Apr 17, 2018
Zardoz (1974) (part 13 of 15)
The Chef Hats charge forth with the battering ram, eventually breaking through the door of the statuary. They storm inside, followed by some Pathetics. Oh, and all of this is in slow motion. But you knew that, right?
Once inside the statuary, people start knocking over statues [?]. Connie points in multiple random directions and, still in slow motion, shouts, “Thaaaat waaaaay! Therrrrrrrrrre!” Then we cut back to Z-Dawg, staring intently into the crystal ball in a shot that’s a total rip off of M.C. Escher. He hears Frayn’s voice ask again what he sees inside.
Z-Dawg whispers, “Consuella.” Um, no shit, Sherlock. That’s because she’s walking up right behind you, you doof. Connie lifts up a blade, and right before stabbing him, she says, “I’ve ached for this moment!” Then she says, “Mr. Zed, I expect you to die!” She lowers the blade, but abruptly stops before it even reaches him. She shakes violently, while Z-Dawg, still staring into his crystal ball, whispers, “You cannot.”
“You will not,” he says, and Connie tosses the knife to the ground. Yep, this makes about as much sense as anything else in the movie. She then kneels in front of him [?] and Z-Dawg tells her, “The hunt is always better than the kill.” Unless you’re hunting John Boorman, in which case the kill would be pretty sweet, too.
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“In hunting you,” Connie eagerly says, “I have become you!” Oh, come on, lady, tell us something we don’t already know. “I have destroyed what I set out to defend!” Which is… what, exactly?
Z-Dawg takes her hands and misquotes Nietzsche, something about fighting dragons, blah blah blah. Oh, just knock it off, Mr. Boorman. You’re trying to art up this dismal script, and it’s just not working. Look, I know most college guys in 1974 used Nietzsche to get laid, but do we really need to see it in a movie?
Connie promises, “I am not like the others.” Who said you were? And which others are we talking about? “I would fill you with life,” she promises. “And love.” [??] She then slips her cubic zirconium mood ring on his finger. Um, does this mean they’re going steady now?
Z-Dawg says, “You have given me what no other gave. Love.” What? Since when? So, chasing him around with torches, that was love? Coming at him with a knife, that was love?
“If I live,” he says, “We will live together.” What? The? Hell? If anything, I’d think May is the one who should end up with Z. But, I guess since she’s Freaky Freckle Face and Charlotte Rampling is hot, then we all know who Z will end up with, don’t we? Even if it makes no sense within the confines of the story?
He tells Connie to leave for now. Connie walks over to the Chef Hats and tells them that “the Brutal is not here! I was mistaken!” Oh, uh, so we just smashed up the whole place for nothing?
Meanwhile, Z-Dawg picks up that big chunk of zirconium and stares at it. Finally, he gets the idea to look at it through the crystal ball. “Refraction of light!” he exclaims. Then we get a shot of the crystal ball, which is reflecting Z staring at the hunk of zirconium. “Infinite,” Z whispers.
Then Topless Chick’s voice is heard. “Break the Tabernacle! Or be broken!” He then hears Arthur Frayn ask him what he sees in the crystal, and then he again hears Topless Chick tell him, “When you see into the crystal, then you will be ready.” Thanks for all the reminders, gang, but I’m still not understanding any of it.
Cut to another honeycomb shot of Z, and the plankton is superimposed in the foreground. “Now I see it,” Z’s voice says, “I am ready.” Well, it sure took him long enough. So, it appears that to be “ready”, all it took was staring at a crystal through a crystal ball. Wow. Back at his desk, Z decides to talk into his newly acquired Mood Ring.
“Tabernacle,” Z says into the ring. “What are you?” The ring replies, “Not permitted.” Z asks where it is, and the answer is again “Not permitted.” Z asks the Tabernacle if it knows him. The ring admits to possessing his “voice print” and “genetic code”. But, the ring says, “Only memory fragments.” Well, now it all makes sense, then.
Z-Dawg asks about the hunk of zirconium, which he calls “the crystal transmitter”. The ring refuses, saying this could jeopardize “my own security”. Z-Dawg thinks for a moment, then says, “Brain emissions refract low-wavelength laser light, passing through the crystal in the brain!” Took the words right out of my mouth! Honestly, I haven’t heard techno-babble this inscrutable since the seventh season of Voyager.
