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|Index||29 reviews in total|
I fondly remember this movie and watch it to this day. Its amazing how, as kids, we saw this movie in the 80s where a child is being chased, shot at, almost stabbed, threaten to have his knee caps blown off and shot in the gut, kill 3 guys (2 not by him but caused by him)and be held hostage...and it was a family film rated PG! Still this movie didn't dumb down the dangers of real violence, international terrorism, espionage, and dangerous people. A movie made like this today would make the kid a genius and the bad guys clumsy and stupid. I do miss serious films like this for kids. They never dumbed it down and took the audience seriously. Movies like Poltergeist, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dark Crystal (Which scared me to death), The Neverending Story, and more always played to the intelligence of the audience. Now all we have is fart jokes and one-note slapstick. When my kids get old enough I do want them to watch these 80s film and learned to appreciate good film-making, something lacking in the 21st century, and by box-office results, the audience notices it too.
It's movies like this one that are the reason I love movies. One of the
greatest forgotten gems of the 80s, "Cloak & Dagger" is the exciting tale of
deadly spies, imaginary superheroes, and ATARI. Henry Thomas ("E.T.") plays
Davey Osborne, a lonely boy who has escaped into the fantasy world of his
favorite video game hero - Jack Flack. Dabney Coleman gives the greatest
performance of his career in the dual roles of Jack Flack and Davey's
father. Sporting the coolest-looking leather bomber jacket and beret ever
seen, Flack guides young Davey through the treacherous world of real spies,
real secrets, and real bullets. Davey must keep an ATARI game cartridge
containing plans for an invisible bomber plane encoded inside of it out of
traitorous spies' hands, but no adult believes him, and he gets little help
from the only person who does - his even younger friend Kim. A young
William Forsythe co-stars as the gaming genius who unlocks the code within
the cartridge. And Louis Anderson also has a short cameo towards the
"Cloak & Dagger" is an excellent movie about a boy who must face the dangers of the world all by himself following the death of his mother and his father's preoccupation with work. Dabney Coleman's character of Jack Flack is the best imaginary mentor ever featured in a film, preceding the likes of Tyler Durden and Frank the Bunny by over 15 years. The ending is truly touching and inspiring. This movie also has a heartwarming message to it - that at some point, you must learn to handle life's challenges all by yourself. And also that the greatest heroes exist in real life, not in fantasy. "Cloak & Dagger" is a film suitable for the whole family whose time has finally come to get the recognition it deserves. 10/10
CLOAK & DAGGER is a wonderful film from the '80s, a touching story about a boy who has an overdeveloped imagination, largely due to his mother being dead and his father being a career military man who often seems too busy for his son. The boy, Davey, has an imaginary friend by the name of Jack Flack who looks just like his dad. His imaginary spy games and tall tales tend to get on his father's nerves, and there is talk of sending him to a psychiatrist. When Davey actually does witness a horrible murder and is given a video game cartridge with top secret plans encoded inside, he tells his father about it and of course he doesn't believe him. He thinks it's just another one of his son's tall tales. Davey soon realizes that it's up to him and Jack Flack to get out of this alive, and a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues with the spies who are after the game cartridge. This film is great in large part due to the gifts of Dabney Coleman. In a duel performance here, he's equally perfect as both Col. Osborne, buttoned up military guy, and as Jack Flack, the idealized, slicker version of the same man. It's really a great father-son movie, with plenty of action to entertain even the dimmest of children. Obviously inspired by the Bobby Driscoll classic THE WINDOW, CLOAK & DAGGER is a timeless classic for the whole family to enjoy.
Henry Thomas (E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial) made this film two years after
that incredible hit. Dabney Coleman ('Tootsie') stars as his father who is
a military officer. Thomas' mother has died and his father is busy with his
career. In the face of this, Thomas turns to an imaginary friend in the
form of a spy. With visions of his imaginary friend, he becomes involved in
an espionage plot involving government defence secrets.
