Lifeforce: The Web Of Destiny Cut
I had never even watched the original version of this all the way through and thought it might involving a bit of suffering through some parts, but boy, did it move! I was riveted during the initial space mission. Woah! I thought this was a B-movie... it looks great for 1985! Tobe Hooper does great camera work to capture the astronauts' perspectives as they orient themselves in the alien ship. There's a lot of science gobbledy-gook in the beginning third of this film and the mechanics of this future world are a bit dicey, but the scenes are compelling nonetheless.
From the first time Mathilda May is on screen, every heterosexual male around is absolutely riveted to this film. The audacity of having her walking around naked is obviously one of the main facets of the staying power of this film. Before "Species", when had this ever happened?! They reportedly cast May since they couldn't find an English-speaking actress who would do it, and she's absolutely magnetic on screen. But the film doesn't stop there. You could probably write a college term paper on the psychological implications of how femininity is portrayed here. Something about the way May kisses open-eyed and hungry makes this not just exploitation, but about a kind of deeper horror and consumption. And the acting in general isn't all great, but whatever the lines were that were removed, what's left is pretty engaging... Hey, Sir Patrick Stewart! Holy crap, I didn't even know Capt. Picard was in this! In this cut, he actually gets his very first on-screen kiss (fun fact). It's all kind of uncomfortable, but that's probably the point.
This edit trims away the fat and adds in the right scenes to provide richness and context. It's all done pretty seamlessly except of a couple of the music cues. What great, insane fun this is. There can't be another movie like it. It manages to rise above it's humble beginnings and be more than the sum of its parts. Like the best of Roger Corman movies, it continually surprises you at how some part that SHOULD suck actually kind of doesn't.... much like a psychic vampire. Major thanks to JetSetWilly for one of the best and most fun edits I've yet seen!
I've always liked Lifeforce, not as "so bad it's good" but as a nice 80s update of a fifties style B-movie. But it's true that it had some awkward pacing in spots, and JSW's version does fix that perfectly. The edit does movie at a brisk pace, and is entertaining all along with never a good moment. If you listen closely, some bits do have slightly unnatural cuts in the music during the first third, but that's about as good as those cuts could be without completely clean separate channels. Nothing too distracting.
The only thing I miss is the complete opening credits theme, as Henry Mancini's score is amazing, but that was just the editor's personal preference, and the truncated version is well executed. Other than that, this would be my to-go cut of the movie.
Audio and video were fine, though before the one GB .mp4 version of the final cut I had watched an over 5 GB workprint that had much better video quality (obviously).
Recommended, particularly for nostalgics of 80s movies.
Overview - Overwritten, over-acted, overwrought. Lifeforce was the Swiss knife of Horror/SciFi/Apocalypse rolled into one howling package. That said, it has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, and I have watched it repeatedly in ever better formats. Dollar theater, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD. Sound and picture get better, story stays ridiculous. JetSetWilly puts the hammer down on pace, trimming superfluous dialogue, tightening the action.
Video - Technically excellent. Cuts are seamless. Lifeforce was always visually dark and all the blacks are solid.
Audio - Fine 2 channel stereo. I had a problem in one scene but JSW fixed that. Dialogue clear throughout.
Narrative - Ten minutes cut, and I had some concerns. Not to worry, most seemed like useless introductions, explaining who was who. Viewers will figure roles out in minutes. Otherwise, the narrative is tighter than the original and the story doesn’t mess around. A thriller that touches a lot of bases.
Enjoyment - Heck yeah! Nudity, zombies, spaceships, gun battles, Fallada's death-talk jive mumbo jumbo, Mathilda May in her absolute prime, cool Henry Mancini score, a movie that reeks of 80s excess. Sex, mayhem, superstition, science. Don't even get me started on Railsback.
What’s not to love?
A terrific edit of a B-picture that tried too hard and ended up absurd.
Thinking of Miss May, I say two tips up for JetSetWilly’s Lifeforce Web Of Destiny.
This is a fantastic edit of a cult classic by Jetsetwilly. Lifeforce was always one of those films which worked so much better in concept than in actual execution because of shoddy editing and dragging sequences in the original. Here the editor has cut away all excess material and given us a great film that presents the story as it always should have been: concise, graphic and interesting. Audio/visual work is top notch, no noticeable cuts or hiccups, and the narrative has been improved tremendously. If you're are a fan of space vampire invasion movies, you will be after watching this definitive cut by Jetsetwilly. Great work!