Saturday Movie Review – “1984”

And just what is a “Saturday Movie Review” you might
ask? I’ve got a lot of unreviewed movies in my
collection
. I plan to review one movie every
Saturday until that has been rectified. I’ll be
skipping most of the horror films, to save them for
another Halloween event, and passing on the
superheroes for now because we’ve got a lot of that
content anyway with new releases and comic books.
Aside from that, I’m going through them all, and I’ll
be reviewing them in alphabetical order (with the
exception of next week’s holiday themed review.) My
collection is sorted with numbers first, so here we
go: 1984.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

John Hurt as Winston Smith

Richard Burton as O’Brien

Suzanna Hamilton as Julia

Novel written by George Orwell.

Screenplay written and directed by Michael
Radford.

Complete information is available from the IMDB.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

In the future, independent thought is considered evil,
and that makes
our hero a criminal.

High Point

Writing in the dust.

Low Point

Changing props on the coral in the globe. (The
obviously solid glass
ball broke like a shell.) You’d think that they’d
find a prop that
could look pretty and still break, given how
inconsequential the
specifics of the prop were.

The Scores

It’s hard to be original when making a fairly
faithful
adaptation of a book that was one in a line of
dystopias published
early in this century. 3 out of 6.

The effects were either non-existant or
completely
transparent. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is cerebral and bleak. As an old
classmate once
said of the book, “1984 is about as subtle as
being
repeatedly hit on the head with a two by four.” This
preachy,
paranoid feel is obvious. After events like Watergate
and the Starr
report, there’s also some question of how feasible
this really is.
The novel was published before either event, but the
movie was
definitely post-Watergate, complete with the cynicism
involved.
Still, that’s a minor nitpick compared to the
methodical bludgeoning
of the viewer with the message. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is well suited to the automaton,
supressed nature
of the populace. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response generated was weak.
Yes, it’s a scary
world, but when you don’t care about the characters in
a “future” that
takes place over 20 years ago, it’s hard to get really
connected. I
give it 3 out of 6.

The production had an incredibly and
unnecessarily slow
pace. A slow pace can work, when the audience has
enough images,
metaphors, nuances, and multiple meanings of a rich
and artistic
experience to stew on (see: Kubrick), but we do not
have any of
these. Instead, we have a pedantic and obvious
message drilled
repeatedly. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, this movie is exactly what you might
expect if
you’ve read the book. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, 1984 receives 28 out of 42.

3 replies on “Saturday Movie Review – “1984””

  1. y42 says:

    Heisenberg would slap you silly, boy!

    a “future” that takes place over 20 years ago

    1984 is the best guess the guy could make based on the giant piles of disinformation he sorted through. He could be off by any amount of years.

  2. Babbster says:

    Book Good, Movie Blah
    Something about the book enthralled me. Most likely, it was the fact that I was a teenager when I read it and was fascinated by both technology (two-way TVs were a particularly impressive fictional innovation considering the age of the novel) and crisis politics (I paid way too much attention to Iran-Contra and the like). The movie, on the other hand, I couldn’t even finish despite the high quality of the actors involved. I was so bored that I fell asleep less than halfway through.

    Besides, Animal Farm was, by far, Orwell’s better blockbuster. :)

  3. hossman says:

    1984 in 1984
    Just to clarify, there are several movies based on the book, and this review is about the version released in 1984…

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087803/combined

    …but there are also two very different prints of the movie (with extremely different color saturations) that completely change the feel of the movie. I’m not sure which version fiziko has.

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