“Prisoner” Needs Rehabilitation

While I’m waiting for AMC to refund me the 6 hours of my life I spent watching “The Prisoner” I thought I’d jot down a few of the things that confused/disappointed me about the remake. This is not a coherent critique . . . just questions and complaints. Oh, and a few positive remarks as well.

The predatory beach ball that guards the boundaries of the village was perfect—irrational and scary, just as it should be.

How come they pronounce the boy’s designation of 1112 as “Eleven Twelve” but the little girl, 1100, as “One Thousand One Hundred?” Is this the Village’s version of cultural diversity?

Location Shoots
The guy known as 6 believes he came from a city called “New York.” Couldn’t they have filmed a couple of scenes in the real New York? The city was so very not New York that even I could tell, and I kept thinking that the scenes in “New York” were actually part of the Village mind game. Geez, you couldn’t use file footage even?

Just Annoying
Why does 313 wear that silly headscarf?

How come the comatose woman doesn’t get to sit in a chair once in a while? She’s not that comatose.

Wait, there are bad motorcycle guys in the Village? How did that happen?

No matter how many Oscar-nominee actors you pack into your cast, you won’t be successful if you don’t have characters people care about, and a real story.

How It Should Be Done
“Where am I?”
“In the Village.”
“What do you want of me?”
There’s a story!

Where’s Eric Roberts When You Need Him?
Jim Caveziel (for which I started substituting “Jim the Weasel”—no fault of his, I just liked the sound of it) looked so much like a younger Eric Roberts that I started wishing they had cast Eric Roberts and then used their digital magic to un-age him. I was actually pursuing a concept that convoluted while I was watching the second night. Perfect proof that I was not engaged.

More Annoying
What is 313’s purpose?

Is it supposed to mean something that many/most of the Village people (sorry!) wear vanilla and sherbet colored clothing and 6 wears stylish dark jeans and a dark T-shirt?

What’s with the hand grenade?

What’s with 1112? He makes about as much sense as the hand grenade. He could have been an interesting, powerful character—instead he’s a retread of the guy from Brideshead Revisited. Do better!

Good Stuff
I read that it was filmed in Africa. That’s a cool thing. That and the beach ball; two cool things.

But Why?
Somewhere in the second episode, 6 cracks. He looks at the guy who he thinks is his brother and says, “You’ve shown me nothing but kindness, I’m sorry I’ve doubted you,” blah blah blah. The guy then says, “Don’t tell anyone but I’m really not your brother.” Why would he say that?? The scam was working!

Do the numbers mean something? They’re not prime. Are they a Fibonocci sequence? Are they. . .oh, wait. I’m thinking of Lost.

Who Cares?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, if you rotate the story 180 degrees and understand that 2 is “the prisoner” then it makes more sense. Only, who cares? Two isn’t a character, he’s a collection of tics. Ian McKellen tries to make him real by dint of some diligent acting, but even he can’t quite do it.

Good writing can almost save a pathetic story, but almost nothing can save bad writing. The scene with 2 advising 1112 to dance the night away with some sweet young thing is making me cringe again just thinking about it.

My favorite scene, which did nothing to advance the so-called plot, was the one with 2 and the store guy smoking cigarettes in the third episode. That’s good writing.

How does the comatose woman eat, in either reality? I never see an IV stand or a can of Ensure.

Most Annoying
I never cared for 313.

I wish they’d named 415 420 instead. Some people will know why. Quentin Tarantino, for instance.

Why didn’t AMC just run the original show?

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