THX 1138
The George Lucas Director's Cut - 2 discs edition (Region 1 edition)

Starring: Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence
Warner Brothers
RRP: $26.99
Certificate: R
Available 14 September 2004

THX 1138 is a man whose mind and body are controlled by the government. Freedom is impossible and love is the ultimate crime. What hope is there of escape?...

In the future, people are dependent on mind-numbing drugs, and exist merely as workers and consumers. Hold on! That's now, isn't it? This is the most startling aspect of THX 1138: its central themes seem more pertinent now than they were in 1971, the year of the film's release.

THX 1138 was George Lucas' first feature, and was made many years before Star Wars: A New Hope, In today's post-blockbuster era, the climax to THX 1138 will leave most viewers feeling short-changed, but considering the substance that comes before the film's end, such a shortcoming (if that's what it is) can easily be forgiven.

Those who take pleasure in deconstructing a film's text will have a field day here, as Lucas had a lot to say on the state of modern society. Among the many memorable statements are the eerie robotic Police Officers, and the electronic religious figure OMM spewing forth recorded platitudes.

Robert Duvall (THX 1138), Donald Pleasence (SEN 5241) and Maggie McOmie (LUH 3417) all add their own particular signature to the unfolding drama. Of note is Pleasance's colourful performance, which makes for an excellent counterpoint to Duvall's brooding display of a man struggling with the new experience of love.

After fiddling with the original Star Wars Trilogy, Lucas has turned his attention to THX 1138 for this DVD release. Many argue that the Star Wars films have been diminished in their Special Edition format, but THX 1138 benefits enormously from its makeover. The CGI additions have enhanced the film's visual depth tenfold, while restoration, digital remastering and a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack have left it looking and sounding very fresh indeed. Add to that a director's cut and you have a definitive version of the film that will be palatable to a modern audience.

Extras? Disc one contains a commentary by Lucas and Co-Writer/Sound Designer Walter Murch. There is also a focus on the sound of THX 1138. Disc two sports documentaries and Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB, Lucas' original student film. Fans of heads being shaved will appreciate Bald. The extras finish with a collection of trailers.

Jeff Watson

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