratboy assholes" would be better. Whatever. Thanks, Ladybug!

ladybug said...

Yes, I think you're right Moody - I "Fratboy Assholes" fits better!

Maybe I was getting mixed up w/Easy Rider....

Viet said...

Ah come on, what about Death Race 2000. With David (Grasshopper) Carridine (sp?).

Anonymous said...

Eltigris: Dont forget death race 2000 had Sly Stallone in it too! *chuckles*

I think there was another that was very dark but serious - The original "Rollerball" with James Caan that had corporations running the world and having the masses entertained with a hi tech bread and circuses. Of course this movie was remade and thoroughly destroyed in the second version just recently that would have fit in with the heading of "total crap".

I have to say Silent Running is my favorite. Despite all the flaws it was technically the most realistic. You also see the model of the valley forge reused in the battle star galactica series.

Humm some other real bad ones... battle beyond the stars with John boy ...but that may be 80s...not to mention a whole slew of Japanese campy stuff...

George W said...

Rollerball, yeah, good. good.

What's not to like? Multiantional corporations rule the world, people have exchanged liberty for safety, and they get their kicks by watching a violent game. Sounds perfect to me. What's your problem?

Anonymous said...

Eltigris: MMmmm James Caan's character becomes a hero (sort of)..because hes just so good at what he does best... and you dont like heroes do you W? oops .. I mean you like dead heroes...yeah thats it. Safe and cheaply exploitable *grinz with lots of teeth*

The Moody Minstrel said...

Thanks, El Tigris! I'd completely forgotten about "Battle Beyond the Stars"! Vulgarius and I actually saw that in the theater when it first came out (early 80s). Now THAT movie was classic B-grade, junk food entertainment! I have to say I got a kick out of watching it. That ship whose forward profile looked suspiciously like a feminine outline...the space valkyrie...the space trucker...

You know, that movie was just a variation of "The Seven Samurai", hence "The Magnificent Seven", which was why the assassin character in BBtS was played by an actor who was also in tM7 (the coward). Too bad he was the first to die...

rob said...

What, no Barberella?

Another vote for Silent Running here. I share Ladybug's memories about it exactly!

rob said...

Oops, I guess that one was a 60's film. Maybe Boobarella was a '70's film though? (Never saw it)

Pandabonium said...

Yep, Rob, Barbarella was 1968.

Not an apocalyptic film either. Americans probably have trouble with it due to their religious hang-ups about sexuality, but the film is a lot of fun. One should watch it with some understanding of the 60's to put it in perspective.

Sadly, Jane Fonda became more "serious" after that film and took on roles with a social message, not to mention doing yoga for business. She still profited from her looks, but the "thrill" was gone.

Too bad. She might have integrated her sexuality with a message, but for whatever reason she tried to discard it. Sad.

Vulgarius said...

LOL Moody... More like.... Space Jugs to me!.... It's a good thing they did not shoot laser beams... Or missiles..."Missile Fire!"

A Gander:


http://tinyurl.com/9bomb


Green Slime is one of my favorites... I keep threatening my wife with exposing the kids to it.


Ikakju- Very impolite in Moodies home.

Anonymous said...

Eltigris: Battle Beyond the stars ...yeah you gottah love the phrase "where is the ambassador from the planet Umatilla?" here he is sir...*shows a cup of dust* "he said to go blow off so I had to distintegrate him" later the planet Umatilla gets zorched in a most un star wars like way ... I though it was funny about Umatilla ... since its a chemical weapons depot here.. Humm the bounty hunter was that Vaughn dude yes? *I always keep my sensors to the rear* apparently there was an uncut version of that movie *gasp*

and OOo Oooo ...I think we forgot another one ... "Damnation Alley" the movie with giant scorpions, unkillable cockroaches (one scene you can see the roaches were glued to a carpet and were pulled along with a string), and armored and armed winnebagos (Ark II reborn)... freakie skies and George Peppard... Jan Micheal Vincent ...remember dont go to Salt Lake City ....

Not to mention all the TV series... UFO ...space 1999... StarLost...

Anonymous said...

Eltigris: My all time favorite has to be "Silent Running" however.. becuase the ship "Valley Forge" was an itneresting design and was a movie star in itself ...it was pretty cool looking (the sequence of diving thru the rings of Saturn) although of course the movie suffered from the usual problem...artificial gravity plating was everywhere..except with Louie ... he had to push it and be a daredevil ... and leave an arm/leg behind. There was some controversy about the robots ... what they were actually capable of in reality with programming and they (the movie owners not the robots) even tried to sue george lucas over the original idea of droids.

Pandabonium said...

Anybody familiar with "A Boy & His Dog (1975)"?

From Amazon: Plot Synopsis: A post-apocalyptic tale based on a novella by Harlan Ellison. A boy communicates telepathically with his dog as they scavenge for food and sex, and they stumble into an underground society where the old society is preserved. The daughter of one of the leaders of the community seduces and lures him below, where the citizens have become unable to reproduce because of being underground so long. They use him for impregnation purposes, and then plan to be rid of him.