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Capone loves up on the Director's Cut of THX-1138!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with my buddy Capone's look at THX-1138: The Director's Cut extravaganza!!! I missed the Austin screening earlier this week, but I missed it for good reason, I assure you... Let's just say I was in the Bay Area digging around certain effects houses... but more on that later. Capone's got a woody for this thing and I'm really looking forward to seeing it myself. Before he digs into the review, he states his opinion on Lucas' STAR WARS Special Editions and while I totally agree with his point about it being Lucas' right to do it... All I'm going to say on the matter is there would be no one yelling and screaming about anything he does in the Special Editions if he merely released the original trilogy as we know and love it on a stable format, like DVD. That cuts out any argument we have about his changes... That's how I see, anyway. But enough of this trash, you want to read about Capone's reaction to THX! Go get 'im!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here. I’m a big fan of director’s cuts, deleted scenes, alternate ending and beginnings, and, to a certain degree, so-called “special editions.” I wasn’t completely against the enhancements made to the Star Wars trilogy (although when George Lucus decided to change a major plot point in STAR WARS by having Greedo shoot first, obviously I was outraged; if you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry, go back to sleep). If the popularity of DVD has taught us nothing, it’s proven that a theatrical cut of the film is only the beginning for many restless directors. I don’t hear anyone crying about Peter Jackson adding hours of extra footage to the LORD OF THE RINGS films. Just because we hold the original STAR WARS trilogy in such high regard, doesn’t mean that Lucas was happy with every aspect of it. They’re his damn movies; let him futz with them. Do we have to like the changes? Hell no. But I’m not mad at him for feeling it’s his right to make the changes. Let the evil talkback demons have at me on this one. Having said that, I’ve just seen a lovely digitally projected screening of Lucus’ first major work as a writer and director, THX 1138. It’s coming to theatres next week, to DVD the week after, and it’s being billed as the “director’s cut.” You know what? Lucas has made a significantly better film with this special effects-enhanced version and taken nothing away from the elements of THX 1138 that I found so compelling and endearing.

I don’t possess as intimate a knowledge of the original version of this film as I do the STAR WARS films, it’s true, but it’s fairly easy to spot or guess where the changes have been made. In most cases, they are subtle alterations to architecture, the sizes of crowds grow, better-looking holograms, and crisper sound effects. In some cases, the changes are more substantial. The industrial accident in the beginning of the film is more disastrous. City scapes and elaborate transportation methods have been created. The factory where the characters work building robots is examined in more detail. The final chase sequence is much more exciting, more resembling (and sounding like) the racing scenes from THE PHANTOM MENACE than a low-rent car pursuit. But Lucas has wisely left the fundamental’s of THX alone. He hasn’t redesigned the clearly archaic control panels or made the robotic police officers look like the Terminator. They still look like dudes in black costumes with plastic masks on. I did notice at least one quick shot of a police dressing room that featured some CGI officers, which I believe was added to show us that their entire bodies are made of the same shiny, silver material as their faces.

Impossible to make better are the performances by Robert Duvall as THX 1138, Donald Pleasence as the slightly insane SEN 5241, and Maggie McOmie (in her only screen role, I believe) as THX’s mate LUH 3417. For those who don’t know the film’s story, the world has been reduced to a place of efficient manufacturing and consumption. If you aren’t producing a product, you should be buying one. Everyone is forced to dress the same, shave their head, and rather than have names, they are simply given an identification number. Emotion has effectively been eliminated from society with drugs and brainwashing, and every move you make is monitored. But LUH goes off her meds and begins to feel emotions toward THX. In a very Adam and Eve turn, THX is tempted by LUH’s need for physical contact and all hell breaks loose. Characters appear and disappear in THX’s world with a seeming randomness that throws off his simple life. Once captured for his consentual sex crimes, he is tortured to no end by the robot police and his captors. As strange as it may sound, I’d forgotten how much humor this film has at times. Listen carefully to the radio chatter that runs always constantly through the film. You may not understand what they’re talking about, but you’ll appreciate the tone.

