Zardoz might be the greatest and only post-Dystopian film ever created. The flow is that of a dream like atmosphere with candid colors and vicarious retro-futuristic designs. What Dario Argento's films are critically acclaimed for, John Boorman does better without the side-effects of experimental tactics and takes the mystical theory of dream scenarios as demonstrated in Suspiria and Inferno and morphs it into a perfect film adaptation. Where normal Dystopian films "end", post-Dystopian "begins". After the alluded apocalypse ravages more of the mind than the land, a new strain of being is introduced, although this Utopian incarnation is far from the Eden we'd expect.
Set in a landscape of archived nihilism, "Exterminators" are designed to kill "Brutals". Their God, Zardoz, is realized as a floating stone head easily reminiscent of the colorful drawings that occupy much of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Upon landing, the statue bellows the importance of the gun and proceeds to spew forth mountains of weapons and ammunition to aid them in their "holy crusade". As eager as the Exterminators are to go forth and murder Brutals, they are warned of the dangers of the penis. "The penis is bad", the head promptly exclaims. After questioning his idol, Zed (Sean Connery at his mustachioed best) stows away aboard the vessel and kills the pilot and magician aboard without a moments hesitation. Zardoz soon lands in the "Vortex" - the other half of the divided lands. Rather than being a killing ground, the Vortex is a divine Utopia with intelligent life and strict moral codes. The Vortex is that of science; a land where no one dies and your only aging is issued as punishment. As you can tell from the plot essentials, Zardoz is cunningly elaborate and effectively substantiated in the Dystopian genre.
A premature omniscience known only as "the Tabernacle" is the main "villain" of Zardoz, other than the inhabitants of the Vortex. Each is guilty of sin for allowing such a lifeless existence to occur. Zed has come to bring change but with change comes uncertainty. The inhabitants of the Vortex are split between executing Zed and studying his masculinity and admiring his seed and bold erection. Note: Sean Connery can only become fully erect while looking at Charlotte Rampling, who defies controversy and transcends into a realm of Nazi fetishism with her role in The Night Porter.
Zardoz sets off on a mystic quest which features scenes of epic savagery and subversive elements such as condoning rape as something hereditary and for the most part, normal.
[SPOILERS] The scene in which life is renewed and death appears for the citizens of the Vortex is stunning and violent in context. Eager to be ridden of their unnatural lives, everyone screams to be shot as the Exterminators raid the camp. A brutal symphony occurs as classical music rings true as bodies hit the grass. Erotic subtleties are quietly passed around as bouncing cleavage is spotted instantaneously. [/SPOILERS]
Science fiction has never been so maligned, artistically ahead of its time, and revolted beyond the point of failure as Zardoz has been. A true auteur's working of Dystopian film while adding heavy theological elements. Zardoz isn't for you or I. It truly feels as if this film beckons the audience calling of an otherworldly society.