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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] 5 6 ... 13
Reply #25. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Ginger
As a MAJOR fan, I can't really say anything else about this film that anyone else hasn't already said.  I saw this movie in the theater on it's first release when I was 6 years old because I was already an Olivia fan from Grease. Honestly though, this is a junky movie.  And I only just realized that in the past 10 years or so (and it has hurt me to come to that realization).  But here's the major point: you have to be an Olivia fan, an ELO fan, and a child of the late 70's early 80's to love this movie -plain & simple.  If you aren't all of those things, you just wouldn't get it, and you never will.  P.S (To the guy that mentioned the KISS & The Phantom Of The Park movie - you hit the nail on the head.  REALLY, REALLY bad campy 70's garbage, but to me a KISS fan also, it was pure gold.
To each his own!
Reply #26. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by MissMoonglow
Come come a seventh grade girl I saw this film and bought rollar skates immediately, complete with sparkly legwarmers! As time goes by, I do see it for the laughable attempt it was, yet I still love it. However, I am embarrassed for poor old Gene Kelly. You can tell by the look on the guy's face, especially during the godawful 'pinball' sequence, that he's wishing he should have ripped up his contract before ever stooping to this. Sure Olivia taps badly, but the gal got to tap badly with GENE KELLY! How many of us can say that?? Just like the creepy Pufnstuf episodes, it's something you just had to grow up with to love. (clap-clap - HO!)
Reply #27. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Sandyl
I love Xanadu and the music of ELO and ONJ.  Great fantasy movie when you need a break from reality.
Reply #28. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Jamie
Saw it again with my fiancee the other night, after telling her it was a silly guilty pleasure of mine (I was 23 when I saw it twice in one day in 1980). It is possibly the most overdubbed American movie (what, they did the original in Cantonese??) ever made, and for a musical, is annoyingly awful in sound editing. Having said that, however, it remains a great guilty pleasure, if for nothing else than the Kelly/ONJ dance scene. Kelly pulls off the scene by being so light, carefree and unaffected that I was struck by how romantic dancing was (even if I have two left feet). The Blume cartoon is stunning for its odd placement (fish? bird?) and Beck appears to be the first anorexic male actor of the '80s when he's skating through Malibu looking for Kira/mural. Goofy effects, silly plot. But there's an exuberant energy that leaves a grin on your face. Also, knowing that ONJ seduced the young Lattanzi wasn't a bad fantasy for us fellas!

Reply #29. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Kirette
Yes-Michael Beck DOES look like ANdy Gibb. I personally find him a fox, but, there you go.
Fun movie-I have the DVD-it could have been better, and it was botched. I love musicals, but this one did have ELO and ONJ and Kelly. Long live Xanadu!
Reply #30. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by ņH
  Xanadu is probably the greatest movie ever made...the only possible exception would be a masterpiece known as KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park! I mean,c'mon! A super-fine chic magically comes out of a wall to talk some guy with a bad attitude into quitting his job,and opening a roller-skating rink where she can sing a couple of songs!!! How can you top that???
Reply #31. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Shayna
Okay, I admit it, I'm notorious for loving bad movies.  I love "Joe vs. the Volcano", "SGT. Pepper", and "Night of the Comet", but I loved "Xanadu" first!  It's NOT about some ridiculous romance or roller-skating!  It's about magic!  It's about being silly and dreamy and seeing the Tubes and a big band do a duet.  If you think of it as a string of music videos that captures the late 70's early 80's, it is the original MTV.
Reply #32. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Wayne
One of the best things about Xanadu is reading the reviews.  Yours is quite entertaining, Andrew, and pretty much right on the money.  "Maybe I'll get lucky and these two morons will skate into that huge fan."  Bwah-ha ha!!!

The intriguing thing to me about Xanadu is that despite it being a terrible movie in almost every measurable sense, I still love it.  'Course, I first saw it when I was twelve, so I guess you have to take that into account.  I can't imagine what I'd think if I saw it for the first time today!

But how many movies do you see these days which launch themselves so freely into fantasy to deliver such a simple, light-hearted message?  Hell, even kids' animated films are heavier these days!  Xanadu doesn't have a mean bone it its body, and that's gotta count for something.
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