Rewind...
Rewind...

D.A.R.Y.L.

AKA:
 
 
A helicopter blasts over the camera fast and low, threading it's way down a huge gorge between mountain-sides and D.A.R.Y.L starts off with a bang.

We're right in the middle of a car chase with an older man and a little boy. The helicopter buzzes above as the car twists rapidly down a winding road mountain track. The old man pulls over momentarily, telling the child to get out and run. As the boy runs through the woods, the man driving the car continues the chase. We then see his car hurling over the side of a cliff into a river bed.

Soon after, the boy is found by campers. He has no memory of who he is or why this is happening to him. All he knows is that his name is Daryl. Eventually, he is taken and placed with a loving foster family. They have no children of their own and soon fall in love with him.

He helps his foster mother clean. He never makes a mess. He never argues with them. He is the perfect child. Daryl strikes up a friendship with the neighbor, a boy called Turtle. Shortly after they become best friends. Turtle is the normal everyday trouble-maker, while Daryl behaves perfectly.

Daryl can also do other things, things not thought possible for a child. As they continue searching for who he is, they realize how different he is from everyone.

Right as Daryl is becoming comfortable with his new situation, an old couple come knocking on the door. They say they have proof that they are in fact Daryl's real family! It's a tearful goodbye for Daryl's best friend and foster parents as he is taken away.

This is where the climax of the film begins.

We find out here that Daryl is actually a "Data Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform". He was created by the government in an experiment to create the perfect soldier.

When they see that Daryl has begun to fully develop human emotions and feelings, the scientists that took him away from his foster family start to regret their decision. Soon after, they regret it even more when the government decides to shut down the project and terminate Daryl.

Soon they are helping him to escape again...

Verdict?

D.A.R.Y.L echos the mood of the time in a storyline that reveals the wonder and fear of the electronics revolution that had been going on.

Remember that in 1985, the ordinary person only had access to a personal computer for the very first time. It had been only a few short years since the advent of the digital watch and calculator. It was a very exciting time where technology was moving at an incredible rate.

The idea of an electronically enhanced human, developed by the military, was probably very plausible and worrying to the average person.

Of course, we now know that the government had access to technology that frankly wasn't that far in advance of everyone else and no robot boys were produced, but D.A.R.Y.L, along with movies like "WarGames" are a facinating time capsule of that time and the paranoia of what the military would have been up to with all this wonderful new technology of the early 80's.

Even though some of the plot is cliched and predictable, D.A.R.Y.L. is a likeable wholesome movie. It's about growing up, belonging and friendship. It might be a weaker plot relative of hits, like E.T." and "Starman", but the film is still enjoyable.

As an aside, it was also particularly nice to see Josef Sommer playing the good doctor. Often given bad guys to play (because he does a great job of it) Josef brought a warmth, humanity and depth to this role that could have been so cliched.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: A good solid family film with lots of fantasy and action.

Weaknesses? A bit cliched. Tru sci-fi fans will be board as the plot is geared toward children.

Our rating: 8.5 out of 10


Review Written by Elizabeth Wright:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Elizabeth Wright
D.A.R.Y.L.