From his book Essential Cinema.
Twilight Zone: The Movie
You're travelling through another dimension. A dimension, not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!
Four directors collaborated to remake four episodes of the popular television series 'The Twilight Zone' for this movie. The episodes are updated slightly and in color (the television show was in black-and-white), but very true to the originals, where eerie and disturbing situations gradually spin out of control. "A Quality of Mercy", "Kick the Can", "It's a Good Life", and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet".
The Twilight Zone is kind of an interesting choice for a big blockbuster adaptation, as it isn't one of its (iconic) production elements or characters that resonate with audiences as much as that "holy shit" moment when you figure out that they were never on Earth to begin with or that it's the rest of the world who's disfigured and she's actually beautiful!
But these filmmakers do an okay job of it anyway for the most part, with only Spielberg's segment providing a real drag. I haven't seen the episode it's based on, but I can say that it seems like an attempt by Spielberg to try and distil his very worst qualities as a filmmaker with none of the…
That last segment is a true work of art, the reason to watch, and one of the scariest imaginations to put into the mind of a child, as it did to me. John Lithgow brings pent-up demands for thunder, for the first hour and fifteen didn't hold up well at all. The John Landis one is the most unforgivable and should have never saw final cut. It's repetitive and crass too, especially with the tragic accident in mind. The Spielberg segment might as well be outright parody and the Joe Dante story was typically goofy and a little tired. The prologue is fun but reliant on dated references. Overall, an interesting stroll down Nostalgia Lane, but it does not do justice to the show even for a second.
A certain amount of give-and-take is expected from an anthology film, particularly one updating one of the great left-field anthology series, but the lopsided quality and tone of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE is a drag. At least, it is for its first half: Landis' heavy-handed fable about intolerance aims for the kind of high-concept, easily digested irony that made the show great, but its erratic pacing and glib reflexive humor (har har a Niedermeyer joke!) dilutes the impact. Further, the show relied on one gut punch, but Landis barely gets five minutes in before turning his racist protagonist's world upside down, and even then he keeps escalating. It turns a final train to Auschwitz into the climax of an action…
Like pretty much anyone else you talk to about this uneven but essential anthology film, I'm gonna say that the first two stories (directed by John Landis and Steven Spielberg, respectively) are mediocre but watchable (though Spielberg's generally terrible "Kick the Can" comes close to being fast-forward-worthy), it's more than worth sticking around for the last two stories, which are just fantastic.
Joe Dante's "It's a Good Life" is the most visually appealing, a darkly comedic tale about a little boy both blessed and cursed by the ability to make anything he wishes come true. It's funny, filled with great visuals and inventive sets, and a bit disturbing.
The real treasure, though, is George Miller's "Nightmare at 20,000" feet, simply…
The latest film I've had the pleasure of introducing to my ten-year-old nephew.
As expected, the first segment was over his head, but I tried to give it a little historical context without overloading him. Steven Spielberg's mostly dopey "Kick the Can" is what it is and he chuckled a couple of times.
As everyone knows, the real money stories are Joe Dante's funny, scary, genuinely unnerving "It's a Good Life" and George Miller's utterly terrifying "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." Pretty much everyone I know was traumatized by that last one at some point in their childhood, and I was happy to pass that down to my nephew. Ha!
Anyway, this film is far from perfect as a whole (despite the fact that the last two segments are solid "A"s on their own), but I love it dearly anyway!
Never seen this before today,and as my wife waxed lyrically about seeing it years ago it became obvious that this is a bit of a cult movie. Hammy acting,cheesy dialogue and woeful special effects made this a real mess of a film rescued by the great final act with the "Nightmare at 20000 feet" episode that I did remember from the TV series. John Lithgow plays a panic stricken air passenger seeing gremlins rip apart the planes engines in a spooky final part of an otherwise so-so film. Dan Aykroyd adds some comic gravitas to an underwhelming movie filled with tv actors past their prime and in need of better material to make a memorable impact. Maybe the sections of…
I am a huge fan of The Twilight Zone. I've been watching it on Neflix; I just finished season 2. For some reason, they don't have season 4 on there. I'm moving into season 3 at the moment.
