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3.6 out of 5 stars
The Prisoner [Blu-ray]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 October 2013
When this version of The Prisoner was on TV I know it got a lot of criticism. Then, even more, with the home entertainment version. It seemed like everyone hated this production. As I was not a fan of the original series (I thought the big ping-pong ball was just stupid!) I had only read reviews because of the actors in this version.

However, as the years have gone by the blu-ray has got cheaper and cheaper. Finally, last year, I decided to buy it. Then it sat on the shelf until a couple of days ago. For whatever reason, I simply couldn't get in the mood to watch it...partly because of my pre-conceptions about that stupid ball and because of the reviews when it was made.

Anyway, I finally got around to watching. I thought: "I'll just watch the first episode, and if I don't like it, I'll get rid of it". Ha! Not gonna happen! I watched the entire thing straight through and really enjoyed it. Is it perfect? No. There are a few moments where I thought it was trying to be too clever for its own good. It also felt a little rushed at one point (episode 4, I think). But, overall, I thought this was an intelligent, clever and thoroughly entertaining piece of science-fiction TV.

And the stupid ping-pong ball? Not stupid at all. Actually a pretty good explanation for that and used sparingly and to great effect. Who knew?!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2013
This miniseries had not been heralded as a reboot or a remake but as a re-interpretation, so I gave it the benefit of a doubt and tried to restrain myself not to compare it too much with Patrick McGoohan's original and timeless television classic.

The presentation in terms of filmmaking quality is impeccable (and enjoyable to watch on Blu-ray). The "new" Village is a fascinating variation of Portmeirion (a major inspiration which compelled McGoohan to create his "Prisoner"), and I sympathize that it was tempting to use the location in Namibia to create this re-interpretation.

Of course the new Number Six equally tries to leave this Village but where the original series had episodes featuring themes that stood on their "own feet" the re-interpretation is apparently story-arc and mystery driven, trying to captivate the audience to learn what it's all about but also trying the audience's patience. I found the new Village to be much more dystopian, where it often seemed that everybody was spying on its neighbour. And already a little nonconformist act brought the cruel and merciless Number Two (excellent performance by Sir Ian McKellen) and the whole Village apparatus down on the offender. This was much more "1984" than the original series.

But even as a re-interpretation the inevitable question has to be what is there to justify the allusions to the original series?
Patrick McGoohan himself stated in later years that while the Village was some metaphor for society and how the nonconformist individual copes with it, most important was how Number Six (and all of us) dealt with the worst enemy which is not society but the Number One in each of us, hence the strange and metaphorical last episode "Fallout" of the original series.

During "Schizoid", the fifth episode of the new series, it seemed that McGoohan's last intention had been considered. But that didn't really become clear, and eventually all the previous flashbacks of the world outside the Village came together with the real time events to some sort of conclusion and explanation.

Personally, I found it debatable and considering the 1984-dystopy we had come to see and experience previously in the Village rather contradictory. I don't think anybody with a choice, regardless of state of mind, would want to live in such a place (better suited as punishment for criminal offenders than others).

In Tarkovsky's original SOLARIS (1972) the main protagonist had come to accept responsibilty for his actions or inactions and had mostly sobered up by the end of the film, while in the remake he ended in a fake dreamworld as if the George Clooney character had decided to swallow the blue pill instead of the red one.
In that sense THE PRISONER re-interpretation reminded me too much of the SOLARIS remake. I can't imagine Patrick McGoohan would have participated had he known how this prisoner would end.

Beautifully photographed with fine actors it has good and enigmatic, chilling moments. But where the original series offered debate potential on how to interpret the actual ending with imagination, the interpretation of the ending in the new series is rather clear, yet the outcome is debatable in terms of credibility and ethical behaviour previously displayed by the protagonists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2015
Not a bad series, not as good as the original but still not too bad, I wouldn't say it's brilliant, takes a lot to get into but worth it, if you liked the original then try and watch this before you buy it as some people couldn't get it. Picture is brilliant and all episodes are present.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
It's unfair to compare this with the original, in its day the original was daring and dangerous, perhaps a sign of the times where the brilliant concept captured the time. Fast forward 40 years and this glossy remake just doesn't cut it for me - the mystery has been replaced by expensive sets and a predictable script and a large dollop of ham from the two leads.

