Tuesday, March 29, 2016
TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE
The year is 1983. Four big name directors call upon nostalgia to collaborate and remake four episodes of the legendary television series The Twilight Zone, to very mixed results. Sit back, relax, and read on as you enter...
The Twilight Zone: The Movie...movie review.
Our journey begins with two strangers (we assume) riding down the road listening to the song that enters my mind every time I think of this movie...
...and eventually, in a wonderful bit of intertextuality, begin talking about old The Twilight Zone episodes. The characters, played by Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks, go back and forth before one asks the other if he wants to see something really scary.
He should have said no
From here we go into our first segment, the story of an angry racist (Vic Morrow) who finds out what it's like to live as the people he hates so much. This brings us to what, unfortunately, this movie will, above everything else, always be known for--the on set helicopter accident that killed Morrow and two children. As I am reviewing the movie itself and not the accident, I will skip this part of it. Rest assured, if you want to read more about the accident there is no shortage of information about it out there. Back to the segment--it was directed by John Landis and, truthfully, it really goes nowhere.
"Well that's not nice!"
The story is uninteresting and nothing of note happens at any point, with the possible exceptions of cameos by then-youngsters John Larroquette and Steven Williams. In any anthology, you want to try to lead with a story that packs a punch--Twilight Zone: The Movie starts out with one that may put you to sleep.
Segment 2, directed by Steven Spielberg, is the story of a mysterious old man (Scatman Crothers) visiting a retirement home and inspiring its denizens to feel young again. We know that with Spielberg we're not going to get anything TOO scary, and with this story, we get nothing even bordering on it. What we get instead kind of approaches science fiction and inspiration, but ultimately is a story that is more depressing than anything. I get the story, and enjoyed this segment, but it feels really out of place in this film.
Even if Scatman IS awesome
Segment 3 takes what one may expect from this movie and turns it up to eleven...and beyond. After hitting a boy with her car, Helen (Kathleen Quinlan) takes the boy home and discovers his home life is, well, different. Director Joe Dante delivers some visuals that one will likely never forget.
Or maybe recall from an acid trip
The special effects carry this segment far more than the story itself, but when what you're seeing is as over the top as what we get here, the story truly isn't that important. Not that it's a bad one--in fact, there is a bit of a twist included. There's another memorable cameo as well, this time from Cherie Currie.
Now we know where she ran away to
Our fourth and final segment proves that sometimes in life the best really is saved for last. Director George Miller's remake of the original The Twilight Zone episode Nightmare at 20,000 Feet is a masterpiece in film history. John Lithgow's portrayal of panicked flight passenger John Valentine is one of the most memorable performances ever presented, as he tries to get the other people on board to understand what is happening on the wing of the plane. This segment has been so burned into my brain that I think of it every single time I fly.
I still haven't seen him...yet
The conclusion of the fourth and final segment also includes a wraparound from the opening that gives this film a nice finishing touch.
As anthologies go, there are many out there that are better than Twilight Zone: The Movie, but you could also do a lot worse. The opening segment is a drag to sit through, the second one will take you out of the mood entirely, but the third segment brings us back on track in an odd, outlandish manner, setting up one of the best (if not THE best) segments in any anthology film, making this movie worth watching.
On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7
Twilight Zone: The Movie Movie Trailer