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XANADU - 1 Slime
Rated PG
Copyright 1980 Universal Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Kira - Olivia Newton John! Muse and organic mood ring supreme, one moment she's glowing blue, then orange, etc.
  • Sonny - Starving artist and nice guy, except he throws all his trash out the window.
  • Danny - Gene Kelly! Rich man who is unhappy with life until deciding to build Xanadu.
  • Simpson - Sonny's old boss, pretty much a run of the mill evil corporate overlord.
  • The Other Starving Artists - Sonny's friends.
  • Dancers - Also the daughters of Zeus, after noticing their ethnic diversity I'd say he gets around.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

What has Olivia Newton John, Gene Kelly, roller skates, lots of glowing blue people, quasi disco music, and never ends?

Exactly - Hell.

Living in this fairy tale torture chamber is Sonny, he is an artist with talent, at painting album covers at least. This is why Kira, daughter of Zeus and inspiration for fine art everywhere, decides he is the only one who can make Xanadu happen. With Danny providing venture capital of course. All of this nicely explains the decline of Greek civilization, Zeus and his siblings are spending their time opening roller skate dance clubs. Meanwhile the Greek population is burning goats at a furious pace hoping for a little help against these Roman fellows. ("Could we have another Alexander please, this disco thing you turned us on to is very nice, but now everyone else wants to kick our ass.") Did I mention the two lovers briefly change into a Don Bluth animation? Where's a bucket of dip when you need it...

This review is dedicated to Jenn Reinhart, recently my friend Todd and the young lady exchanged vows. Love works in odd ways, couldn't you have found a woman with less offensive social problems? (Jenn likes this movie.) Making body noises in crowded elevators maybe?

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Artists are litterbugs.
  • Most Skittles commercials were inspired by Olivia Newton John.
  • Gene Kelly can play the clarinet.
  • Mopeds are slower than roller skating women.
  • Dubbing tap scenes was beyond 1980's technology.
  • Gene Kelly does not look good in a pink pimp suit.
  • Zeus can't tell time.
  • If you use the same group of dancers over and over the one Asian girl is going to stand out.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 1 min - Let me guess, each time the changing craft orbits we get one title. Darn, I'm right...
  • 5 mins - Where in the hell did we get dancing blue people from?
  • 15 mins - How did Gene Kelly get to the pier so fast?
  • 24 mins - Enough with the screwy dissolves.
  • 37 mins - Maybe I'll get lucky and these two morons will skate into that huge fan.
  • 49 mins - You got your 80's all over my 40's. Hey, your 40's are all over my 80's...
  • 60 mins - That disturbed me.
  • 73 mins - Dude, skate through the wall, it'll work! Do it! Yes, build up speed, go, go! What the heck, that worked? Gads I hate this film.
  • 90 mins - Olivia Newton John is singing country, everything going black, mommy...

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note xanadu1.wav Sonny: "I run into this girl this morning. Never saw before in my life; she kisses me and disappears."
Danny: "What's so weird about that?"
Green Music Note xanadu2.wav Simpson: "If you start making changes, then other people start making changes, and before you know it you have a lot of people running around doing what they want to do. That's not a company."
Green Music Note xanadu3.wav Kira: "You're supposed to be an artist. Use your imagination."
Sonny: "Oh thanks a lot; I'm all out."
Green Music Note xanadu4.wav Kira: "I come from Mount Halycon. I'm the daughter of Zeus."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipxanadu1.mpg - 1.9m
The movie starts with dancing blue people. I am saying my prayers and looking for some hard alcohol to dull the pain.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 13
Reply #9. Posted on June 10, 2000, 10:39:02 PM by Renata e Dani Dani
It's a cruelty to say that this movie isn't. It is SO BAD, it becomes wonderful!!! The glowing people all coming from another planet - which is Greece - the skaters as a way of transportation, it's great, it's social, it's political!!! It's like the traffic solution, you never know how much you need until you get it. Olivia Newton-John is the first Australian who plays a Greek in USA with the coherence of a German in Hawaii. Just loved it! (My friend is still going to watch it, she's concerned about the roller skaters though...)
Reply #10. Posted on June 16, 2000, 11:12:51 PM by Steve
Wow, your way off base on this film. Though the character of Sonny was miscast, this is a very good musical.
Olivia Newton-John is great, along with Gene Kelly.
The music has stood the test of time as well.

Instead of being labeled a bad film, hopefully one day this film will be appreciated and gain the respect it deserves.

