Pros: Stories 3 & 4 pass
Cons: Stories 1 & 2 do fail
As a film, Twilight Zone: The Movie barely works. In some cases, the film is dreadfully bad. In others, it's pitch perfect. I can't possibly review the film as a whole, since it's separated by four segments and a prologue. So i'm going to review the film separately.
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks
Directed by: John Landis: Trading Places, Coming To America
Grade: A -
A classic opening scene. The first time I ever saw this film, I couldn't believe that funny men Brooks and Aykroyd were in a horror film. I mean, what's scary about those two? Obviously, I had no idea where this little segment was leading.
The two are listening to the tune 'Midnight Special' when the tape is ripped apart in the player. In order to cure their bordeom, they play triva, and make small talk. Then Aykroyd asks the question, "Do you want to see something really scary?" Indeed. What he shows Albert is horrific, in an evil comedic way. Unfortunately the film rarely deliveries on the scares.
Segment # 1
Starring: Vic Morrow
Directed by: John Landis
Grade: C +
The film will always be remembered because of this segment. Not because of the quality of it, but because of the tragic death of actor (Vic Morrrow) and two Asian children. A special effect involving a helicopter went terribly wrong and killed the three, two by decapitation.
As a segment, it's not too entertaining or scary. Morrow plays a man who is a bigot. He hates everyone who is different and blames them for his misfortunes. Then he enters the Twilight Zone, and he gets a taste of his own medicine.
He see's what it's like to be a Jew in Nazi Germany, a black in the south, and a Vietnamese person in the war. This sounds like it could be weirdly bizarre premise, but it doesn't work.
Morrow is fun as hell to watch, but it's just way too short. On this kind of premise, you need to a whole film, not 20 minutes. You never really understand the pain he is going through, because it's too short.
Watch for (John Larroquette) as a KKK redneck.
Segment # 2
Starring: Scatman Crothers
Directed By: Steven Spielberg: Jaws, A.I.
Grade: D +
What's with Spielberg and old people? It seems like he's obsessed with them. Check out his producing credits on such films as *batteries not included and Dad. Plus, he had to ruin the ending of Saving Private Ryan by letting an old person ham it up. End of rant.
Spielberg segment is about a bunch of elderly folks in a retirement home. One of them, (Scatman Crothers) has the ability to make them feel young. Not in your traditional way, but by making them children.
The fact is, this segment does not belong in the movie. It's not scary or really that weird. It's so sweet, it's corny. Spielberg, why don't you just put the Old People Rule! sticker on your car, and get over it.
Starring: Kathleen Quinlan
Directed by: Joe Dante: Innerspace, Gremlins
Joe Dante has always been like a twisted Jim Henson. With this story, he creates something which is comically odd in a cartoonish way. This story is dark, funny, and highly original.
Kathleen Quinlan plays a woman who meet's an interesting child. The boy's name Anthony, and he has an unusual power. I guess you could say he has the power of the word. Anything he says, happens. He takes Quinlan home with him, and she meet's his 'family'. What happens next is a wonderful display of special effects and originality.
Starring: John Lithgow
Directed by: George Miller: The Road Warrior, Babe: Pig In The City
This is the reason why I recommend the film. If the whole movie would have been as classic as this segment, we'd have something great on our hands. John Lithgow's John Valentine rules. Anyone who's seen the film, knows all of his lines by heart. "There's something on the wing of this plane!!!
The segment takes place on an airplane. Valentine is a man who is scared to death of flying. To make things worse, he's the only man on the damn plane who see's the monster that's on the wing. The scene has a wonderful tension to it, and Lithgow's performance steals the show. George Miller, over everyone, creates the most memorable and the best segment to the film. This segment's score is amazing.
So is Twilight Zone: The Movie worth seeing? I suppose so. It's not a great film, but it does have it's moments.