Children will embrace this film as all of us at that age have had imaginary friends. The movie is evenly paced and builds up to an exciting climax the way an adult thriller would say in the form of a James Bond movie but while doing this the film doesn't insult the intelligence of children --- a lot of whom are more intelligent than we give them credit for.
Short and sweet: I loved this movie as a kid--now I'm an adult and I still love it. Yes, the computers and games are horribly dated. Heck, my computer from two years ago is horribly dated. That doesn't change the fact that this is a solid, exciting movie which is appropriate for most school-age children without being dumb or talking down to them. I know there's nostalgia involved in this, but kids movies have gone downhill since the '80's. We had The NeverEnding Story, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Secret of Nimh, The Goonies, Cloak & Dagger...what do kids today have? See Spot Run. ANYWAY, this is a good movie, your kids will probably like it (if only to see what video games were like in the dark ages) and you'll like it, too.
I particularly enjoyed this film mainly for the use of San Antonio locales, including the Riverwalk, Windsor Park Mall (a real dump now), Breckinridge Park, etc. I loved Dabney Coleman in the dual role of Henry Thomas' father and his imaginary friend Jack Flack. Thomas' character is a bored, lonely kid who spends most of his time playing video and computer games who unwillingly becomes the subject of spies. With all the advances in technology we have today, the games and computers look so cheesy in this film. Incidentally, Henry Thomas is a San Antonio native and Dabney Coleman is from my hometown, Austin
It's quite an experience watching a movie that you haven't seen since
childhood. Your memories of the film are filtered through an innocent
perspective you no longer possess, and as you watch the film again
you're struck by how different it looks to you now, even as the
memories flood back.
Some of my favorite films from childhood, like "The Neverending Story," have not stood up well as I've grown older. Others, I've found, have been enhanced by my adult perspective. "Cloak & Dagger" falls in the latter category. Interestingly, my overall opinion of the film has not changed. Back in 1984, I perceived it as a good but not great film. I still perceive it that way.
At age seven, I enjoyed how the movie blurred the line between fantasy and reality. That's one of the techniques that make for good children's movies, the recognition that a child's fantasy life can feel as real as anything else happening around him. And movies in which the child's fantasies literally come true seem like vindication to young viewers.
Henry Thomas of "E.T." fame plays a youngster mourning his mother's death by escaping into a fantasy world of adventure games. He has an imaginary friend called Jack Flack, a suave super-spy with a passing resemblance to the boy's father (Dabney Coleman, in a wonderful dual role). The father, a hardened Air Force pilot, loves his son but wants him to grow up, telling him that real heroes are those who put food on the table, not those who go around shooting people. That may seem a harsh thing to say to a child, but the boy does appear to be having psychological problems, unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality even though he's old enough to know the difference. So when he witnesses the actual murder of an FBI agent, who slips him a video game cartridge right before dying, the boy is the last person anyone will believe. He knows the murderers will be after him next, but how will he get his dad to believe him soon enough to stay home from work the next day?
What's nice about the film is the seamless way it combines the conventions of adult thrillers and children's adventures. The child as the murder witness whom no one will believe is a setup that would have made Hitchcock proud. I'm sure the filmmakers realized the connection, for there are many nods to Hitchcock, including a visual allusion to "Vertigo" as the murder victim plummets down a long stairway, and a plot that combines elements of "Rear Window" and "North by Northwest." Like the latter, the movie greatly exploits its locale. Viewers who have been to San Antonio will recognize many of the places, including the River Walk, the setting for a unique chase scene.
Then there is the MacGuffin of the "Cloak & Dagger" cartridge itself, a special copy containing information important to the bad guys (whom the kid perceives to be spies, but who may simply be mobsters). The Atari game looks quite primitive today, and the scenes in which the boy calls upon his geek friend (William Forsythe) to crack the code will probably not impress those who take interest in computer espionage. But that hardly matters. The filmmakers understand, as Hitchcock did, that the MacGuffin is there only to move the plot along, and is not independently important.
