Directors: Joe Dante, John Landis, George Miller, Steven Spielberg
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Vic Morrow, Scatman Crothers, Jeremy Licht
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!
The Twilight Zone: The Movie is based on the classic sci-fi TV show with the same name (minus The Movie of course). It features four separate episodes, where three of them was based on stories told on the original television show, and also a prologue and epilogue to tie it all in to the Twilight Zone universe.
I’m going to skip over both the prologue and epilogue since I didn’t care they made much sense or added much to the entire collection of stories. Instead I’ll rather start with the first segment called “Time Out”, directed by John Landis.
Bill Connor meets up a couple of his friends at a bar and it becomes clear to his friends right away that Bill is in a bad mood. He did not get the promotion he wanted at work and spits out racial slurs towards every other race that are not “american” and blames them all for his own failures. When he leaves the bar however, he enters a new dimension where he will be put in the place of the minority and see things from their perspective.
This segment sure had the feel of an old Twilight Zone story, but I do wish that they would have stayed with one of the “time zones” that Bill enters instead of trying to tackle several ones. It becomes a bit cluttered and the ending doesn’t have the final punch that it needed. This part will sadly only be remembered for the death of actor Vic Morrow.
The second segment is called “Kick The Can” and made by Steven Spielberg himself. It is about a rest home who is getting a new resident called Mr. Bloom. He enjoys listening to the youthful memories of the other old folks at the place and has a way to make them feel young and energetic again, if only they will believe that it is possible to do.
This is an odd one. Regardless of if you are a fan of Spielberg or not, he is a competent director who knows how to get what he wants on film, but this segment is neither that great looking and it does not hit any marks with the viewer emotionally, even though it tries. It tries to be charming, but ends up being quite dull instead.
The third segment is called “It’s A Good Life” and it is done by Joe Dante. Helen Foley is traveling to a new city where she will be taking a new job. She stops by a bar to ask for directions where she comes to the defense of a young boy who got pushed to the floor by one of the locals. On her way from the place, she accidentally backs her car onto the young boy. He is not hurt and she offers him a ride home to make sure he gets home in one piece, but when she arrives at his home she finds a family that are terrified of the little kid… and she will soon find out why.
This is a strange one and perhaps the most surrealistic out of the four episodes. It’s also colorful and borderline cartoonish (well, since it does feature the use of cartoons I guess it becomes a lazy way to describe it), but still tries to be a bit serious and never becomes a comedy show. It’s a weird segment and kind of interesting, but anything would be interesting after the terrible Spielberg episode…
The fourth and final segment is called “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, directed by George Miller and it is easily the best one out of the bunch and the one that will cater most to the horror fans. John Valentine is taking a plane trip and he is having a bad case of anxiety. Things gets worse for him when he starts to believe that there is some strange entity outside destroying the airplane wings.
This is a great segment and a great way to end this film. Finally we are presented with something that was more based in horror, even though it is more fun than scary to watch. The visual look of it is good, the acting is great and the creature is awesome. Just an all around great ending to a rather disappointing anthology feature.
Sadly, I can’t say that I would want to revisit The Twilight Zone: The Movie in the future after seeing it for the first time today. I thought one of the episodes was great, two was alright and one was bad. It feels like a bit of a failure and I’m not sure how keen the ones involved look back on their efforts with it today.