Retro Review: Sleeper

By: Emily Kellas

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

There was a combination of influences as I decided on this weeks retro
review, an odd combination at that. The new releases of Transformers:
Dark of the Moon, and the Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris came
together in a strange mixture as I decided to mix comedy with science
fiction. There in lies this weeks retro, Woody Allen’s 1973 film,
Sleeper. Starring the actor/director Sleeper is a comical look at the
widening scope of technology and what the future could potentially hold
for us. Sleeper is one of those Woody Allen films that never seemed to
gain the attention it so rightfully deserved, especially from science
fiction afficiendos. Starring the dynamic pair of Woody Allen and Diane
Keaton, Sleeper consists of both big laughs, and deep contemplation
about out future. 

Miles Monroe is the nerdy owner of a health food store when he is frozen and brought back in the future by avid anti-government activists to help them overthrow their immensely oppressive government. When the activists are kidnapped by the government it is up to Miles to explore and discover the future on his own, while simultaneously freeing the oppressed.

This is Allen at his absolute ridiculous best. Perhaps the most slapstick of his comedies, Sleeper is one joke after another. From the confusion that comes with discovering essentially an entirely different world, to the outrageous new technologies that replace everything from cleaning to sex there is an abundance of laughs. Allen’s nervous nature works perfectly with the movies overall tone of anxiety when it comes to the rapidly developing technologies our world has gotten so use too. Keaton does an equally stellar job as the naive conformist Luna Schlosser. Blissfully unaware to the government corruption, or the abundance of life running devices Keaton, and Allen once again balance each others neurosis only adding to the films humor.

The special effects certainly isn’t quite as advanced as perhaps Avatar, but the films fictitious technologies certainly inspired generations of science fiction films created after it, including the upcoming Transformers movie. Though the comparisons between the “orgasmatron” and Optimus Prime may not be as clear, Sleeper was the beginning of the switch from Monster and space related science fiction to a focus on the worlds overarching obsession with technology.

On the surface it seems as though Woody Allen and Transformers have very little in common, but when it comes to the world of science fiction, jewish nerves and bendable hunks of metal can combine to form genius. So as you rush out to the theaters with your friends to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon, try to remember and respect the film that can be considered its foundation, Sleeper.





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