Sunday, July 02, 2006

Gamers Beware
In 1984 when Atari and Caleco Vision were turning active children into video game junkies, a little movie came out expressing the fears of the home video game sensation. Cloak and Dagger, starring a post E.T. Henry Thomas as Davey Osbourne and Dabney Coleman in dual roles as Davey's father Hal and imaginary hero Jack Flack. Cloak and Dagger is a classic story about a person who unknowingly has secret information (a microchip is placed into a Cloak and Dagger video game that Davey borrowed), and the spies that are out to get that information. The difference is that the innocent person is an eleven year old boy. Davey and his best friend Kim (Christina Nigra) lead the spies and assasins on a cat and mouse chase that lasts for the majority of one day. Because this is considered a children's movie, the kids themselves are portrayed as intelligent to the point that they seem to know more than the adults, who are shown as comical and dimwitted.
The story inside the story is about the relationship between a Hal and Davey. Throughout the movie they are extremely distant, Davey is mourning the loss of his mother through video games and his imagination, and Hal is mourning through work. Davey relies on his imaginary friend Jack Flack to confied in. Though the movie is full of chases, gunshots, and intrigue, the heart of it lies with the father and son relationship, and the ultimate message is one of how to deal with loss, and how to pick up the pieces when your life seems out of control. This movie inspired many children to pick up walkie talkies and play spy. I watched this movie as a child and loved it for its quirkiness. I still love it as an adult for its intelligent dialogue, interesting characters, and of course Henry Thomas.

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