Fat chance of seeing the 1971 version (unless you still have that VHS tape)! Lucas has "reimagined" this once-decent SF dystopia-vision to be now full of annoying and pointless CGI hoo-hah.
It's basically a cross between Logan's run and 1984. Not bad really, tries to be shocking is places but is kind of slow moving and ponderous at times, if not entirely predictable. Sometimes in the past I have watched it with rapt attention and fascination, other times it has seemed unwatchable. Get a copy of the unrated original version if you can. I understand it has been all cut to hell for TV and home video release, and those versions can be pretty bad.
While I understand the backlash against re-doing a film with new SFX, I wasn't as bothered by it in this particular film once I actually saw the 'remastered' version. (I mean, we're not talking about Greedo shooting first here! That's the worst thing Lucas ever did, IMHO.) I had seen the original version years ago, so I know where some of the new SFX footage has been inserted, but overall, it's still the same story I remember.Story-wise, it's a classic case of one man struggling against an apathetic and overly-rigid society to find himself. Interestingly, some of the problems in the film still have relevance today: apathy, rigid conformity, distraction via entertainment, 'backstabbing' for personal gain. It WAS a product of its times, to be sure, but it's still got some interesting things to say. (Maybe I still like it because of when I saw it, during college in the 1980's, and the effect it had on me then... I hadn't seen it when it was new, and wouldn't have understood it then anyway; when I did see it, I 'got' it and thought it was rather good for when & how it was made. I dunno, give it a try at least.)Oh, also, this was the first film I ever saw that had its credits crawl downward, from the top of the screen to the bottom. Symbolic of a descent or fall, actually, and not lost on me during my first viewing. Since then, everything I've seen that does this seems like a rip-off, though I don't know for certain if THX-1138 actually originated it.CR