Zardoz (1974) (part 10 of 15)
We next find Topless Chick, naturally topless again, standing with Z-Dawg among some plants inside a plastic baggie. She rubs leaves on his eyes and says this will help him see “more and deeper than you ever saw before!” When you’re watching a movie like this one, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Z-Dawg tells her, completely from out of nowhere, “I’ve seen men rape an old crippled woman in a wet ditch.” This, by the way, is not an effective pickup line. He looks at her, and she backs off, because she’s now realized that he’s “the One. The Liberator!” Yeah, anyone who didn’t think there was gonna be some kind of Christ motif in this movie, raise your hands. Okay, everyone who raised their hands, go home. Have any of you ever seen a pretentious movie before?
Z briefly flashes back to Abe Simpson screaming, “Death!” Topless Chick says she’ll help Z-Dawg, but only if he promises to let her in on some of that “death” action, too. Then, stupidly, we get a flash forward [??] to him shooting her.
Avalow says that his strength might fail him, so she picks a leaf off a cannabis plant and tells him to “eat this when the need arises.” I think the need has already arisen, if you know what I mean.
He takes the leaf and yells, “This place is built on lies and suffering!” Well, there’s gratitude for you. He asks how the Eternals could “do what you did to us!” She replies by saying, “The world was dying.” She says they took everything that was good in the world and made “an oasis”. They lived behind their “wonder wall” and had a “champagne supernova”.
Flash to random images of life inside the Vortex. Topless Chick’s VO says, “We, the rich, the powerful, the clever, cut ourselves off to guard the knowledge and treasures of civilization!” We then flash to a whole bunch of Brutals standing right outside the Vortex with big sticks, apparently unable to enter. Maybe it’s just me, but it looks a lot like the red carpet at the Oscars.
The Ugly People silently beg as Topless Chick says the world was entering a “Dark Age”. So the Eternals had to “harden our hearts”. They had to swallow their te-ears. There’s a pan across dirty faces, then we see the Eternals eating at the dinner table. She says her people are the “custodians of the past, for an unknown future!”
She says that Z-Dawg is “the price we now pay for that isolation!” Huh? We get more shots of ruffians with sticks as Topless Chick tells Z that he brought “hate and anger” into the Vortex to destroy them. No, I think this movie brought it upon itself.
Then, we “artfully” cut from Brutals pounding on the periphery shield in flashback, to Eternals pounding on the plastic baggie in the present.
Evidently, they’re trying to get at Z-Dawg, and suddenly, Avalow is now outside the baggie [?]. Hey, how’d she do that? The Eternals continue to pound on the plastic until Z collapses. A very emphatic Connie pounds on the plastic and yells, “Get him! Get him!”
Finally, they’ve beaten all the air out of the baggie, until it’s just Z-Dawg all wrapped in Saran wrap. He starts to tear through the plastic with his fist, and an obviously post-production male voice yells, “It’s indestructible!” and a female voice adds, “It can’t be done!” Obviously, this was added because audiences weren’t quite “getting” why it was so outrageous for Zed to rip through thin plastic. So these lines are to let us know that it’s indestructible, and it can’t be done.
Um, yeah, sorry, but just because your scrawny arms can’t bust through it, that doesn’t make it “indestructible”. Most of these guys couldn’t even win an arm wrestling match against Calista Flockhart.
Anyway, Z-Dawg breaks through the plastic, and everyone is stunned and backs off. He then takes advantage of their surprise and runs to a cart. He grabs a big bag and douses all of them with flour, which creates a big cloud that allows him to escape. Well, at least it wasn’t protein powder.
The Eternals are defeated by this yeast-y attack, so we cut to Z-Dawg running back to the periphery shield. He runs up to it and sees the Lollipop Guild on horseback on the other side. He then gives them strange, complex hand signals like he’s translating this movie into American Sign Language. Um, why doesn’t he just, you know, talk to them? Is the shield soundproof? Anyway, as soon as they get the signals, the Lollipop Guild rides off.
Z looks behind him and sees Connie and some other Chef Hats chasing him on horseback. Z-Dawg slides feet-first down the hill, and loses them in a thick patch of trees.