As the boy evades the villains, Jack Flack keeps appearing and giving him kernels of advice. Although we realize that Flack won't say anything the boy doesn't already know, he helps the boy keep his calm and use his ingenuity to defeat some dangerous men, while gradually learning he doesn't need an imaginary friend. This isn't like "Home Alone" where the villains are portrayed as cartoon idiots. The movie takes its relatively uncomplicated plot seriously and manages to make some sense, without feeling manufactured. While it doesn't pretend to be realistic, it does grow out of the basic truth that adults don't take kids as seriously as they should.
The movie also confirms, once again, that Henry Thomas was one of the best child actors of all time. A lesser actor could have easily sunk this movie, as indeed Christina Nigra, playing the girl next door, almost does. She is cute, but can't act to save her life. Thomas never feels like he's acting, and as a result we almost can believe in the absurd events even when we watch the movie as adults, long having set aside our own childhood fantasies.
Cloak and Dagger was one of my favorite films as a child and continues
to hold up well as time passes by. A reminder, in many ways, how much
Dabney Coleman's performances marked the years 1980-1985. Henry Thomas
remains in many ways one of a scant few child actors to make their mark
in multiple films (something Disney has struggled with in recent years,
even with the attempts to market mediocre talents like Hilary Duff and
Lindsey Lohan). And in an era where role playing games of any nature
were looked down on, this portrayed them in a heroic light-"Jack Flack
There are a number of skilled character actors who make up the supporting cast for this film, and the script continues to hold up to today's standards. In many ways, this film should act as a template for movie studios looking to craft a story for young audiences, as opposed to "Shark Boy and Lava Girl".
I first saw Cloak and Dagger when a substitute teacher showed it to our 6th
grade class. It was the coolest movie I'd ever seen because it was an action
movie about kids who solve a mystery and save the day.
Henry Thomas is Davey Osbourne. His entire life is an imaginary world of secret spies. And to aid in his games of eluding spies and dodging secret plans of assasination, Davey defers to his wartime hero, Jack Flack, an action hero that he has turned into an imaginary playmate as well as a father figure guidance to make up for an absentee father.
But Davey soons finds himself in trouble as the imaginary world becomes a reality when he witnesses a shooting in a stairwell. But, before the victim draws his last breath, he hands Davey a Cloak & Dagger video cartridge that contains top secret plans. And, while the adults think he is just playing another game, Davey and his sassy friend Kim and Jack Flack all try to solve the crime.
It is a great movie in part because you get a peak at the imagination of a twelve-year-old-boy and, once again, because a few clever kids get to save the day. It definitely looked like a fun movie to make.
A lot of people love E.T., my self included. I cannot recall whether I saw it in the theaters, but Henry Thomas became a household name after that movie came out. The truth is when I think of Henry Thomas, I don't immediately think of E.T., but of CLOAK & DAGGER, which was one of my favorite films as a kid and will forever be one of my favorites. And yet there is something truly bizarre that always comes to me while watching it. I've never been a fan of video games. In fact, I think most of them are stupid, a waste of time and money. CLOAK & DAGGER was a video game I believe (well, it is in the movie). Henry Thomas stars as Davy Osbourne, an imaginitive 11-year-old who loves his favorite superhero Jack Flack, who he likes to view as his make-believe hero. Set in San Antonio during the summer, the film has Thomas going to run an errand for a friend, and owner of a computer store, and gets involved in something he never dreamed of: a real-life game involving spies and a video game. No one will believe him after he reports of a man being shot and murdered in front of his own eyes, including his own father an Air Force sergeant, played just wonderfully by Dabney Coleman, who I've enjoyed in everything from 9 to 5 to Tootsie. The movie soon becomes a roller coaster ride as Thomas is attempting to get away from the spies before they kill him. The plot is riveting and believable, which is the real reason why this pulled me in at such a young age. I can't imagine an actor better than Thomas in this lead role. Coleman is equally memorable as his father, who also plays Jack Flack. Michael Murphy, a great character actor, is chilling as the head spy. I recommend this film for anyone and everyone. ***1/2 out of 4.
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