- Movie Rating -

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

| June 14, 1985

D.A.R.Y.L. is a good-natured science fiction adventure that is fun for kids of a certain age – maybe 8 to 12 – but even they will have to admit that this movie doesn’t exactly set the world on fire with complexities.  I could imagine it being one of those well-thumbed novels for kids where the print is slightly larger and the plot is slightly smaller.

The movie opens with a mystery that is completely spoiled by the movie’s title.  A little boy around 10-years-old is alone in the woods near a small suburb.  He doesn’t know who he is, save for his name, nor where he came from.  Local authorities place the kid in a foster home of a nice couple who, it just so happens, have been looking to adopt.

They are the Richardsons and they are delighted that young Daryl (Barrett Oliver) has not only come into their home but seems to be the perfect child – a little too perfect.  He doesn’t argue, he isn’t temperamental and he makes quick friends with an obnoxious kid named Turtle who talks like he’s been reading the articles in his mother’s magazines.  Soon it is revealed, and we’re not surprised, that the lost little lamb is really D.A.R.Y.L., a robot whose name is short for Data Analyzed Robot Youth Lifeform.  And, as you might guess, his creators come looking for him and, in the spirit of E.T., are not exactly looking to give him the perfect life.

Up to a certain point, I kind of liked D.A.R.Y.L. as a sweet, light entertainment.  There were some sweet passages about the nature of humanity and how kids and adults relate to one another.  But then the movie falls into a predictable third act involving young D.A.R.Y.L. going on the run from the government fuddy duddies who don’t really care for his humanity.  They want to turn him into a weapon.  It’s all too familiar.  I wish the movie had simply stayed on its human level and left the chase stuff completely out.  I liked half of this movie, but I’d turn it off at about say the hour mark.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Kids