Brilliant but do NOT read this if you cannot take it.
, 20 Feb 2012
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
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My wife and I watched the whole 4 Seasons of this priceless TV series. That means we sat through, on my best estimate,
about 57 to 58 hours of 'Prison Break' from start of Saeason 1 to end of Season 4. Amazing. I am grateful for the 'loss' of those 2 or 3 days out of my lfetime.
You will see from my review of the TV series 'LOST' that I awarded it a 5 star rating and said in my review that it was probably the finest television I had ever seen in my 50+ years. I stand by that. It was unbelievably brilliant. If it represents the future of TV films, then we can put its likes ahead of cinema films----and I say that as a film viewer who regards films as a passion : from the beginning of talkies in the late 1920s, through the Golden Era of Hollywood in the 30s and 40s, through the great age of Britain's once-excellent film industry ( from Ealing to Hammer), right up to the rarer great cinema films still made up to the present day ( though they are VERY rare nowdays in the 21st century : most cinema films now are so poor compared to those of 1930-1950, although I admit that every decade still throws up a great film or , if we're lucky, a few great films).
Of course, there will always be a crucial need for cinema films--we cannot live solely on films that last for hours !!
But let us put aside the debate about the ( almost-exclusively) poor quality of the present-day 'Big Screen'.
We need to look closely at gigantically long TV episodic films such as 'Lost' and 'Prison Break'.
We have waited so very long for the successors to the promising early days of such TV epics ( 'Roots', 'Rich Man Poor Man' spring to mind). This type of TV epic seemed to have died in favour of the old formula of SERIES rather than the episodic long films such as those mentioned above and the 'new wave' ,of which I have seen 'Lost' and 'Prison Break'.
Many TV 'SERIES' have been made---they are individual mini-films of up to an hour or so that can be viewed as single entities without seeing more than one of them or without seeing more than one or 100 in any kind of sequence. Of course, it helps with those 'series' if the viewer watched the start and also watched the various characters evolve and have a history; BUT that was NOT essential to their being watched and enjoyed as single 'filmlets'. I recall those such as 'Wagon Train' and 'Bonanza' in the 1950s and 60s , with hundreds more from that time and through the decades since then : from
'Kojak' to 'The X-Files'; from ' The Rockford Files' to the kids' series 'Buffy'.
These series play an important role in TV, and always will. Like Cinema Films, including those that go direct to DVD, they will always have their key place in our movie and TV lives.
But the episodic / serial TV films that are unbelievably long but need to be watched in sequence until the total film has reached 'The End' ( and cannot be viewed ever as an individual self-standing or independent 50 minute story) ....... are a fascinating genre that may be the future of TV films. I truly hope so, having waited since 'Roots' for the same 'genre' to become more prevalent after being so scarce for 30 years or so. 'Lost' and ' Prison Break' ----and possibly others I have yet to see---fulfill my dreams for this sort of very lengthy TV film genre.
I hope huge films such as 'Lost' and ' Prison Break' are viable enough to continue forever and to be maintained at the same massive quality level.
If you read my review of 'Lost' ( I picked one Season to review the whole compendium which went to make up that single hugely long film, just as I am doing here regarding 'Prison Break'), you will see that I gave nothing away about the ending ; I just praised the immensely enjoyable , rivetting 'serial film'.It was the best 'made for TV film' I have ever seen ( by a million miles), and indeed among the best TV of any kind, from sitcoms to documentaries ( if we can dare compare) that I have ever seen.
I am certainly able to praise 'Prison Break' in exactly the same way as 'Lost' with regard to quality and its amazing journey of knuckle -clenching excitement and quality from start to finish.
BUT, I cannot fail in the case of 'Prison Break' to provide a 'spoiler' review----and that saddens me ( I have never done it before with any of my 250+ reviews on this site).
This TV film, in its entire 58 hours, is brilliant but the ending is so heart-breakingly sad and unwanted by viewers that I have deducted half a star from its otherwise definite 5 Star rating.
The neding of this series sees the demise of the hero we have come to love , admire and believe to be indestructible.
It was so unnecessary to end the film , after 58 hours, in this awful way; and I hope Fox TV learn from their dreadful mistake----they are supposed to give the viewing public what WE want and not indulge themselves in such disappointment and devestation after we have remained loyal for so long right up to the end.
If I seem to have taken what is just a work of fiction so personally, it is because that is how great films are meant to be taken. We are supposed to be transported to a different place and enjoy pure escapism and entertainment, whether the subject matter be romance, action, thriller or comedy.
I was transported and rivetted by this film , only to be kicked in the teeth after 58 hours of viewing !!!
I am NOT a happy film-watcher after the end of this long and amazingly great film.
WHAT A ROTTEN AND TOTALLY UNNECESSARY ENDING !
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