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Old June 24 2013, 09:21 PM   #1
QuarkforNagus
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THX 1138

I feel like I missed something...

I mean, Robert Duvall is amazing in this movie, but he's amazing in every movie.

Maybe this is one of those movies that was more interesting in the 70s?

I feel like the only reason people consider this a classic sci-fi film is because it's Lucas' only sci-fi film.

What did you think when you saw it?
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Old June 24 2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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Re: THX 1138

I think when it first came out it may have had the whitest color scheme in film history. The last ten minutes bring out the darker colors.

It's not necessarily an acting showcase, even for Duvall and Donald Pleasence, but the films we generally have now make it look more distinctive today. '70s films for the most part seem to hold up better, even the marginal ones.

Assuming you watched the special edition DVD, that's the slightly-expanded R-rated director's cut. THX is George Lucas' sole R-rated production, retroactively.

Use the English subtitle option during one of the tinkered scenes near the end, and you'll hear the muffled voice of a cop commenting on a wookiee hit on the expressway.
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Old June 24 2013, 10:29 PM   #3
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Re: THX 1138

foxhot wrote: View Post
Use the English subtitle option during one of the tinkered scenes near the end, and you'll hear the muffled voice of a cop commenting on a wookiee hit on the expressway.
That voice belonged to LA disk jockey Terry McGovern, whom '90s animation fans may know as the voice of Launchpad McQuack in Disney's DuckTales and Darkwing Duck. He was ad-libbing background chatter for the cops and the word "wookiee" just came out as a bit of random nonsense, but Lucas was amused by it and later used it in Star Wars. So it's not just part of a "tinkered" scene; it was there in the original.

IIRC, Star Wars (all right, A New Hope) also uses "THX-1138" as the code number of a Stormtrooper.
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Old June 24 2013, 10:31 PM   #4
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Re: THX 1138

It's one of my favorite movies of all time. It's absolutely awesome. I bought it as a blind-buy on BR but I'm glad I did!

I also love the original short film, Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB. Lucas made that when he was at USC!



(Fun fact: In the feature film version, 'SRT' is Sheriff Little from The Dukes of Hazzard. )
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Old June 24 2013, 11:47 PM   #5
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Re: THX 1138

QuarkforNagus wrote: View Post
I feel like I missed something...

I mean, Robert Duvall is amazing in this movie, but he's amazing in every movie.

Maybe this is one of those movies that was more interesting in the 70s?

I feel like the only reason people consider this a classic sci-fi film is because it's Lucas' only sci-fi film.

What did you think when you saw it?

70's science fiction movies (pre-Star Wars at least) are kind of a unique breed. They're slower, more idea driven, and often have a nihilistic streak to them. Zardoz, Soylent Green, Rollerball, A Boy and His Dog, Silent Running, Colossus, etc. THX-1138 fits right in. I could see where it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea.

Of course, I'm one of those guys who doesn't care for some of the remastering of THX-1138 (esp. at the end) so I'm rather an old school viewer...
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Old June 25 2013, 01:04 AM   #6
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Re: THX 1138

Mr. Adventure wrote: View Post
70's science fiction movies (pre-Star Wars at least) are kind of a unique breed. They're slower, more idea driven, and often have a nihilistic streak to them. Zardoz, Soylent Green, Rollerball, A Boy and His Dog, Silent Running, Colossus, etc. THX-1138 fits right in. I could see where it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea.
Let's see, other examples would include The Andromeda Strain, The Illustrated Man (which wasn't very good), and the Planet of the Apes films.

Frankly I've always kind of resented Star Wars for ushering in the era where all SF movies had to be big, FX-laden action blockbusters rather than more thoughtful, idea-driven dramas. I mean, I know that's not what Lucas intended; he was just trying to make a fun little Flash Gordon pastiche and never expected the impact it would have. But I feel cinematic SF got dumbed down as a whole as a result of its existence. We've still had occasional films in the more thoughtful category, like Blade Runner, 2010, Contact, and Gattaca, and more recent stuff like Moon. But too many films are pressured to go the action-blockbuster route when they don't really need to, and I feel that Star Trek in particular has suffered in cinemas as a result of that pressure to be like Star Wars, ever since TWOK. I think one reason I like ST:TMP is that it's more in the pre-SW vein of slower-paced, idea-driven SF films.
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Old June 25 2013, 03:41 PM   #7
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Re: THX 1138

I loved Rollerball, Planet of the Apes, and Soylent Green! It's not really the size of the production that bugged me about THX.

I just don't understand what Lucas was trying to say with this movie. I just kept watching it, thinking that I'd already read Huxley and Orwell, and hoping for something original.