I’ve always considered THX 1138 one of Lucus’ master strokes of simplicity, and he really hasn’t ruined the charm of the original work with his enhancements. Remember back when these types of CGI effects were in their earliest stages? Lucas spoke of altering landscapes and buildings, of adding cars or people to a street where once there were none. Small things that wouldn’t necessarily register consciously with the viewer. He never really spoke of replacing actors with other actors. THX fulfills Lucus’ original vision of both this film and of a new generation of special effects. I truly believe that if he’d had this technology when he was making THX in the early 1970s, the movie would have ended up looking pretty much like this. Maybe I’m being naive, but nothing about this director’s cut feels forced or like a violation of a much loved work. This is a great film made better.


email:Email Capone here with your anti-Special Edition rants! He loves to be called a variety of vulgar names! Give him a go!!!

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 3, 2004, 4:05 a.m. CST

    it pays to drink all night

    by ChickenGeorgeVII

    ummm...smells like a firsty to me....And thus, First! - - - George, The 7th Chicken!!!!

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 4:08 a.m. CST

    by cosmic_uk


  • Sept. 3, 2004, 4:45 a.m. CST

    Yes, cosmic_uk...

    by DocPazuzu really are "special"...

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 4:50 a.m. CST

    Lucas blows kittens for kicks

    by ChickenGeorgeVII

    I fugure by now someone should stick to the subject...And thus, fifth! - - - George, The 7th Chicken!!!!

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 4:58 a.m. CST

    WHooo haaaaaaaaaa!

    by Lukecash

    Hmmm... you know what? A LOT of famouls people altered their original works in a another version. Tolkien changed the Hobbit to match Lord of the Rings. Charles Dickenson changed gave Great Expectations a happier ending from the original Serialized version. Lucas has EVERY right to change HIS films the way he see fit. The man is a visionary... Film have become his paintbox, his pad of paper to revise and change as he se fits. God bless the man

  • King of like we how we should buy

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 5:29 a.m. CST

    Director's Cut

    by CurryIce

    Can't wait to see this new cut of one of the best movies by Lucas. And i'm happy that nothing has been cut out. I'm not against Director's Cut i even love it when you have additional scenes (if they are really useful) but the problem begins with spending money for DVDs. I'm a collector and it's frustrating when there are two versions of Blade Runner. I know that everybody praises the Director's Cut of BladeRunner of one of the first AND best (and necessary) improvement but i also liked the old version with the happy end. It's just because it was made in that way so i need both versions in my DVD shelf(I'm addicted, i know :-) The other thing is LOTR: It's really painful to wait so long until every Director's Cut of the trilogy is being released, 'cause i'm still waiting for the complete box with the Extended Editions. another example: I have the Legacy box of the Alien movies and i was shocked when i heard of the Quadrilogy Box last year and i won't spend money to buy this. It's always a problem for a collector... SW: I think everybody has seen the short clip of ReturnOfTheJedi where you see Hayden Christensen as a ghost in the end next to Obi and Yoda. I really don't know how to feel about it but it just looks wrong (even if it's logical that you see the young Anakin and not the older one.) I hope that clip was a fake.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 6:43 a.m. CST

    So I'm guessing Lucas was "influenced" by 1984 and Brave New Wor

    by Monkey Butler

    Can the man write a single word that isn't either shit or unoriginal? And don't get started on that "everything's influenced by everything" bullshit

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 7:08 a.m. CST

    Sounds cool!!!

    by Lord_Soth

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Yeah, he's a writer. Emily Dickens is a poet.

    by Some Dude

    I was wondering if anyone else was going to catch that. Not bad, it only took a few posts.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 8:52 a.m. CST

    Sounds a lot like "Equilibrium"

    by c4andmore

    and I think Caviezel or Brendan Frasier should be Superman, screw you haters.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 8:52 a.m. CST

    "All I'm going to say on the matter is there would be no one yel

    by rev_skarekroe

    Preach on Brother Quint! However, I really think Lucas has convinced himself that the Original Trilogy no longer exists, and he's doing his damndest to convince the rest of the world, too. See, the difference between this and, say, Tolkien changing "The Hobbit" is that you can still get the original "Hobbit" material (in a book called "The Annotated Hobbit"). Lucas has taken the Original Trilogy off the market, with (apparently) no intention of allowing its re-release. Keep circulating those boots, boys! sk

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Hobbit revisions

    by m2298

    The original "Riddles in the Dark" chapter was revised in 1951, I believe. THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT was first published around 1988. Between these years, the only place to find this chapter (and other revisions made in the 1960s) were in (a few) libraries and used book stores. Neither Tolkien nor his publishers made any effort to keep the 'original' versions available. So who knows, we may get the originals commercially availble 20-30 years hence -- and Lucas won't won't be any worse than Tolkien in this regard.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 9:04 a.m. CST

    There's an old saying: "All artists borrow; great ones commit ou

    by ExcaliburFfolkes

    THX 1138 seems mostly influenced by the Russian sci-fi novel "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin, which was published around 1920. "We" used the same alphanumeric naming system, presented a society of people yoked by relentlessly efficient all-encompassing reason, and a main character who's world is forever disrupted when he begins to fall in love with a woman.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 9:48 a.m. CST

    Releasing both versions is the common sense thing to do....

    by the flashlight

    But when has anyone ever accused Lucas of common sense? I don't hate the Special Editions as a whole - to the contrary, I think a lot of the CGI helped to flesh out the world and the story Lucas was trying to portray. Yes, there were horrible mistakes (Greedo, pussy-Luke screaming while falling, alien band in Jabba's palace, and now apparently Hayden in ROTJ if that clip is genuine, and it's truly god-awful). But for the most part the changes were innocuous. I've stated before that I don't care what Lucas does to the films as long as the Original's are made available. He knows the fans want it, he knows there's money to be made by releasing them, if he's the cash whore everyone says he is, why doesn't he do it?

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Elaboration on this Christansen/ROTJ thing is sorely needed

    by RealDoubleJ

    I haven't seen this clip. So those who have, could you please tell me if Hayden looks just like he is? Cause if so, has Lucas forgotten that people usually AGE during time. Unless when you die in the SW universe you can come back as whatever age you wish, if so we might as well replace the ole Alec Guinness with some inspired Butlerised acting by Ewan McGregor while we're at it (face it, Ewan is 'the Butler' in Episode 1). As for THX, because we must prove the talkback can hold a conversation about Lucas without degenerating into SW bashing, comparing Capone's review with the Scooter review it's all going to come down to how distracting CGI is for some, yet doubles the excitement for others.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 11:50 a.m. CST


    by phil dearly

    Saw this director's cut the other night in Philly. Stunning. Everyone should see this film. Watch the trailer and see what I mean. The trailer has two wonderful taglines: 1) "The future is now." 2) "Coming soon to your life." It is no coincidence that this movie is opening at this time in our history. Things are becoming very, very much like this film. In fact, just about every movie out or coming out this year is about your government lying or controlling humans, Such as: CODE 46, SHE HATE ME, MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, THE VILLAGE, FAHRENHEIT 9/11, DAY AFTER TOMORROW, I ROBOT, THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT, THE BOURNE SUPREMECY, CONTROL ROOM, SUPERSIZE ME,HERO, THE YES MEN, THE CORPORATION, HOWARD ZINN: YOU CAN'T BE NEUTRAL ON A MOVING TRAIN, NATIONAL TREASURE, SILVER CITY, THE FORGOTTEN, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE, ALEXANDER, CONSTANTINE, not to mention straight-to-video documentaries like OUTFOXED: RUPERT MURDOCH'S WAR ON JOURANLISM, UNCOVERED: THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT THE WAR ON IRAQ, UNPRECENDENTED: THE 2000 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, even films like HELLBOY, THE EXORCIST, ALIENS VS. PREDATOR and RESIDENT EVIL 2 deal with themes of secret governments, alien conspiracies and corporatism respectively. If you can't see what's going on, your head is just too far up your ass and I pity you. FUCK THE GLOBALIST AGENDA! visit and re-watch THE MATRIX TRILOGY!!! Booyakasha! Respect.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 11:54 a.m. CST

