Konrad (1985 TV Movie)
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Konrad (Huckleberry Fox) a brand new 8 yeard old boy, fresh out of a can, PERFECT IN EVERY WAY, and supposed to remain as such. However, he is accidentally delivered to Bertie (Polly Holliday), who is far from "perfect". Together with Mr. Thomas (Ned Beatty), and a few unexpected friends, they fight for Konrad's right to be normal!!!!!
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Konrad was one of the best episodes of the series. An absolutely delightful little movie, with some of the best actors.
Of the many WonderWorks episodes, I can only remember one we enjoyed more, and that was Anne of Green Gables, a multi-week miniseries that may be the single best family movie ever made.
It would be fun to find these individual films (we own Anne on VHS) and put the whole WonderWorks series back together.
>>>SPOILER<<<: One scene near the end really puzzled me: in the American remake, Konrad is taken back to the factory and has to be freed by his new friends. There is an Orwellian scenery slightly reminding of "1984", on a simpler basis though. But what has that scene to do with Noestlinger's story? >>>SPOILER END<<<
She never intended to write a chilling utopian novel but a funny, witty children's story about friendship, parents and their problems, etc. So at this point the American film loses points. I cannot recommend this movie.
This was one of my favorite movies growing up when I thought it was far more chilling and dystopian than it really was. The scene with Konrad lying desiccated in the can after being opened haunts me 17 years later. However, coming back to it as an adult, I realize just how juvenile the premise really is. In this story, cloning isn't morally wrong, nor is eugenics, child abuse, imprisonment, cryogenics without consent or slavery. Konrad is not a human being, he's "another one of those fads of yours" and "a miracle of genetic engineering," as Mr. Thomas states. And how are these children constructed? Are they normal, yet enhanced human beings (like Star Trek's Khan) or are they designed to stay adorable 8-year-olds forever, their growth forever stunted like that of toy dogs? In that case, Dr. Monford is right in recalling Konrad from his chaotic surroundings. A child like him would be unable to function in the outside world and be subject to countless health problems, just like a toy poodle or a Shar-Pei. He would be so dependent on his controlled lifestyle that he would need a home where he and his environment could be constantly monitored. To be such a being, a living plaything at the disposal of the decadent elite, would be very depressing indeed. But yet the factory children wave their dimpled smiles as millions of normal babies are born and die waiting to be adopted. Indeed this is a great movie for children... if you want to teach them that their worth as a human being is calculated only by their value in the consumer marketplace. If you want to watch this movie done right, watch Little Man Tate, Gattaca, Star Trek II, or A.I. Oh heck, you can even watch Parts: The Clonus Horror.
'Konrad' is a quite juvenile 80's movie. It's not a great movie and certainly not "realistic", but there are elements of sweetness in it such as: Konrad coming out of a can so smiling and radiant, the immediate chemistry that develops between him and his "adoptive parents", Konrad's "perfection" (so much that he feels sad and guilty if he commits any mistake at all), the fight of the "adoptive parents" to bring him back home sweet home.
I found elements in common with 'D.A.R.Y.L.' (also from 1985): both are about a perfect robot-child who are so human-like in looks and personality and find a loving family and are brought back to their respective manufacturing places and face the challenge of escaping and returning to their beloved family.
Konrad was never meant to be delivered to Berti, but it is this mistake that brings new joy of life to this old woman.
Ned Beatty is great as Mr. Thomas, but Polly Holliday and cute as a button Huckleberry Fox are excellent as Berti and Konrad, respectively.