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D.A.R.Y.L. More at IMDbPro »

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19 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Charming and original entertainment

Author: LukeS
6 January 2000

DARYL is an enjoyable and thought-provoking kids' film. The central premise is fantastic and high-concept - a rare thing for children's films. Daryl, a military experiment that combines the body and senses of a child with a microchip for a brain, is set free from his creators and settles in mid-America suburbia with a loving adoptive family. The high-jinks that result from an apparently normal ten-year-old who has super-intelligence living in normal surrounds is light, predictable and great fun in patches.

The coup for this movie, however, is the thought-provocation that arises from the evolution of Artificial Intelligence lifeforms to the point when you can no longer tell them apart from humans. This complex issue is dealt with sensitively and thoughtfully in the context of a film not aimed at philosophers or AI scientists (clearly, however, the topic continued to prey on the mind of one of the screenwriters - Ambrose went on to write the excellent novel, Mother of God, which is the "grown-up" heir apparent to DARYL).

The familiar faces of Mary Beth Hurt, Michael McKean and Josef Sommer are ideally cast in the roles of parents and scientist respectively. Equally, the young actors playing Daryl and best-friend Turtle are excellent. The set-pieces fly through with surface levity and implied poignancy in equal measure (how easy it is to dismantle a computer, how difficult when the computer is encased in the flesh and blood of a child). Stagey action scenes and the odd moment of wooden acting from minor support actors are the major blights on the film. Overall, though, it is fun and entertaining.

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20 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A Real Person - What It Means To Be Human

Author: (nordic2004) from United States
3 April 2007

For me, there is simply nothing not to like about this film. It is well scripted, the parts fit together seamlessly and logically, and everything is justly proportioned--that is, everything's in good balance.

And the best part of it is that the acting is never overdone. The main characters are really human and believable, and Barret Oliver's acting is totally natural and spontaneous.

So even though one has to suspend disbelief in the science fiction impossibility of the story (a mere machine could never actually become a human brain), it's really worth doing so, just for the fun of it.

Just accept the basic premise of the plot for the sake of the story, and then relax and enjoy a heart-warming display of what are real human values in a world where these are sometimes sadly lacking, and a thought-provoking consideration of what it means to be 'a real person.'

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19 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Another Great Movie from the 80s

Author: kris747 from China
25 June 2005

Well,I believe this is one the greatest movies from the 80s.I really love the movies made during the 1980s,although I was born in late 1986.Really,80s produced many great movies,like ET,Back to the Future Trilogy,the Goonies,Inidana Jones and many other ones.You can consider Daryl to be another kid adventure movie,just like the Goonies.This movie gives me a feeling that it has something in common with the movie Artificial Intelligence.They both have a robot boy who wants to be a normal kid,right?Yeah,however,I prefer Daryl to AI,Daryl is more realistic,like that suburban lifestyle around here the USA. So if you like kids,adventure,suburban life,and you're also nostalgic and sci-fi minded,I suggest you seeing this Daryl.

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

It's a cute movie

Author: Atreyu_II from The world of artists
22 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am fascinated by the 80's. It was a unique generation like we'll never see again. Its culture, its dressing styles and hairstyles, its charm, its lifestyle, its very imaginative and creative TV commercials like we don't see nowadays...

The 80's was also one of music's gold generations and brought us some of the best movies of all time, such as "The Neverending Story", "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", "Uncle Buck", "Romancing the Stone", "The Jewel of the Nile", "Herbie Goes Bananas", "Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and don't come back!)", "Frankenweenie", "Missunderstood" and "D.A.R.Y.L." itself, without forgetting that it brought us classic TV series such as "Knight Rider", "Family Ties", "MacGyver" and "Miami Vice".

"D.A.R.Y.L." is, in my opinion, a very cute little movie. More than that: it is a forgotten film and I'm a bit shocked with its quite low rating! It's too underrated, yet a pretty good movie.

This film stars one of the greatest child actors of all time, Barret Oliver. In fact, Barret Oliver is absolutely amazing in this movie and portrays an incredible character: Daryl. In fact, Barret Oliver won a well deserved prize of recognition for his performance in "D.A.R.Y.L." - the Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor, an honor also won by Noah Hathaway in "The Neverending Story" and Haley Joel Osment in "The Sixth Sense" and "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" (just to name a few examples).

Daryl is actually D.A.R.Y.L., an acronym for "Data Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform". Daryl looks very human, despite being a machine. Daryl, however, is the most sophisticated and advanced robot ever created, like a miracle come true.

Daryl is blessed with an extraordinary intelligence and amazing abilities. Plus, he's nice, friendly, sweet, cute, lovable and liked by many. He's the kind of boy any parents would like to have as a son and the kind of boy any boy would like to be. Daryl is so different and unique that he can light up an entire room.