    "All I'm going to say on the matter is there would be no one yel

    by Spike Fett

    ...the changes he made actually improved the films.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 11:56 a.m. CST

    George Lucas v. Richard Kelly:

    by Christopher3

    Late Summer 2004 Cautionary-Sci-Fi-Featuring-Alienated-Outsider- Protagonist-Director's-Cut Deathmatch.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Major Plot Point

    by gredenko

    So Han shooting Greedo is a major plot point? Yeah, because any time anyone ever summarizes the plot of Star Wars they basically say: The droids wind up on tatooine where they meet up with a young boy named Luke. Then a smuggler shoots an alien, then... WTF??

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Get over it, idiots

    by slone13

    These are Lucas' movies. Not yours. Not mine. Just get over the fact that you can't have the "original" movies back. They're gone. Lucas doesn't want you to see them. Life goes on. Like I said, they're HIS movies to do with what he pleases. Same with Spielberg and the E.T. walkie talkie/shotgun debate. It doesn't matter what you all want, don't you understand? YOU HAVE NO SAY IN THE MATTER. When YOU all go out and make a movie, you can choose or choose NOT to change it after you're done. That's life.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 3:06 p.m. CST

    There's always a moron like....

    by the flashlight

    ...sloan13 (which likely refers to his age) who thinks that by pointing out that the movies belong to Luca$ and that Luca$ can do whatever he wants with them, he's making some kind of salient debating point that negates the need to respond to every other argument that's ever been raised as to why Luca$ refuses to abandon his idiocy and embrace the business sense of releasing both versions. Yeah sloan, we all get that they're Luca$'s films, but guess what? My cash belongs to me, and I get to decide what I spend it on. And I'm not gonna throw it down on these bastardized hatchet jobs.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 3:08 p.m. CST

    And because I'm sure you'll pounce on it because you'll have not

    by the flashlight

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 4:14 p.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    ...I hate to break it to you, but there was actually a third commercially released version of Blade Runner as well - the unrated version - on VHS and a Criterion laserdisc. I'm also a collecting completist and had high hopes for the forthcoming special edition DVD, which was initially said to contain several versions of the film. Unfortunately, the latest news seems to be that the SE will only contain the director's cut with some extra features. Big disappointment.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 4:51 p.m. CST


    by TheDarkShape

    There are also idiots like The Flashlight who think replacing the s in Lucas's name with a $ sign is clever.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Tiring to repeat, but the other difference between the Trilogy a

    by The Killer-Goat

    is that Peter Jackson didn't alter the content that was released to the big screen, he simply crammed more into the special ed. dvd for those who cared to spend the $$$. "Your choice", as the saying goes. As for the "Special Editions", I think all the cgi crap added to the Tatooine scene in ANH was just that, really. The stuff for the Death Star battle was phenomenal and captured the space combat in a way they couldn't before. But pointless changes are a waste of technology. Sure, re-attach the scene with Jabba and Solo if it helps the character profile, but what was the POINT of having Greedo shoot first??? Nothing. And Luke screaming down the Bespin shaft? Pointless. Did not add a thing. Changes for changes sake, not for the story. All 3 SpEd movies have some small 'spots' that stand out like that, with absolutely nothing to do with Lucas' claims of 'unfinished' films or the technology not being 'advanced' enough. If the current changes to the new versions IMPROVE the films, great. Otherwise, spend the cash on something else, like making Bossk's face actually move or the Tauntauns look more than giant puppets.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 5:07 p.m. CST


    by tango fett

    You stole my smartass remark before i could get to it. Oh well. Anyway, I've never seen the movie but it sounds trippy. Can't wait for it.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 5:36 p.m. CST

    HAN 5070 shoots first!

    by darth_testine

    I got nuthin.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 5:42 p.m. CST

    Isn't Capone the one who went ape sh** over Peter Pan's message

    by Fred Asparagus

    Yeah. I think I can skip this review out of hand. Anyway we've already seen a much more thorough review, complete with A/B comparisons.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 5:44 p.m. CST

