I hear…a curtain call…
OK, so it’s not an Oscar nomination, a 5-star write-up from the New York Times or a country-wide expansion.
Even so, Marcelo Grion had his Sally Field "You like me! You really like me!" moment this week.
“Harkins just confirmed THE PROTOTYPE for another week run!” he gushered, via email with HARK Valley.
The theater chain giving a one-week extension for theaters in Phoenix and Tucson for his low-budget The Prototype is a major victory.
Indeed, it’s more of an extension of his 25-year dream to put his futuristic vision on the big screen.
On top of that, Grion has been eagerly devouring encouraging notices from a few online reviewers.
First, a plot summary: “Garrett Brown wakes up to a destroyed world 300 years into the future. His memory is slowly coming back thanks to drinking a blue liquid provided by human clones that survived the nuclear holocaust. Garrett remembers being part of a United States government agency and leading an investigation, in which terrorist aliens, plan to take over the planet.”
Now, a few words from the critics…
While pointing to flaws in the action sequences, Jacob Lewis at Movie Reviews 101 noted “the performances in this film are strong.” He gave the flick 3 stars (out of 4) and concluded, “The Prototype is a solid low budget sci-fi movie with great ideas helping hide the weaknesses.”
At searchmytrash.com, reviewer Mike Haberfeiner also said the strengths outweigh the weaknesses: “The Prototype is pretty much a perfect throwback to 1980s and 1990s macho action B-movies, where the physical always outweighed narrative finesse but everything was done to keep the audience entertained.”
Grion’s movie seems to have as much charm as the Italian-American movie maker, who earns his bread serving thick steaks to regulars at Durant’s.
Even a sword-wielding Jim Morrazzini review at Voices from the Balcony which begins with some blood-letting on the action and effects (“several scenes where the actors are obviously performing in front of a green screen”), concludes in a cheerful, give-it-a-shot manner: “The Prototype is a good example of what science fiction was like pre-Star Wars, both in plot and effects. Older audiences may find it somewhat nostalgic…Other audiences may find it a bit too low budget and amateurish, but It’s still better than similar films like The Alpha Code or most of what comes from The Asylum. So if you can sit through them, consider giving The Prototype a chance.”
On IMDB, 34 users gave The Prototype an aggregate 7.4 (out of 10) rating.
As HARK Valley outlined in a Feb. 22 profile (click here to read the story), Grion sank his life savings, went bankrupt and then poured MORE MONEY into a dream that would’ve made Rocky Balboa say, “Yo, Adrian, I give up!” But Grion took all the punches the nasty movie business had to offer, eventually bringing his movie to the finish line—landing a streaming deal AND a week of glory on big screens at five Harkins theaters.
You could forgive Grion if he was pinching himself last week, watching the movie with paying customers.
“People were in attendance, I was very happy to see that. Considering I had very little publicity, we are doing well,” he said.
The one-week extension is for the Arizona Mills (in Tempe) and Tucson Harkins Theaters.
After the extended theater run, people will be able to watch The Prototype from their own couches: “On March 8 it will be available on Apple TV and iTunes. The DVD will also be available through Amazon.”
Grion, now 48, was 23 when he started the epic journey of making a movie.
“I didn’t want to give up. I don’t even want to think about giving up,” Grion said. “My father is an Italian immigrant in Argentina; he sees the world through different eyes. I’m doing the same thing.”
Grion and his cast of unknowns (Mark Vasconcellos, Frank Spinelli, Victoria De Mare, Juan Antonio Devoto, John Marrs, Theresa Tilly, Bryan Kent) waited for years for these precious moments.
Everyone involved was “very excited, happy to get it to the finish line,” Grion said. “Hopefully the film will help them with their careers!
Link to trailer: