Trapped somewhere inside the reality of a forgotten science fiction comedy film from the 1960s called "The Monitors" is theoretical possibility for a darkly comic satire about life in these United States. "The Monitors" in its state of reality suffers from that incurable disease that curiously affects so many movies of the 1960s regardless of the period in which the movie itself is set: datedness.
The 1960s produced a handful of masterpieces of cinema, but for the most part the decade is populated with movies that latched onto every passing fad as though they were clearly going to become timeless. "The Monitors" struggles hard to utilize the madcap zaniness of first two movies of The Beatles while also utilizing far too many zoom shots and way, way too many musical interludes. Getting past these annoyances is hard, but if you can pull it off, you will find that its story of a seemingly benign takeover by aliens from another world has resonance today that should be exploited for the purpose of a remake. A remake, after all, should be relegated in part to doing right what the first movie based on a good idea wrong.
The title of "The Monitors" refers to the alien beings wearing bowler hats and speaking in a soft kind of monotone that nevertheless is effective at directing the human race toward cleaning up their act. "The Monitors" have anti-septic, homogenous, conformist sense of perfection that could be used to much greater comic effect today to describe the kind of world that we might have should a certain unnamed political ideology at work here in America finally get their way.
Take away the stifling awfulness of the musical interludes and the decidedly unfunny result of the attempts to impress a 1960s version of zaniness upon the satire working beneath the narrative of "The Monitors" and you are left with a story ripe for remaking. It need not even be particularly comic. After all, "The Monitors" revealed that one particular comedic take on the satire of benignly despotic conformity was the wrong choice. If the rest of the movie had taken on the same sense of satire as the running gag that uses television commercials to show just how much better the aliens have made the world, the result would have been superior.
That feeling you get when you watch those commercials within "The Monitors" isn't déjà vu. You have seen them before. Especially during the weeks leading up to date of publication of this article.
"The Monitors" is scheduled to remain available for instant viewing on Netflix through the end of this century.
- Arts & Entertainment