However, speaking of Daryl's unbelievable abilities, let's see. At school he is even wiser than teachers. He can play baseball like no one else. He can interact with ATM machines and play video games in a way beyond our imagination. He can do house duties in a way that not even housemaids can. He can even pilot a SR-71 Blackbird in the most amazing way possible (this plane scene is just as impressing as those seen in "Top Gun") and is equally blessed with incredible driving skills.

Daryl is also a blessing for the Richardsons and gives them a new sense for life. The Foxs (their neighbors) are also very fond of Daryl, even Daryl's hilarious and cheat friend Turtle. By the way, I hope nobody named their kids Turtle in real life, lol. As if being Turtle wasn't enough, he's Fox too, lol.

Sherie Lee (Turtle's sister) is pretty. It's funny how her brother really annoys her whenever he keeps calling her certain names. She's well portrayed by Amy Linker. The silly kid Turtle is greatly played by Danny Corkill. Other talents include Mary Beth Hurt as Joyce Richardson, Michael McKean as Andy Richardson, Josef Sommer as the friendly scientist Dr. Jeffrey Stewart, Kathryn Walker as Dr. Ellen Lamb, the actors who portray the Fox couple and others.

It's an interesting movie with a heartwarming story. In general, this is a simple and calm movie, being often funny and light-hearted. It also has some action (without overdoing it), drama, emotional and touching moments, fun and entertainment. The concept and the idea of the movie is interesting and the movie is well made, being film-making of quality.

The ending is dramatic at first, but turns out to be a happy and fair ending. Daryl is repaired, brought back to life and returns to the Richardsons after a challenging and dangerous journey to escape to the cruelty of the United States Air Force, with generals determined to destroy Daryl and won't allow anyone to free Daryl. Our story has a happy ending.

I haven't talked about the soundtrack yet. I like very much the piano solo numbers and Teddy Pendergrass's song "Somewhere I Belong", which can be described as beautiful, nostalgic, relaxing, happy, sad, emotional and fits perfectly in the movie's final scene. The rest of the soundtrack is good too.

Despite the fact that "D.A.R.Y.L." can be considered a science fiction movie, it isn't totally fictitious. In my opinion, there's very few of "true" science fiction in this film. For me, this is more of a drama told through a simple but good story with a bit of sci-fi as well, in a combination that works out very well. It has also interesting stuff about artificial intelligence, a very classic sense of humor, nice special effects and a great direction by Simon Wencer. The phrase «A machine becomes human when you can't tell the difference anymore» is very valuable. Should be kept in mind and never forgotten.

Overall, this is another great, nostalgic and charming movie from the 80's. Another favorite of mine from that magical decade.

This should definitely be on Top 250.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Definitely has some to offer

Author: abgkasjlkasjla from Denmark
6 April 2008

This is something as rare as a film that while mainly(and plainly) aimed at children, to a remarkable degree avoids insulting anyone not of that age. The plot isn't bad, and moves this along nicely. The pacing is reasonable. The acting varies, but Oliver... can someone please explain to me why he never got more of a career? I've yet to see him suck. McKean is both good and likable. The special effects, while some are outdated, are actually pretty good. The sci-fi elements do hold some interesting points, and are handled well, not too simplified. The sense of humor certainly has its moments. Direction can be great. Editing is usually positive, and it has some rather effective parts. Cinematography is fine. For a kid's movie, there is a bit of language. There is also some violence, and a handful of mature references. This does bear some marks of being for little ones, if not many. Music is OK. As has been pointed out, this is a solid choice for the whole family. I recommend this to young 'uns, their parents and their siblings... as long as they're all open to science fiction. 6/10

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Underrated classic

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
10 November 2010

I love this film and feel it is an underrated classic. Although I am a 90s kid, I am very fond of the movies of the 80s, Amadeus, Clue, Back to the Future, Indianna Jones, Beetle Juice, ET, Annie, Secret of NIMH, NeverEnding Story, Stand By Me, Legend, Princess Bride and Who Framed Roger Rabbit to name a few. D.A.R.Y.L has very nice cinematography, colourful sets and costumes without being too fancy and good special effects, while the soundtrack is cool. I liked the script too, it was funny and heart-warming and the story was engaging and poignant as well as briskly paced. The direction I had no problem with either, while the acting is fine especially with Barrett Oliver who is simply wonderful in the lead. Overall, I think D.A.R.Y.L is a classic, and one of the most underrated films of the 80s if not ever. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Eighties sci-fi fun!

