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…
That motherfucker wasn't lying when he said it was gonna be really scary.
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!
Irregular. Twilight Zone és la confirmació d'una nova generació que entra amb idees i moltes ganes de fer cine, i una altra, que no devia creure's massa en sèrio el projecte que ells mateixos havien iniciat. En definitiva, si els dos últims estan molt bé, el de Joe Dante és especialment afortunat (molt de Explorers, no?) i el de George Miller també compleix, podem dictaminar que l'ànima de Twilight Zone: The Movie és Richard Matheson. I dos més dos fan quatre, així de clar.
That motherfucker wasn't lying when he said it was gonna be really scary.
Thanks John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller for this beautiful tribute to Twilight Zone.
I prefer the third and fourth story and the beginning and the end of this movie are classic !
Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me ....
John Landis Prologue- 3.0
John Landis Segment 1- 2.0
Steven Spielberg Segment 2- 2.0
Joe Dante Segment 3- 2.5
George Miller Segment 4- 3.5
Spotty, even by the standards of an anthology film, since each filmmaker has a radically different conception of the tone, style and aesthetics of The Twilight Zone. The only way to really talk about this collection of segments is to enumerate them: Landis's opening is woefully misguided and ultimately morally repugnant; Spielberg's is flat and inert with a muddy visually style fueled by empty nostalgia; and the final short, by George Miller, is a very tense and effective mini-thriller, convincingly updating of one of the silliest Zone episodes.
Joe Dante's "It's a Good Life" segment, however, is brilliant. I can understand now why Jonathan Rosenbaum included it as one of the top 1,000 films ever made. Like so many of…
Fares fairly well as far as omnibuses go. Even the weakest segment, Spielberg seems a case of reality affecting the art. Ignoring that all of the segments are pretty good with Dante's in particular being a great example of an auteur manipulating a subject to his will. It even manages to be legitimately suspenseful entirely due to mood. George Miller seems to be working on a similar plane, but doesn't quite reach the sustained tension of Dante though I suspect that has more to do with the comedy by lunacy he's playing with. Landis' prologue is a bit better than his actual segment, but even that is actually pretty good.
"Kick the Can" segment Directed by Steven Spielberg
There's at least two big asterisks on this journal entry. 1: "Twilight Zone: The Movie" is really four short films (about 20 minutes each) by four different directors and I only re-watched Spielberg's "Kick the Can" segment this time around (I have previously seen the film in its entirety). 2. Since it's only twenty minutes and also a remake of an episode of the original "The Twilight Zone" TV show, it hardly seems fair to compare "Kick the Can" to Spielberg's other work.
So with those points in mind... "Kick the Can" seemed oddly bland and forgettable on this viewing, to the point where I was scratching my head afterward,…
I loved the last segment, the third was good, and the first two I did not like at all.
I absolutely love those eighties style special effects. When it came to the monster on the wing and the two cartoon style characters in the third, they looked absolutely terrifying.
Anthology movie that updates three, arguably four original-series stories for the early 80's and big-screen production values. The first segments are bad. The Spielberg segment is Spielberg at his most agonizingly sentimental. I would sooner shit out my dick than watch that again.
It's the last two segments that save it from being awful - the third story lacks the desperation and terror of its ancestor, but it makes up for it with a loopy, childlike insanity and more affection for its monster. I haven't yet seen the (very famous) original episode that inspired segment four, but it makes for a hairy bit of airline thrillering.
They save it from being awful, but they don't quite drag it into good.…
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If you owned your very own movie theater and got to program the films it exhibited as you desired, what…
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More than 1100 movies of pure 80's horror.