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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

D.A.R.Y.L. (1985) (2019 Reissue)


Starring: Barret Oliver, Mary Beth Hurt, Michael McKean, Kathryn Walker, Colleen Camp and Josef Sommer
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: PG
Release Date: 01 April 2019

When an elderly couple pick up a young child, wandering through the mountains, they take him to the authorities. Seemingly, having lost his memory, Daryl cannot explain where he has come from. With no other idea of what to do with him, he is fostered out to Joyce and Andy Richardson. In the days which follow he integrates himself into the heart of his foster parents and their neighbours, but something is not quite right with Daryl. As time passes, he exhibits physical and cognitive prowess far beyond his years. His idyllic life is changed when his supposed real parents track him down, but are they what they seem...?

D.A.R.Y.L. (1985. 1 hr, 40 min, 13 sec) is a science fiction film, written by David Ambrose, Allan Scott and Jeffrey Ellis. The film was directed by Simon Wincer (Free Willy (1993)).

Set between ET (1982) and The Last Navigator (1986) the film attempted to tap into a family audience which made ET such a commercial and critical success. While the former film was a masterclass in emotional manipulation and the former provided a lot of humorous fun, D.A.R.Y.L. often falls flat.

D.A.R.Y.L. suffered from several problems. Even on release the computer graphics bore more resemblance to a commodore 64 than it did to a major Hollywood studio. Secondly the tension was more like Little House on the Prairie than it was ‘the government is going to kill you’. As the main threat the military are almost wholly incompetent. Nor does the film address some serious central issues. Daryl seems to be about thirteen or so, he will remain at that age as those around him grow old and die, what do they do, move about a lot or does he end up in some future brothel.

The actors do what they can, but in truth the script is at best formulaic, at worse dull. Add to that pedestrian direction and you end up with a movie, which isn’t awful, but neither is it memorable.

The film is presented with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, which is close to the original release. There are no extras. The audio is LPCM 2.0, which is serviceable if not that dynamic, but then the film rarely requires a flash bang approach, mostly being a domestic drama.


Charles Packer

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