AND WHERE ARE THE SUPERB OPENING TITLES?
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2010
I am really sorry - but this was a real disappointment to me. I have been an avid fan of the original Prisoner series with books, videos, DVD's and the BluRay collection. When I saw this I thought that the mystery and intrigue would have continued - but to me it did not. I am afraid that every time I try to watch it - it is one of those series that sends me to sleep - I keep watching episodes again and again - but still the answer is no - this is not for the real die hard Prisoner viewer.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I was quite keen on watching this series, as it stars two of Hollywood's talented actors - Ian McKellen and Jim Caviezel. Sad to say, not even their talents could make me give this series a positive review. It is a waste of precious time.

There are numerous plot holes in the story, and the characters are two-dimensional and totally unconvincing. There is a complete lack of logic to the series, and the ending is most disappointing. I thought I would watch it right through, hoping it would improve, but instead it just worsened and frustrated me no end! In fact, I still wonder how in heaven's name I could have allowed myself to watch the entire fatuous series! I suppose it was because I wanted to know how it would end, but it truly wasn't worth it.

For example: in one episode, one of the main characters is arrested and sent to the Tunnels. She is then subsequently rescued - but it isn't explained fully how - and in the next episode, she is right back in her job as a doctor, with no police looking for her for having escaped! Logical? I think not! Then there is the incident where 6 gets a deadly "virus" called "Village Death". Now I ask you: if a man is deathly ill with an incurable disease, would he be stumbling around the village, going from aimless place to aimless place instead of lying in a hospital bed? Weird? Definitely. Idiotic? Without a doubt. Feverishly foolish? Hahaha - need I answer that?

In general, this series isn't worth buying on blu-ray, although the scenes of the Namib desert are beautiful, but that's about it. The less said about this pathetic series the better. Don't let it take you prisoner - give it a complete miss! :)
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
This is a huge disappointment.
It is an Americanised version set in a desert somewhere.
I thought the acting second rate, Jim Caviezel has all the charm of a plank of wood.
The stories are confused drivel and the first 4 episodes are boring.
I have stopped watching and will not see the last two instalments.
Really bad, do not waste your money, rent it instead and then you can return it.
DO NOT BUY this crap.
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on 24 August 2014
Interesting series, even though the links with the original British series are only a few
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14 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2010
The original 'Prisoner' in the 60's was iconic but at the time not particularly popular. It did get cancelled. It gained a cult audience and grew in stature over the years, especially with the emphasis in the intervening years of the vast incursion of lowest common denominator onto our TV screens.

The new prisoner looks set to have pretty much the same reaction by the general audience who are content with their populist, nihilistic - idiotic spoon fed programming and confrontational freak show TV.

The new prisoner is an intelligent updating though it differs a lot of the original concept. Except the new version gets a double whammy - the general audience don't have the patience to watch something with intelligent ideas and the original fans for some bizarre reason want the new version to be exactly the same as the old one. This quality series was on a loser before a single word had been written on Bill Gallaghers script page. What a redundant concept.

The new version will pick up another cult audience and like the previous one this will sustain it over the years. It is over 40 years since the original McGoohan classic and society has moved on somewhat from then, the cold war is over, nuclear threat isn't as dominant as it once was and new fears are impinging on us on an individual and societal level.

No 6 of McGoohan's time would have a hell of a job surviving the new century intact. Caviezel's character is not of the 60's but the different cultural landscape both psychologically and physically of the 2000's. There is some clever scripting here and many levels to ponder. The subterranean levels of the village reflect the pressures and subconscious pressures of our own. Appearances are deceiving beneath the glossy and apparently safe/exterior of the perfect village.

In stark contrast to McGoohan's steadfast no 6 - Caviezel is more human and vulnerable character and all the inhabitants of the village are pretty much insecure and afraid to become more than themselves. The main performances are excellent, Ian McKellan as the only no 2 is brilliant as are the rest of the main cast. The new village has some of the quirkiness of the original and there are philosophical/psychological aspects to be explored. A favourite is that of no 2's answer to the secret of life....'It is merely to breathe in.....and breathe out.'

6 episodes of intelligent and complex ideas. If you enjoy drama that makes you think then i suggest you watch this - because drama of this quality is becoming a rarity indeed on our TV screens.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2010
Just finished watching this again, after the TV transmission, and the Blu-Ray quality is breathtaking (every grain of sand, individual specks of dust on a shelf etc.) it really shows off the format.

I've loved the original Prisoner for years and this too is an excellent series. It's definitely more of a reinterpretation than a remake though which shows how strong the original series idea was. Forget any prejudices that "it's not like the original Prisoner" what would be the point of that anyway? Although there are enough little touches that those familiar with the original will recognize.

If there's one quibble it's simply that Jim Caviezel is not gripping as No 6 but as he's supposed to be an everyman cipher he's acceptable.

The ending is the icing on the cake too.
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