Author: Mel J from Dundee, Scotland
19 October 2007

'D.A.R.Y.L.' is an adorable little sci-fi children's film from the Eighties and will certainly conjure feelings of nostalgia in those who watched it as children. The film revolves around ten-year-old Daryl, who is found wandering alone in the wilderness and is fostered by childless couple Joyce and Andy Richardson. He quickly befriends their neighbours' son Turtle and goes from strength-to-strength in his new home. However, it soon becomes apparent that Daryl isn't quite normal. His intellect is vast, he has excellent sporting reflexes and acts in an oddly adult manner. Then, when two military scientists turn up at the Richardsons' home to retrieve him, it turns out Daryl is not a human child but a Data Analysing Robot Youth Lifeform, created in a science lab to serve the military. When the military orders that Daryl be destroyed, the fight to save him and return him to the family home where he was loved is on...

Barret Oliver plays the title character of Daryl, gives an effective performance and nicely depicts his character gradually changing from being odd and awkward to acting like a typical boy of ten. Mary Beth Hurt and Michael McKean, as Joyce and Andy, also give good depictions of foster parents desperate for a child, uncertain about the strange nature of Daryl yet coming to love him as if he were their own. Josef Sommer plays the scientist who begins to question the boundaries of what is considered human once he starts to know Daryl, the robot he created, properly. And Ron Frazier, as General Graycliffe who is intent on seeing Daryl destroyed, depicts his character in a suitably loathsome light!

Besides the nostalgia factor for those in their twenties and early thirties, this film will not only be enjoyable for children of today but, as we live in the computer age, brings up very relevant issues that they can consider such as what being a human means and why blood relations doesn't always matter when it comes to family. Daryl, for younger viewers, is the equivalent of Data from 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' so perhaps making this film a good choice for parents wishing to introduce their young kids to the sci-fi genre.

This is definitely an Eighties kids' classic but also one for all the family.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Fun and Enjoyable Family Movie

Author: carflo from Texas
26 November 2003

I like this movie. It is exactly the type of movie that often makes me so irritated with the critics. I know that it is not a great movie and it doesn't pretend to be. But it is just the type of movie I enjoy watching after a difficult day at work. DARYL and his family and his neighbors are nice decent people. The villains are properly villainous. They humor is light and fun. (I especially like the part where DARYL's mom is telling her friend about all the things DARYL does, like make his bed and iron his cloths.) The ending is wonderful and hilarious.

If you haven't seen it please do. It is fun and enjoyable and it is an excellent family movie.

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14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

The best feel good film ever,if you feel depressed go rent it.

Author: ( from France
3 December 2000

This is one of my favorites film ever.It's a very nostalgic film for me because I saw it a lot when I was small,even now that I'm 19,I have the video and I never get bored of it. Barret Oliver is just fantastic as Daryl,it's very sad that he stop acting because he was truly talented.Now that films are just about sex,Blood,and more sex it's good to turn to a feel good film like Daryl.I would also like to say that the title song of the film (Somewhere I belong)is very nice and the lyrics go very well with the film. My personal ratings would be 10/10

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A classic from the 1980s, one of the few kids movies that manges to be both touching and thoughtful in a mature way

Author: arahman from United Kingdom, London
15 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As with each decade movies from the 1980s have a very unique style that cannot be fully described in words but to those individuals who grew up in the era it is unmistakable. A true 1980s film is one that evokes hope, that any dream can truly be achieved, that good will always triumph over evil and that feel good cheesy music, colourful baggy shirts and inappropriate sunglasses will put a smile on your face. Whilst the most memorable 1980s pictures focus on comedy, romance and success (e.g. Ghostbusters, Mannequin, Wall Street etc) there are outliers that go in a different direction but still retain the basic heart of this era: the feel good factor. DARYL tells the story of a seemingly abandoned child who is adjusting to a new life with foster parents, the story takes a twist however when it is revealed that he is really an experiment in artificial intelligence. The target audience is primarily kids and family and such spectators are rewarded with all the necessary ingredients that this movie should have. It successfully touches upon the aspects of life that boys would see as fun when growing up and through DARYL the audience can fantasise about driving in high speed car chases, flying planes, being a star sportsman, video games player and being super smart. What more could a kid want in life? The movie remains engrossing throughout despite a slow pace as a result of a very strong performance by the lead character. DARYL is a thoughtful, touching, interesting and entertaining movie that despite being more than 20 years does not really feel dated (the true sign of any classic). For those who grew up in the 1980s movies like DARYL will always have special meaning as they represent an innocence and hope that sadly most of us lose as we grow older and cynicism kicks in. As a standalone sci fi family film DARYL takes itself seriously whilst knowing how to have fun, is thought provoking and delivers an evening of entertaining escapism for the entire family. After more than 20 years there are few family films being released today that can make the same claim.

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