THX 1138: A Review with an Apocalpytic Literature Viewpoint
The film THX 1138 was an interesting view, though rather difficult to understand because of it’s artistic and abstract qualities. The nature of this future world is one hard to fully grasp, however some qualities it contains are: a world run on money and consumerism, human interaction with one another is not suggested and in some respects is frowned upon (for example: sex is not allowed in this new society, and we see some individuals get killed for having sex), everyone takes drugs to numb themselves and make them more and more like comatose human beings with the functionality of robots. This society is one in which human beings are no longer “human,” but rather machines as a result of new laws and living conditions.
The title of the film (THX 1138) is actually the name given to the main character. This suggests that people are not named, but rather are only known by their identification numbers (like a social security number).
The nature of the apocalypse found in this film is hard to define, as there is little reference to any sort of apocalypse actually occurring. It would appear that this society is underground, as a result of the final scene when the main character “escapes” this society into the desert. A movement underground would suggest an apocalyptic scenario like a biological or nuclear war.
The world contained in THX 1138 is very sterile, and this is even more noticeable by the color scheme which consists primarily of white and grays. In fact, a good deal of the film takes place in a large room that is just the color white. The apocalypse found in this film seems somewhat believable, though not on the scale of the entire world being contained in a new society like this. The world could reach this point, at least metaphorically. Human beings are already controlled by money and consumerism, which is the primary political statement George Lucas is making with this film.
I do not think it is realistic to conceive of a society that is so removed from human emotion, and based on consumerism to such a degree that is shown in this film. Perhaps this is just my limited optimism for humanity showing, though.
The main influences found in this film is a perfect blend of the government and “big business” (corporations and conglomerates). These two components seem to run this new society, and an even more strange aspect of this is that there does not appear to be a human leader behind everything. It is almost as if “the government” and “big business” are separate and fully functioning entities on their own. As a result, these entities enslave human beings to the will of government policy and consumerism. As a result, this film is unrealistic, but very thought provoking when it comes to considering the power of the government and big business in our world today.
In conclusion, George Lucas' first feature film THX 1138 is a great independent and rather artistic movie that predates his famous Star Wars franchise. If you are interested in this post apocalyptic world, or in the films of George Lucas; you will not want to miss out on this one.