Z-Dawg tells the ring, “They are a code sent to you for interpretation and storage!” Well, sure, but who didn’t know that? He then asks if he’s guessed everything right, and the ring simply says, “Not permitted.”
Z continues: “A receiver must be like a transmitter.” Well, of course. “I think you’re a crystal! In fact… this one!” So, he means the Tabernacle is actually the hunk of zirconium in his hand? He cries, “This diamond!” And diamonds are forever, baby.
Z-Dawg looks at the hunk of zirconium and remarks, “In here, there is infinite storage space for refracted light patterns!” Somehow, I sort of doubt that. Z-Dawg asks the ring if he guessed right, and the ring admits, “You have me in the palm of your hand.”
Z-Dawg cryptically replies, “But you could be elsewhere.” Come again? The ring says, “Yet I choose to be here.” Z-Dawg wants to know why, and the ring replies that he’s here to “confront” Z-Dawg. “Already you have learned to see my light wavelengths in the diamond. Now, you will try to erase the refractions and destroy me!” Boy, it’s all coming together, isn’t it?
Z-Dawg admits that he does in fact want to destroy the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The ring replies, “Would you kill God?” Um, didn’t he do that once already? Z-Dawg laughs derisively and says, “Such vanity!” Yep, that’s why this film was made, didn’t you know?
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir then gets all boastful, saying it’s the sum of all the Eternals’ knowledge, and that it is “all-seeing. I am everywhere… and nowhere! That has often served as the definition of God!” For no particular reason, when the ring says these lines, we hear May and several other Eternal women in the background repeating these lines in unison [?].
The ring, and the voices behind it, ask Z if he would “destroy us, and all that we are?” Z-Dawg is quite emphatic about wanting to smash up the Mormon Tabernacle Choir real good. The voices ask if Z-Dawg wouldn’t rather be “part of us” instead. Or perhaps he’d like a refreshing cocktail instead. “A light shining to the future!” the voices cry. “Love us! Cherish the truth!” See me! Feel me! Touch me!
Z-Dawg cries, “No!” and leaps to his feet, and using a lame magician’s palming trick, he opens his hand to find the zirconium hunk gone. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir says, “You have penetrated me.” Ew. Yuck, I sure didn’t mean to do that. Z-Dawg attempts to run out of the statuary, but finds every exit is now blocked by a slab of metal.
Then he turns around, and suddenly all the walls of the statuary have been transformed into metal [?]. He runs and grabs his revolver off the desk, but the Tabernacle warns, “There is no escape!” Z-Dawg tries to find a way out, but the voice tells him, “You are within me!”
Suddenly, the floor beneath Z-Dawg’s feet turns into an incline. The Tabernacle Choir says, “Come to my center!” Come to Butthead! Z struggles to keep from sliding down into the floor. “Come into the center of the crystal!” Z slides down, Goldfinger-style, and wherever he lands, we’re treated to an image of him as seen through a kaleidoscope.
Z-Dawg stands and totally does some kind of Spazz-Fu martial arts moves at reflected images of those plankton. He shouts, “Tabernacle!” and finds himself stumbling through a hall of mirrors, and the screen is filled with multiple reflected images of Z, and multiple reflected images of that plankton.
He grunts and cries out as he runs around aimlessly. Suddenly, he sees May’s image projected on some of the mirrors, and hears her moaning and caterwauling in the background. May is totally doing some kind of weird, interpretive dance on the viewscreen, and Z-Dawg just keeps crying out, “No!”
Then he sees Connie on the viewscreen doing her own interpretive dance, and we hear her voice cry out, “My past dissolves!” Much like my brain dissolved over an hour ago. Then he sees Friend on the viewscreen doing his own interpretive dance and laughing like a maniac, and then Topless Chick appears on another viewscreen, shrieking like a pelican.
Then Z-Dawg heads in another direction, but runs directly into a viewscreen showing May doing her interpretive dance. He immediately covers his eyes with his arm. Well, I tried that too, but this movie didn’t go away.