He eventually runs back to the village, ending up in the same area where Friend was giving him “looks to kill”. He ducks behind an archway, just as Connie and the Chef Hats ride in after him. Connie, I should add, is now carrying a torch [?]. Lynch mobs… of the future! Anyway, they decide to split up and look for him.
Z-Dawg thinks he’s escaped, when suddenly he turns around and sees a whole crowd of Apathetics standing there, staring at him hungrily. In the background, we hear Connie yelling at the Chef Hats to “smoke him out!” and cut to them setting some of their own buildings on fire. Okay. That’s smart.
Z-Dawg keeps a watch out from behind his archway, as the Apathetics, now humming softly, slowly approach him. One Apathetic girl reaches out and touches his cheek. It turns out to be the same girl that Z tossed through the air earlier, so I guess she’s got no hard feelings.
When she touches him, it makes a noise like a chime [?]. She pulls back her finger to find a drop of Zed sweat on the tip of her finger. She licks her finger, it makes another chime, and she immediately perks up like she just got a whiff of Irish Spring.
She lets an Apathetic who’s a Steven Tyler look-alike lick the finger, and he too has a chime-accompanied perk-up. Wow. Who knew Sean Connery’s sweat would be such a pick-me-up, huh? He ought to bottle it and sell it. As all the Apathetics share the power of Z-Dawg Sweat with each other, Z just shakes his head and ignores them, while still keeping an eye on Connie and her search party.
They’re still riding around frantically with torches, while we hear glass breaking and all sorts of stuff being smashed off camera. I don’t know how this is supposed to help them find Z, but it sure does sound like fun.
Meanwhile, the Apathetic Chick comes right up to Z-Dawg and kisses him, which he happily goes along with. She says, “We… take life from you!” But I don’t think she means it in the same sense that this movie is taking life from me. This movie has already aged me 50 years, no less.
Anyway, Apathetic Chick turns and kisses another Apathetic Chick [!]. Oh yes! Real life Apathetic lady love! Some hot Apathetic girl-on-girl action!
Then she kisses another, yellow Chef Hat chick, and this movie is suddenly getting much, much better. This girl goes off and kisses a guy in green. Suddenly, the Green Chef Hat Guy kisses another, Purple Chef Hat Guy right on the lips [!], right before our very eyes. Wow.
As the kiss-a-thon continues, the first Apathetic Chick tells Z-Dawg that “Life… flows out of you!” Keep it up, honey, and that ain’t all that’s gonna be flowing out of him. The Apathetics’ moaning grows in intensity as they all mob Z-Dawg, kissing him and caressing him and giving him a good rubdown. Geez, where’s one of those massage tables when you really need it?
Suddenly, Connie rides in on her horse, and all the Apathetics turn to her and forget about Z-Dawg. Z takes this moment to pluck out the cannabis leaf that Topless Chick gave to him earlier. He pops it into his mouth, and to be completely frank, I have no idea what this just accomplished.
Connie spots Z-Dawg behind the mob of Apathetics. He runs away, and she rides her horse directly through the mob to chase him. Oh, and just out of curiosity, why is Connie chasing Zed in the first place? Or is that supposed to matter? After all, just a few minutes ago, she calmly let Topless Chick take him away to the hemp farm. But, I guess we’re not supposed to actually think about stuff that happened ten minutes ago.
Anyway, they all end up out in the woods somewhere. Z-Dawg ducks behind a tree and Connie and the Chef Hats completely ride past him and lose him.
Well, if you treasure your sanity, stop reading now, because, just like I promised, here’s where the movie just completely and utterly falls apart. Suddenly, it’s nighttime, and Z-Dawg is now running from a mob of Renegades [?].
Old women in evening gowns and old men in tuxedos come after him. They corner him down in a ditch, and one old guy with a skull painted on his forehead [?] exclaims, “None of them could catch him! But he falls into the hands of the poor old Renegades!” So Z-Dawg lifts his head and says, “Death!” [?!?]
He bellows, “Bring death to you all!” Then, totally doing a 180, he begs, “Find Friend. Take me to Friend!” One old man asks what Z-Dawg just said, and for no reason at all, another old woman yells, “Shut up!” Well, you don’t have to be rude. Imagine being immortal, and this is the company you’re stuck with. Anyway, they pick Z up and lead him off.