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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 ... 11 12 [13]
Re: Xanadu
Reply #97. Posted on April 06, 2011, 01:54:37 AM by Ramsey138
I've seen this movie about three times, all late night HBO or Cinemax... it's great for that... and I for one like the film, even though it's bad. It seems to mark that magical moment in pop culture where disco is falling out the door and new wave is stumbling on to the scene. The great rock band was the absolute worst! But something that made this movie awesome was spotting Sandahl Bergman from Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja as one of the Muses.

If Olivia isn't worth the watch, Sandahl's graceful moves (and hot bod) certainly are for at least a few glimpses!
Re: Xanadu
Reply #98. Posted on July 24, 2013, 08:51:35 AM by Trevor
•  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..

 BounceGiggle BounceGiggle BounceGiggle

Aww, man: I needed that laugh at the end of a long day - thanks, Andrew!
Re: Xanadu
Reply #99. Posted on October 20, 2013, 07:41:16 PM by DeanM
My sister and I grew up watching this film repeatedly. The main story, when broken down into basics, could have been a contender for the Oscars. Starving artist finds himself between rock and hard place. Terpsichore comes down from Olympus and helps him find a way out. Starving artist's work inspires many people and changes the world, if only a little. Everyone is happy, the end.

Sadly, this was one of those productions that was doomed from the get-go. One of the director's most important jobs is to make sure that everyone working under him has the same idea of the film they are making. Not only did this not happen, but it is pretty clear that no one consistent idea of what the film was about ever prevailed. Even during the climactic sequence, one cannot help but believe the director just sighed and said "yeah throw that s**t in there, we will fix it in editing".

As other writers have pointed out, it also helps when you base any part of your story on preexisting concepts, you best research the hell out of them. Say what you will about Michael Beck, he is the only one in the conversation with Zeus who escapes without saying things so insufferably stupid it makes one wonder if thousands of years of civilisation are coming to an end. Given the rest of the dialogue that Beck is saddled with in this film, that is worrying.

I also fail to "get" the hate for Michael Beck. He is no John Malkovich, granted (remake this film with Malkovich, yair!). But aside from Gene Kelly and James Sloyan, he is about the only person in this film who rises above his material. Given that he has to bear all of the weight of a very childishly-written protagonist, I think his ability is given evidence by the fact that the audience still follows his insane quest to open a roller-disco after the opening act.

Olivia Newton-John, dear Odin... she was so very, very wrong for her part. Granted, lead actresses who could dance were not in great supply, but they could have at least hired someone who knows how to act.
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