… The penis is evil. The penis shoots seeds, and makes new life, and poisons the earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the gun shoots death, and purifies the earth of the filth of brutals. Go forth and kill!
So sayeth the god, Zardoz, in the film of the same name. I had been wanting to see this film for some time to find out just what the heck it was about – I saw a clip of it once with a floating head soaring above a pastoral landscape to the sound of the second movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. Having seen it now, or the part I could sit through, I ask, “How could the man who made this great movie [Point Blank], make this lump of mush?”
It’s an amalgam of Brave New World, The Time Machine, and a host of other sci-fi movies and novels, wrapped up in an archly British satirical wrapper, but it fails miserably. It plays on feminism, reverses machismo (i.e., the John Wayne version of Gun=good, Penis=good), toys with ideas of mind control, the enervating consequences of leisure, etc. etc. If it were paced a lot faster, and if it didn’t take itself so seriously, it could have been rollickingly good.
The opening action piece is the best: a gigantic floating head lands in the middle of nowhere and is worshipped by brutal horsemen who seem to live for violence and murder. The head gives its speech about penis-evil and guns. Sean Connery is one of the brutal ones, an elite one allowed to breed, and he hitches a ride in the head to see who’s in control. It’s not unlike the Wizard of Oz, from which the god takes his name.
Why do the brutal exterminators run around in red loin cloths while the ones they kill all seemed to be dressed in worn out suits, as if they are refugees from office work? Funny, sometimes environmentalists talk like the Head – people as pollution.
Somewhere along the way, Sean Connery wears a wedding dress. I’ll have to go watch more of it to find out why.