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THE PRISONER (2009)
DVD Review by David Blackwell
 
DETAILS:  288 minutes (three disc set), two audio commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes
VIDEO:  1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO:  English  5.1
Subtitles:  English SDH, French
 
STUDIO:  Warner Bros Entertainment/ American Movie Classics Company LLC
RELEASE DATE:  3-23-2010
 
DISC 1-  ARRIVAL/ HARMONY/ ANVIL
DISC 2-  DARLING/ SCHIZOID/ CHECKMATE
DISC 3-  featurettes

THE PRISONER is one of the greatest TV shows ever created and one of the best mind-screw series to come from the 1960s.  Patrick McGoohan was Number 6, a spy who resigns only to find himself in an open prison called The Village.  Everyone is known by numbers, but  6 tries to escape and Number 2 wants to break him.  The people who put 6 in the Village want to know why he resigned.   Is it just a trick because they feel 6 is too dangeous to be left out in the cold or is it all besides the point?  THE PRISONER is a statement by Patrick McGoohan on the individual and society.   Also it is a great series that remains as a great cult series. 

Flash forward to 2009 and AMC has remade THE PRISONER as a six episode mini-series.    6 (JIm Caviezel) finds himself in the desert and wanders into the Village.   The Village is at an unknown location where there is no escape.  2 (Ian McKellen) tries to break 6 and gte 6 to accept the Village, but 6 just wants to escape.   Each episode of the series takes from actual titles from the original series.   The remake features a variety of chaarcters we follow like 147 (Lennie James), a Taxi driver, and 313 (Ruth Wilson) who is a Doctor who falls for 6.   Then you have 2's gay son 11-12 (Jamie Campbell Bower) who wants to know his mother that 2 always keeps asleep and wonders if 6 is right about there being another place.   The episodes runs two stories for 6 as we see him in the village and the events that lead him to end up there.

THE PRISONER remake approaches the show differently from the original which all remakes should do.   Ian McKellen makes a magnificent 2 while I still like McGoohan's 6 over Caviezel's take on 6.   The production design and South African locations paint a location you can't escape from.   A few nods to the original are in the remake while it adds so many things unique from the original concept.   I do feel the remake does take some time to like because I had mixed feeling with some of the things in the new take because I love what the original did.   The new PRISONER is a series that deserves to be rewatched to get a full sense of what Bill Gallagher was trying to do with his version.   It's not as good as the original, but it still is more hit than miss.

SPECAIL FEATURES:
The set has deleted scenes for every episode with ARRIVAL having over 10 minutes of cut scenes, two audio commentaries (for ARRIVAL an CHECKMATE), and a few featurettes on disc three.
 
Disc three featurettes:
BEAUTIFUL PRISON: THE WORLD OF THE PRISONER-  a making-of featurette that hypes the series while also covering the cast and production design.
A 6-HOUR FILM SHOOT IN 92 DAYS: THE DIARY OF THE PRISONER- this featurette shows various parts of the shoot in various locations.   They had some difficulties with the desert while they also replicate New York City in South Africa.
THE PRISONER COMIC-CON PANEL- the best thing on the disc and I love Bill Gallagher's recounting of his conversation with the late Patrick McGoohan on the telephone (McGoohan wanted to be 2, but he said McKellan would also make a good 2).
THE MAN BEHIND "2"- Jamie Campbell Bower interviews Ian McKellan during the filming of the remake.
 
FINAL ANALYSIS:  THE PRISONER remake isn't as good as the original, but it is worth watching due to being more on target than not.
 
this DVD review is (c)4-16-2010 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com 
 
"I'm not a number!  I'm a free man!"