Most helpful positive review
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Way ahead of it's time
on 1 October 2004
This has got to be Woody Allen's daftest and arguably funniest film, but it's also brilliantly clever and was far ahead of it's time. There are echoes of 'Sleeper' in a myriad of films even today (The Matrix for example), and the 'deeper' issues raised by the film are as relevant today as they were back in '73. America in 2173 is a police-state, where every citizen is catalogued, chipped, recorded and watched. But Allen's character, cryogenically frozen after an operation on an ulcer in 1973 goes wrong, is defrosted and sequestered into the underground movement. All this goes on in futuristic buildings, surrounded by robot servants and electronic dogs, but is set to the ragtime music of Allen and his band, a bizarre idea that works perfectly.
Sleeper is particularly heavy on visual, slapstick comedy, alot of which is brilliantly funny, not least because Allen himself looks like a total space-cadet. But if Allen's attempts at silly slapstick are not quite your cup of tea, there is still plenty of material here to keep you amused. After being awoken 200 years later, Monroe (Allen's character) admits "I knew it was too good to be true... I parked right outside the hospital", and (an Allen classic) "My analyst was a strict Freudian... if I had been going all this time I might even be cured by now".
But yet again, it's the cretins who put out the DVD's who are to blame for the 4 star rating, as the film easily deserves 5. They really haven't gone to too much trouble. Extra features... only a trailer. Actually, it's the best trailer I've seen on a DVD, and contains Allen himself giving a mock-serious synopsis of the film. But the real reason I've marked it down is that someone has seen fit to change a few scenes around. There is an entire scene replaced, (atleast on the copy I bought last week), where Allen is eating at the dinner table and Keaton watches in stunned amazement. Not my favourite scene by a long way, but that's hardly the point. Instead, there is a scene that I had never seen before, where Allen is shaving in the mirror. It's hardly worth losing much sleep over (pardon the pun!), but it's irritating to know that they will just chop whole scenes without telling you before you buy...
The sound is pretty lousy as well... and the overall presentation of the DVD, like many other Allen films, is below par, hence the whole package does not deserve the full 5 stars. But, until they remaster it, this still has to be called essential!