Maybe this guy's films are just not for me.
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Old June 25 2013, 04:26 PM   #8
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Re: THX 1138

^Well, it's George Lucas. He's more interested in cinematic style than emotional or conceptual substance. He doesn't make movies to try to say things, he makes movies to try to create interesting visuals and tones or to recreate the feel of the films he enjoyed as a kid.
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Old June 25 2013, 04:58 PM   #9
Mr. Adventure
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Re: THX 1138

QuarkforNagus wrote: View Post
I just don't understand what Lucas was trying to say with this movie. I just kept watching it, thinking that I'd already read Huxley and Orwell, and hoping for something original.
I don't know that it outdoes those but THX was one of the first to do that onscreen at least in combination with modern urban ennui. Logan's Run mined a similar vein right down to escaping to the outside at the end. However, I think a movie is more than just story and it is really striking visually and taken as a whole is worthwhile. I think it took later movies like Minority Report or Code 46 to offer something comparable.
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Old June 25 2013, 06:10 PM   #10
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Re: THX 1138

Christopher wrote: View Post
IIRC, Star Wars (all right, A New Hope) also uses "THX-1138" as the code number of a Stormtrooper.
That's in the novel (and possibly earlier drafts of the script, but prior to the revised fourth draft). In the final film, that number became TK-421.

The actual reference in the film is, "Prisoner transfer from cell block 1138." (That's the final on-screen dialog; Luke's pronunciation is "one-one-three-eight".)
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Old June 25 2013, 07:34 PM   #11
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Re: THX 1138

Mr. Adventure wrote: View Post
Of course, I'm one of those guys who doesn't care for some of the remastering of THX-1138 (esp. at the end) so I'm rather an old school viewer...
I preferred the original too, more so that I have it taped from way back when the Sci-fi channel was the Sci-fi channel and still showed sci-fi The workman like sets and props do lend themselves more to the feel of the movie than the slightly glossy CGI additions from later.

I like the idea that we got into space, or just the future, and just got a bit bored and gave up. Not that I'd like to live in that future mind you, just that I like to gaze upon the spectacle for a bit.
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Old June 25 2013, 08:31 PM   #12
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Re: THX 1138

I wish people would stop using "remastering" to mean "adding new effects/images." That's the exact opposite of what the word actually means. Remastering means going back to the original master print and taking a new print from it, so that you get a higher-quality, more faithful print than if you made a copy of another copy. Often it means going back to the original, separate color negatives and film elements and recompositing them with modern digital techniques for maximum clarity. People misuse the word because of all the publicity that the new CGI effects in Star Trek Remastered got, but the fact is that the new effects were the only parts that were not remastered, just replaced (since the original film elements were no longer available to be recomposited).
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Old June 25 2013, 08:32 PM   #13
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Re: THX 1138

Don't recall asking for a lecture.
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Old June 26 2013, 02:46 AM   #14
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Re: THX 1138

Christopher wrote: View Post
foxhot wrote: View Post
Use the English subtitle option during one of the tinkered scenes near the end, and you'll hear the muffled voice of a cop commenting on a wookiee hit on the expressway.
That voice belonged to LA disk jockey Terry McGovern, whom '90s animation fans may know as the voice of Launchpad McQuack in Disney's DuckTales and Darkwing Duck. He was ad-libbing background chatter for the cops and the word "wookiee" just came out as a bit of random nonsense, but Lucas was amused by it and later used it in Star Wars. So it's not just part of a "tinkered" scene; it was there in the original.
Lucas has said the "wookiee" line in THX was deliberate and it was inspired by (IIRC) a former neighbor of his named Richard Wookie. I think this may have been mentioned on the DVD commentary.
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Old June 26 2013, 03:10 AM   #15
Christopher
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Re: THX 1138

^That contradicts what Lucas told Rolling Stone in 1977:

http://binarybonsai.com/blog/george-...a-but-its-okay
Terry was the teacher in American Graffiti — they’ve been in all my movies — we were riding along in the car one day and he said: “I think I ran over a Wookie back there,” and this really cracked me up and I said, “What is a Wookie?” and he said, “I don’t know, I just made it up.” And I said, “That is great, I love that word.” I just wrote it down and said I’m going to use that.
But McGovern relates a different origin on his site:

http://www.terrymcgovern.com/starwars.html
My recollection is that I had been late because it was a Saturday session, and I was serving my monthly weekend in the Army Reserves in the Presidio. I had cut out of the meeting and driven to the recording session with my best friend, Bill Wookey.
So it was a friend of McGovern, not a neighbor of Lucas. It sounds like McGovern said he'd driven to the session with Wookey, and Lucas somehow heard it as "ran over a Wookiee," and he worked that into the walla for THX-1138, then remembered the name when he did SW.

Turns out McGovern was also the guy who said "These are not the droids we're looking for," among other voiceover lines in ANH.
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