Re: The Prisoner (2010 remake)
The original was awesome. My personal interpretation is that it was about a TV series. Why couldn't 6 escape? Because he's the lead character, and lead characters aren't allowed to leave their own show. Why the Western episode? Because TV shows do themed episodes where the cast get to dress up. Why was 6 being spied on all the time? Because that's what TV fans do, they watch the characters they like, and the characters don't even know they exist.
Aside from that there was the political stuff, character stuff, individual stories . . . but that was what, to me, it was about. The original explanation for 6's imprisonment was much more straightforward but also made very good (though not perfect) sense, and I can live with the "reality" of TV or the "intent" of spying.
The new Prisoner though . . .
The characters were uniformly uninteresting, by turns boring, unpleasant, or simply stupid. The theme the ending was trying to present was not supported by much of anything in the previous five episodes. Important choices made at the climax did not follow from the characters of the, err, characters. Mysteries were set up and then ignored by the "revelations" at the end, revealed motivations were completely inconsistent with how characters actually behaved, and the whole thing was a mess.
What really, really, really annoys me though is that given the final episode's explanation of the situation, there was room for a really great story to be told. It was a really neat idea with all sorts of interesting implications. But they weren't followed through and events in earlier episodes were nonsensical in the light of the final episode.
The best analogy I can think of is this . . . and STOP RIGHT NOW IF YOU DON'T WANT A SPOILER FOR THE SIXTH SENSE . . .
. . .
wow, I'm amazed I wrote that, but just in case there's one person alive out there who doesn't know how it ends, I feel the urge to warn.
The whole thing hinges not on the fact that Bruce Willis is a ghost, but on the fact that up until that revelation all of his scenes make sense either with him as a ghost or with him alive. So when the penny drops, you suddenly remember that no-one other than the kid interacted with him at all and it's all blissful. The kid even explained it by saying that the dead people don't know they're dead. It's great.
The Prisoner is more like . . . Bruce Willis arrives at the kid's house, the mother chats away to him, he talks to various characters normally, interacts with the world etc, but there's some weird stuff where people seem to not see him. And then - HE'S A GHOST! Then it's not "Wow, cool!" so much as "Huh, if he's a ghost then how come some people could talk to him?" The Prisoner gave me the very strong impression of being planned out one episode at a time. Dude arrives in Village. Weird stuff happens. Village is not what it seems. Crazy, unexpected revelation about nature of Village! . . . Realisation in viewers that if the Village was as per explanation, none of the preceding weird stuff made any sense.
I blame that Abrams bloke who did Lost. He pretty much went on record as saying that he made it up as it went along and explanations don't matter, what matters is the sense of mystery. No no no. Good mystery writing is coming up with an explanation that while almost impossible to forsee, is perfectly obvious in retrospect. It's not about the "Wha . . . huh?" - it's about the great feeling of everything fitting together.
(PS . . . there was a valid reason for the original Village inhabitants having numbers. They were dehumanised and turned into commodities, rather than people. Hence "I am not a number, I am a free man" - and 6 only coming to acknowledge his number after having spent some considerable time there. As opposed to the new Prisoner, in which there was no reason whatsoever for them to be numbered, and 6 was happy to be called that throughout. And don't even get me started on the concept of awareness/lack of awareness of being a prisoner . . . because if I start I'll be here all night. I was late for work this morning because of a 15 minute mutual rant with a family member about how terrible it was. Argh! See?? It's actually making me psychotic to even think about it!!!!!)
Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas
Quote:"I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot more if I had been understood."