Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Prisoner Remake: 45 Years Later And Even Jesus Can't Replace Patrick McGoohan

A remake of the Prisoner has been in the making for many years, and as is usually the case with such projects, it tends to disappoint.

I managed to make it through the 2 hour premier, but only by finding something else to occupy my time while I watched it in the background. Let's just get this out of the way, The Prisoner is boring and generic. We start off with the Number Six, being played by Jim Caviziel waking up in the middle of a wasteland, with dogs barking in the background. He shortly finds a man who is half dead, and asks him to deliver a message to 554 to let her know he escaped. Six passes out, and wakes up in the Village. He's been partially brainwashed it appears, whereas most of the other villagers are completely brainwashed into their numerically designated existances, barely even understanding the concept of a world outside the Village, let alone believing that it actually exists.

Ian McKellan plays the role of the new Number Two, who is now a unstable psycopath, taken to carrying hand grenades in his pockets, and tossing them at random people, so far without pulling the pins. In a village brainwashed into knowing an idyllic existence, Two is the boogeyman, respected and feared, at his approach, everything stops, and everyone stands at attention while breaking out into a cold sweat. Also, he's paralyzing his wife with pills, and brainwashing his son... maybe.

I have a bit of a bias here, having just watched the original, and loving every minute ot if, because this is a very different show. Of course that begs the question, if you're going to change just about everything, why bother remaking it? Just create your own universe. What have they kept? There's a village, where everyone goes by a number rather than a name. It's more or less run by Two, and our "hero" is Six. Also, there is a giant balloon that will wreck your shit if you step out of line, it's easily four times the size of the original, and it shows up twice in the premier, only making it's token howling noise the second time.

Really, the biggest disappointment is Six. No longer is he a disenfranchised former member agent of an intelligence agency, who resigned suddenly. Now he's an analyst, for some shadowy corporation, whose job it is to monitor CCTV footage, and identify and track trends and patterns. He resigns after reporting that too many people are changing too much, too quickly, and is told to cease and desist that line of inquiry. Whereas the old Six was a man of integrity and character, possessing not only extensive training, but an intractable moral code, and limitless willpower, new Six is pathetic, after resigning, he buys a couple of beers, and decides to go home and drink himself stupid.

In the original series, Six and the machinations of the Island were equals, each trying to best the other in subversion and manipulation. Here Six is just another part of the experiment/machine.

1 comment: