A floating head comes into view. He tells us a story of a place and he is this places god. 2293 and the world is not as we remembered it. Society has crumbled and fallen apart. Now left are the hunters, they keep order by killing others to establish population controls. Thos that are killed are called the hunted and are blamed for over breeding until they became overwhelming hoards. No one thinks, acts or lives without the instruction of the great Zardoz. Zardoz is a god and a floating head that travels around and gives sermons to these hunters. When one of the hunters, Zed decides to stowaway on the head and find out what is really going on, he is shocked to find a man behind the voice. He kills this man that poised as god and the head floats back to his home. How will he escape the home of the gods?
This film has been reviewed in a series of starkly different ways. Some have screamed about how it is a bonkers film and often they will do this as they are reviewers that care little for form and want to discuss the latest outrage. Others have noted the films complete assault on the idea of story and film form. The creation theory so to speak has been put on the table and examined like never before. Then the third group haveit that the film is a post modern fable about the end of civilization and the beginning of a new form of cinema, which its director John Boorman was a component of.
I have to go back a step now and say that what I saw was the film maker as autuer and as complementing to another. I noted that the film is not unlike a film called Holy Mountain. Made by the half mad and brilliant Jodorowsky, who took the challenge to form so seriously that in Holy Mountain he deconstructed the film into its ending. That ending has it that the viewer is the object of interest as they are now told that they are watching a film. Zardoz is doing much the same by saying you are now watching a story that has been made into a film. It does this by having wonderful set production and mise en scene that crafts a world. This all married up the ideas and did it without pulling you out of the spaces represented. I also loved the over done costumes and the great nod to classic dystopian fables and dream novels.
Boorman was on fire before this film, he made a great film called Deliverance and if you havent watched it…DO SO!!! The period this is made in was amazing for studios bankrolling insane and personal ideas like this that are so valuable to film lovers and makers today. So how does this all stand up in the modern age? Well quite well actually. The best way to explain is via the extras (also detailed below). Ben Wheately is the place to start, he has redefined British film and he gives the film a love and tender heart that its deserves to be taken seriously. The commentary explains much of Boormans thinking and also explains why the film is still valid today. Boorman is a fantastic film maker and interesting man. The transfer has allowed all these ideas to be translated over to the viewer and the 4k has heighted the visual spectrum. The interviews add to this insight and relevance. The costume, camera and set key players all have views on the power of the film and its multi layed depth.
- New 4K digital restoration by Twentieth Century Fox, supervised and approved by John Boorman
- High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary with writer-producer-director John Boorman
- Brand new interviews with Boorman, actor Sara Kestelman, production designer Anthony Pratt, special effects creator Gerry Johnston, camera operator Peter MacDonald, assistant director Simon Relph, hair stylist Colin Jamison, production manager Seamus Byrne, and assistant editor Alan Jones
- Newly filmed appreciation with director Ben Wheately (Kill List, Sightseers, A Field in England)
- Theatrical trailer
- Radio spots