There are numbers of films when first produced were labled "bad" films only to surface in the future, where  new viewers grew to love them. I believe this is such a film.
Certainly in the same class as say Gene Kelly's "Brigadoon",
which has become a classic.

Reply #11. Posted on June 20, 2000, 02:53:56 PM by Kelly
For my part, it didn't matter what the movie was like - it had Olivia _and_ ELO...  I saw this movie day after day when it came out, & loved it.  Not sure I'd have the nerve to invite anybody over to watch it, though, nowadays.
Reply #12. Posted on June 22, 2000, 11:02:18 PM by Girl
Xanaduuu.....I hated this movie!!! And the worse: the theme-music plays all the time at my favourite radio station! ARGHTTTTTT (I kind of like the music...hehehe)
Reply #13. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by ReesesMonkey
I have to disagree with you man. Ok i DO agree that it isn't Shakespeare, but, i have loved this movie ever since I can remember. It came out in 80, and i have been watching it since i was 4 years old. I guess the reason i like it personally is because i grew up with it, and when you're little it doesn't take much to dazzle you. Kids can be dazzled or scared by the cheapest of effects, and i guess that is what happened in my case. Xanadu always has had a special place in my heart (Especially for the fact that Olivia Newton John was one of the hottest women of that particular era in my humble opinion). Of course I have been accused before of having weird (read bad) taste in movies before, but oh well. Some movies like that have just stuck with me throughout the years, even when i have gotten older and found out they weren't quite as spectacular as my 4 or 5 year old mind thought they were at the time :)
But when you're young, alot of your impressions from those early times tend to stay with you long into adulthood.
Reply #14. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by AlphaWoolf
Wow.  I had no idea so many people like this movie, much less had even seen it!  Yes, I was in the target audience for this film.  I saw this in the theatre during its release at the ripe old age of 13.  My brother and father skipped this and went to see "Battle Beyond the Stars" while I watched "Xanadu" alone.  They came out disappointed and I came out entranced.  Before even seeing it I was a fan of 1) ELO, 2) Greek mythology, and 3) Gene Kelly (weird kid, huh?), so the "planets aligned, so rare" were all set for me to like this movie.  Throw in OJN (wow!), cool special effects, the Tubes, and a Disney-style interlude and there's no room in my heart to criticize.  It's got Wilfrid Hyde-White as Zeus, for pete's sake!

Still, watching it as an adult I can now recognize that yes, by accepted cinematic standards "Xanadu" is what most people would consider a bad movie.  Micheal Beck is his usual awful, wooden self.  The pacing is a little slow in spots, too.  However, there are so many great musical numbers you don't have to slog far through the plot before you're uplifted by the music.  And the cast does not perform this as camp, so any such connotations viewers may make in this regard come from their own view of the material.
"Xanadu" forms one-half of my "Films other people hate, but I love, made in 1980" collection.  The other movie being "Flash Gordon".  Oh yeah!

Despite the year of its release, "Xanadu" is not really an 80's film.  It's the last hurrah of the disco 1970's.  I think the "Disco is Dead" baggage weighed heavily against this movie at that time.  That's too bad.  This movie is great escapism and one of my favorite films.
Reply #15. Posted on August 22, 2000, 03:18:22 AM by Kelly
I confess -- I adore this movie!!  It's one of my guilty pleasures.  I used to own it, and I was heart-broken when it broke in my VCR (it was an original release tape, very old and very worn).  My father tried to fix it, but no dice.  I've looked high and low for another copy, but it's hard to find.  The only thing I wasn't crazy about in this movie was Michael Beck -- I mean, this chick is Zeus' daughter and she chooses HIM??  There've been some hot babes in Greek mythology and she goes for Rebel Without a Clue...go figure.  He ain't exactly the kind of guy that I would give up Mount Halycon for, if you get my drift.  He's pretty homely, and somewhat dorky.  Maybe she was slumming...  I should add that I found really only one thing completely unbelievable in this movie -- the fact that there's a huge mural of beautiful women in togas painted on the side of a building in a large city, and not one single gang member with a paint can had defaced it.  I live in Victoria, B.C., relatively small city, but I can tell you that if there was a mural like that painted downtown, in about a week there would be nipples and pubic hair painted on those women, or perhaps red eyes and fangs.  Other than that, a nice fantasy flick.  The music rocks and you don't have to think too much...I like that in a flick. :-)
Reply #16. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by nat
I don't know what u r all getting so stressed about? It's just a film, completely harmless fun. Olivia looked gorgeous and the music's great. Where's the problem?
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