Galactic Fleet Admiral (site admin)
Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Location: North Carolina
|Posted: Fri May 18, 2018 4:37 pm Post subject: Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
I'm not the biggest fan of the original series, mostly because it isn't really a sci-fi anthology (for the most part), and the episodes range from good to not-really-good-at-all.
Frankly there are fewer good ones than the other kind.
This movie remade three episodes and added one original story to the mix. The movie was a big disappointment for me because I questioned both the episodes they selected to remake, and the treatments they were all given.
Here's a quick look at each one. All the comments below are, of course, just my personal opinions.
Time Out - This one is the weakest of the bunch. It's just a simple story in which a vicious racist gets a hard lesson in what it's like to be on the receiving end of bigotry.
The plot offers no real conflict because we agree completely with the moral of the story, and there are no real surprises because we know it won't end well for the bastard. So, we just sit there drumming our fingers while waiting for it finally happen.
Kick the Can - This is a lame remake of a lame episode. In fact, it's a bit insulting. To suggest that old people can just "cheer up and think young" is bad enough, but to propose that magical forces might make them all young again if they play a kid's game is not my idea of a brilliant story.
Being old sucks. Trust me.
It's a Good Life - One of the very best episodes of the original series is turned into a misguided piece of black comedy, with silly characters and over-the-top special effects.
The only positive aspect of the story is the interesting idea that the character played by Kathleen Quinlan was a teacher who not only found a way to influence Anthony, she even seems to have ambitious plans for the two of them, using the boy's powers under her quidance.
I'm defending this altered ending (a "happy" one) only because the remake tossed out everything good about the original, so it was nice to have it end with an original idea.
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet - This one actually works. Based on one of the best TZ episodes, we're treated to John Lithgow almost filling the big shoes of William Shatner, who's performance in both this and Nick of Time make those episodes a joy to watch.
The weakest aspect of the original episode is the gremlin's appearance, which looks too much like something from a young Ewok's nightmare, so the hideous creature which John Lithgow faces is an improvement.
Admittedly Lithgow's frantic performance is not actually better in any way than Shatner's quiet, tortured reaction to doubting his own sanity when faced with an insane situation, but Lithgow was believable in a tough role.
If I'd been the producer of this movie I would have picked the episodes below and given them a treatment that justified their remakes. The plot summaries I included are copied from IMDB.
I was careful to pick episodes which weren't totally dependent on the famous TZ "twist ending". The episodes below offer exciting drama throughout the story. Everybody already knows what the twist endings are, but a good script and a skilled director could still thrill the audience by presenting the climax in a powerful manner.
So, here are my suggestions for an exciting Twilight Zone Movie.
A convict, living alone on an asteroid, receives from the police a realistic woman-robot.
When a woman investigates a clamor on the roof of her rural house, she discovers a small UFO and little aliens emerging from it. Or so it seems.
Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
Following a frantic phone call about a crashed spaceship, two policeman try and determine who among the passengers of a bus at a snowed-in roadside diner is from another world.
To Serve Man
An alien race comes to Earth, promising peace and sharing technology. A linguist and his team set out to translate the aliens' language, using a book whose title they deduce is "To Serve Man".
On Thursday We Leave for Home
A human colony is rescued from a forsaken planet. But their leader is having a hard time accepting that things will change when they get back to Earth.
Actually, this last one is so good it doesn't really [i]need a remake!
But with the right script and a cast as good as the original one, there might be a way to actually elevate my personal favorite of all the TZ episodes to something well worth watching.
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?