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||IMDB Rating: 6.0/10 from N/A votes
||Release: 07 Dec 1983 /
||Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
||Director: David Greene,
||Stars: Drama, Sci-Fi
||Synopsis: An intelligent android (Michael) constructed by a research team is taken outdoors and successfully passed off as human in a trial run. When the government hears of this, they order their ...
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Forget the campy alien-on-earth cliché treatments. PROTOTYPE delivers
the smartest dialogue yet to be seen in SF film, in a contemporary of
Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN.
In a performance that brings smart dialogue and simple but telling
cinematography to a deserving SF-savvy audience, Richard Levinson and
William Link mark a cerebral triumph in this 1983 TV film starring
Christopher Plummer, David Morse and Frances Sternhagen - recently in
DVD re-release. With such a well thought-out script, one is left to
guess that the film was derived from the theatrical likes of Peter
Schaffer or Arthur Miller, but with a tight and wholly spec-fic basis
from classic SF matriarch Mary Shelley. In this unabashed homage to
that story which began a genre, artificial life is brought to casual
life as we know it - a curiosity, a property, a fellow living thing,
and finally an entity in search of its purpose, place and destiny.
'Michael', the culmination of years of research by a Pentagon-sponsored
program to develop a mechanical man, is introduced to us just as
creator and mentor Forrester introduces it to an unsuspecting Mrs.
Forrester, in an impromptu Turing test weeks ahead of schedule.
Afterwards, convinced that the successes in the creature's first
experience outside the controlled environment of the lab are a
milestone in their careers, Forrester's research team discovers that
instead of celebrating, they should now fear the control which the
government has been preparing to exert all along. Forthwith, Forrester
and his mechanical man go AWOL from the doctor's work, his team, and
his own personal life - to see his creation through to its own
There is no high speed chase scene. There are no gun battles, and no
hunchbacked, ghastly half-made man shambling amok about the countryside
terrorizing innocents. Only this bright and responsive albeit naive
young man who never blinks, drinks, or realizes when he tells a
stupefyingly appropriate joke. With this unseemly Pinnochio goes the
doctor, a man who finds himself questioning his own intents and purpose
as he tries to defend his life's work from those who would 'alter' it -
perhaps to turn Michael to military ends, or to tap the knowledge of an
artificial mind for more ... human ... purposes. The villain is only
the looming threat of misuse of a great thing.
The film makes you think. Hard, too, because its social commentary and
hypothesis is presented in a most stripped-down and unpretentious
format, unencumbered by anything by which it could become dated or
trivialized - no high budget special effects or quasi-horrific makeup
cloud this film and no glib, idiotic dialogue or cornball voice-over
pollutes it. In short, PROTOTYPE is a mind-grower not a mind-blower.
Think of PHENOMENON without nonsense, or STARMAN without the glam of
superhuman ability. DARYL without any kid stuff.
For all it's worth, 'Michael' is human enough that you want to cry at
the mistreatment doled out to him for his innocence, but at the same
time you are morally lost with Forrester, who is doggedly naive in
attempting to save him. In the end the only thing that gives hope is
the basis for the title: PROTOTYPE is only the first, and of course
there can be more.
If the shuttle's Canadian-made robot arm had a thumb, it would be up.
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