TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE
Reviewed by: Donny Broussard
Joe Dante, John Landis, George Miller, Steven Spielberg
What's it about
A classic television series gets the big screen treatment.
Is it good movie?
Rod Serling’s classic television series, “The Twilight Zone” was one of the best shows to ever grace the living rooms of families everywhere. It combined atmosphere, talented actors, impeccable writing, and the best anthology host the world has ever known, to not only scare viewers but also make them think. So when a group of Hollywood directors got together eight years after Serling’s death to bring “Twilight Zone: The Movie” to the big screen moviegoers weren’t sure what to expect.
The intro segment of the film is the only one besides the first episode not taken from past episodes, and prepares viewers for the over the top effects extravaganza ahead. When Dan Aykroyd turns to Albert Brooks and says, "Do you want to see something really scary?" “The Twilight Zone” entered the 1980s.
John Landis ("Animal House," "An American Werewolf in London") directed the first episode about a racist named Bill Connor (Vic Morrow) who hates everyone that’s not a red blooded, white Anglo-Saxon American. Bill goes on a rant at a bar and then finds himself in Nazi Germany as well as other locations that bring him face to face with true racial violence. While this segment is not the best one of the group it is probably the most famous because of Morrow’s death during the filming of the movie.
Next up is Steven Spielberg’s entry is about the residents of an old folks home who remember what it was like to be young. Mr. Bloom (Scatman Crothers) convinces some of the residents that they need to play more so that they can get in touch with their youth, and in doing so some of them get more in touch than they ever thought possible. Spielberg did a good job with this heartwarming episode that reminded me a little of “Cocoon,” but surprisingly it still didn’t measure up to the other segments.
Joe Dante ("Gremlins”) brings us the most visually stunning of the episodes, which follows a teacher named Helen Foley (Kathleen Quinlan) who after bringing a little boy home finds out that his home life is far from normal. This segment had some mind-boggling effects for its time and is by far one of the most memorable in this anthology.
Finally, last but not least, my favorite of the bunch is George Miller’s ("Mad Max") creepy tale based on "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" by Richard Matheson. John Lithgow plays a passenger who claims to see a man on the wing of the plane, and as time passes realizes that it’s not a man at all. This episode is by far the scariest of them all and Lithgow’s performance is awesome.
Not that the other episodes are bad, but compared to the last two they seem week. It’s worth picking up this DVD for these two episodes alone. The cinematography is amazing and the effects are breathtaking. I loved this flick as a kid, and I enjoyed seeing it again, but somehow it just doesn’t compare to the original television series.
Video / Audio
Video: Looked Great
Audio: Loud and Clear
There are no features to speak of on this disc except for the theatrical trailer.
Twilight Zone: The Movie is a commendable attempt at greatness, and is worth the price of the DVD even though it never quite matches the charm of the original.