2/10
Great Story, Poorly Told
14 July 2005
The makers of "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession" take a potentially fascinating subject and completely botch it. I have to admit that I only got through about a half hour of the thing, but I can only wait so long for a film to let me know it's going somewhere.

I'd never heard of Z-Channel before and was very interested to find out about it, but the filmmakers refused to present me with a clear context or history of their subject. Too much was assumed before any solid groundwork was laid. All I was getting was just a bunch of vaguely connected quotes about a vaguely defined subject and wild praise of someone I had been told nothing significant about who had apparently done something amazing, though what exactly that something was remained foggy. It's confusing and annoying to be repeatedly told of the significance and importance of something before that thing is fully explained. Maybe say it once, to peak my interest, but not over and over from different people time and again. Get to the point! Tell the story!

Now, I admit that I could tell that this was supposed to be the story of a movie fan named Jerry Harvey who was involved with the first pay movie channel, but that was about it--and I think I should have known more after half an hour! I'm pretty sure that other people like me, people who had never heard of Z-channel before, were similarly bored or confused. This film was obviously not created for us, but for people already "in the know." And that kind of seems to defeats the purpose if you ask me.
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