Anyway, I thought this was pretty good, but for me, none of them really match the spirit of show. The show is just classic and had twists, and it was never grautious it what it was trying to say. There was always a message in each episode, but it was never preachy or heavy-handed from the seasons that I've seen so far. There was a certain aesthetic to it as well, and I know that they had to change it up because it was movie to appeal to the movie-going public but still it didn't feel anything like the original. I just thought it was pretty good, if you seperate it from the show.
The Landis' segment feels like an eighth grade re imagining of a Twilight Zone episode while the Spielberg segments feels like a parody of a Spielberg film rather than any connection to The Twilight Zone.
The Dante segment really is the greatest thing about the film, it feels like a Joe Dante film, incorporating his love for cartoons, nostalgia, and stories showcasing children while depicting elements such as claustrophobia and entrapment using low angle shots, bright neon colors and gremlin like creatures.
Miller is also working within an enclosed segment in "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and he makes it work in similar ways (I am thinking of the shot that is locked on Lithgow's face as he is pulled from his chair onto the floor). With his touch, the closing works as it is able to recreate what makes "The Twilight Zone" creepy.
Where Twilight Zone: The Movie trips up most notably in translating the series is in having the tales be lessons. In Serling's hands each episode of the series was a moral tale, an instruction in how some fault of man could lead to death (or worse) when humankind is confronted with the unknown. Here there are no true lessons. Spielberg's feeble segment is the worst at this: there's really no lesson, nobody does anything wrong. One man chooses to stay young, the others realize they like old age, and one misses the opportunity to choose. No gut-punch consequences to any choices. The same goes for the prologue, which is air then one cheap scare. Other segments are slightly more potent.…
This was a great anthology film. I did not realize this movie had so many heavy hitters associated with. This had Spielberg, Lucas, John Lithgow, Dan Akroyd just to name a few. I can tell this movie had a lot of love behind it. The special effects were great and they were surprisingly creepy considering this is a early 80's film. There was no crappy tie in story, just great short film after the other. I loved how they were able to "modernize" the old stories for this film. It was successful in not just remaking the stories but adding to them. Great example of this was John Lithgow in the Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. It's probably my favorite episode…
Despite this being disconnected from the original series, it's fairly true to the feeling evoked by the show.
TV movie-ish air wafts about this filmed adaptation of original Twilight Zone TV entries from the past. Some are plain cliché and bland, such as the Landis and Spielberg entries. The best are saved for last, but Joe Dante's contributon about a boy who has all his wishes come true, much to horrific detriment to those around him, is the best. It encapsulates Dante's style and love of dark/light humor and horror plus his admiration of cartoons in one 20 min. or so treat.
A poor watering down of the cult TV series that is unfortunately best remembered for the controversial on-set death of Vic Morrow. Thankfully, the film saved the best segment until last, despite it only being a remake of the classic Nightmare at 20,000 feet episode, but it's a great remake nonetheless.
Steven Spielberg: The Challenge.
So, I got introduced to the Twilight Zone by a ride at Disney Florida. I liked it, so with my ongoing Steven Spielberg Challenge, I came across the Twilight Zone movie. 4 Segments and 1 of them is directed by Mr. Spielberg. I liked his one. But the greatest was the last one on the plane! That would freak me out if I were a kid watching this. This movie also made me want to see the series from the 60's. I might have to look for those episodes, because the concept is amazing!
The first story from John Landis is about a racist guy that is taken back in time and made to be each of the minorities that he has ranted about earlier in the film. It's all a bit of a mess and that's most likely down to the fact that the lead actor and two child actors were actually killed during the making of it. It's a wonder Landis was able to make anything from it at all.
The next story is about a group of people in an old peoples home who are given the girt of being young again. It feels really out of place as it isn't in the least bit scary or mysterious at all. It's…
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