    When TheDarkShape and "tango fett" are able to sustain a handle

    by the flashlight

    There are about, oh, 25 billion things more worthy of my hard-earned cash, starting with the ROTK Extended Edition, and even the Matrix Ultimate box set.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 7:03 p.m. CST

    i appericate people who call lucas luca$ cause then I can just s

    by Winterchili

    Thats the fucking stupidest thing ive ever heard. Why isn't it Peter Jack$on? He's just as big of a whore with all the merchadise and tie ins.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 7:05 p.m. CST


    by Tall_Boy

    Whats up, Tyler Durder? Dude, you're fucked. Its movies. Let it go. "Resist the new world order" Christ. I haven't read your post but I get the feeling you liberally used the word "Luca$" in it alot. Dumbass.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 7:58 p.m. CST

    sounds neat!!!!!

    by jayce76

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 8:55 p.m. CST


    by SeanHarris

    You beat me to it--hilarious post! Plot point indeed.

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 9:17 p.m. CST

    ...for once i have to agree!

    by Fugazi32

    lol, i guess they are lucas' movies...

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 9:18 p.m. CST

    Raped. My. Childhood.

    by princemuchao

    I think Lucas probably would have released the originals, but he enjoys watching Talkbackers bitch too much. If it were up to me, Han would have not only shot first, but also kicked the carcass in the head a few times but what can you do, eh?

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 9:58 p.m. CST

    If Hayden's ghost does show up...

    by Lobanhaki

    I think it relates to what happens in Episode three. In ROTJ, Obi-Wan speaks of "The Good man who was your father being destroyed". In a real sense, as the rumors would have it, Anakin's fall into the lava and his transformation into Vader constitutes a death of kinds, out of which the new creature, Darth Vader, emerges. So it makes a certain kind of sense to have Hayden be the ghost, because in a sense, that was the age he was at when he "died."

  • Sept. 3, 2004, 10:52 p.m. CST

    Hayden in RotJ

    by DrLektor

    Ah yeah, I emailed Ain't it cool a week or so back with that snippet of news but either they're waiting to confirm the details or have downright ignored me. So here's the buzz. Someone, somehow, somewhere got hold of footage of the DVD ending from Return of the Jedi. I saw it and... well, to me it 'seemed' a little longer than normal, maybe a minute or so. Gungans had been inserted in certain places and right at the end where Luke glimpses the ghostly figures of Obi Wan, Yoda and Anakin, the actor who played old Anakin back in the original was replaced by Hayden. He looked like his episode III styling, longish hair etc. But here's the thing. It's not very likely to be real, for one, the sequence has been 'flipped' so now Anakin and Obi Wan are on the opposite side, and Anakin's ghost looks freaky, it takes a while to materialise? And only his head moves, while the rest of his body seems to stay still. Even though I jumped up and down / swore loudly that Lucas was even more of an SOB and emailed Harry, I call fake.

  • Sept. 4, 2004, 4:13 a.m. CST

    To : DocPazuzu

    by CurryIce

    an unrated version of BladeRunner? what is the difference to the original or Director's Cut? Man what a shitty situation. thx for helping me out of my i'm more desperate ;-) The best thing i have is the Collector's Edition of E.T. This edition has the original 80s version AND the new restored version in one box. I hope that Miramax/Tarantino are going to release a complete box for both KillBill flicks.

  • Sept. 4, 2004, 6:34 a.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    There's at least one for sale on eBay right now. The unrated version has a few more scenes of graphic violence (blood coming out of Tyrell's eyes, etc). Sometimes you can even find the workprint version for sale on eBay. According to some experts, there may be as many as seven (!) different versions of Blade Runner floating around out there, but only three being official releases. Just go to eBay and do a search for "Blede Runner." Good luck!

  • Sept. 6, 2004, 7:24 p.m. CST

    I can't wait to see what Woody Allen does with SLEEPER, if he fo

    by truthseekr1488