DR WHO AND THE DALEKS
DOCTOR WHO AND THE DALEKS
Running time: 79 minutes approx
DALEKS:INVASION EARTH 2150AD
Running time: 81 minutes approx
Doctor Who - Peter Cushing
Susan - Roberta Tovey
Ian - Roy Castle
Barbara - Jennie Linden
Tom Campbell - Bernard Cribbins
Louise - Jill Curzon
In case you hadn't noticed (in which case, your cave in the Outer Hebrides needs cleaning) this year marks the 50th anniversary of the the television show DOCTOR WHO. Amongst the many other ways in which this momentous event is being commemorated (have you got your stamp set yet?) comes this blu ray release of the only two big screen outings for the daleks to date.
Now we say the daleks instead of the Doctor, or the Time Lord, because the films were made outside of the mythology of the television series despite featuring elements such as Doctor Who, the TARDIS and, of course, the daleks. In these movies, Dr Who is a human inventor, the TARDIS doesn't have a console and Barbara is Susan's sister.
As a result of these changes, many fans have a hard time with the movies and they have been pushed to the edge of Doctor Who fandom. Now, perhaps, is the time for them to reclaim their place.
What we think of the films can be found below, but we can say right here that we love Studiocanal. They come out with top notch genre films and give them great releases. The transfers here are superb. The films have probably never looked as good as they do on these discs. The clean up renders the colours bright and vibrant, even if the definition makes the wires holding up the flying saucer painfully obvious.
Chances are that if you are a fan then you already own these movies, but if you don't, then now is the time to get them because this release is as good as it gets.
The films are released on May 27th and there is to be a double bill release box as well.Top
DR WHO AND THE DALEKS
Ian pays a visit to his girlfriend Barbara and meets her eccentric inventor grandfather, Dr Who. He is shown Dr Who's latest invention, a time and space machine called TARDIS and an accident whisks the inventor, his two grand-daughters and Ian to a faraway, radiation-ravaged planet. There, they find a city run by Daleks, creatures in electrically-powered metal machines. They also encounter the Thals, a peace-loving race facing death from starvation. The Daleks wish to leave the city, but they need the Thals' anti-radiation drug to do it and they are willing to kill in order to get it.
Condensed from Terry Nation's BBC TV series script, DR WHO AND THE DALEKS is a bright and breezy romp that doesn't always make sense and certainly plays up the broad comedy aspects at times. Anyone looking for a dark and brooding tale of post-apocalyptic conflict has come to the wrong place. This is a boys' own tale of exploration, adventure and monsters in machines.
DR WHO AND THE DALEKS plays on its two main selling points strongly. The first is the fact that it has daleks. It has lots of daleks. It also has lots of colour. Television at the time was in black and white and so to see the infamous pepperpot aliens in every hue under the sun is less of a thrill now than it must have been at the time. They are still pretty impressive with their glorious reds and blues and black and golds. The inherent danger and evil of the daleks is maintained despite the day-glo colouring.
The colour scheme extends to the rest of the production with the petrified forest bathed in unearthly green light and the dalek city rendered in wonderful metallic hues. The sets are wonderful; big and brash and bold.
Peter Cushing makes for a lovely, cuddly Dr Who - exactly the kind of young-at-heart grandfather any child would like to have. He's not as brilliant or mercurial as the TV incarnations and has a fearful habit of forgetting vital bits of TARDIS equipment, but he holds the film together as the strong core.
Roberta Tovey makes for a feisty young heroine and Jennie Linden is a perfectly acceptable older sister, but Roy Castle is woeful as Ian. That's not fair really. It isn't Castle who is woeful, it's the character of Ian. Written and played essentially as the comic relief, his is the kind of performance that will appeal to the young and to lovers of pantomime only.
The film doesn't outstay its welcome, condensing the TV story down into less than an hour and a half, but it is a running time that is packed with incident and there isn't much chance of being bored.
The digital restoration is excellent and provides an image and sound that is as good as it is going to get.
BLU RAY EXTRAS
DALEKS:INVASION EARTH 2150AD
A constable sees a robbery and runs into a police box to report it. Instead, he is transported to 2150AD by Dr Who's time and space machine TARDIS. Along with Dr Who's two grand-daughters, they find a London that is crumbling and under the heel (metaphorically-speaking) of metal-shod monsters the daleks and their robomen servants.
Once again, the film takes it story from a BBC TV script by Terry Nation and condenses it down to a snappy running time, but the pace does seem to flag from time to time, which is suprising since there is certainly more than enough story to go around.
This production takes the daleks out of the studio and onto location amongst the familar sights of Earth. Once again, at the time of release the idea of the daleks rolling through our streets and emerging out of our River Thames would have been a great deal more impactful than it is now. Even so, removed from the studio-bound world of their dalek city, they seem somehow less impressive and dangerous.
Even so, there is plenty to enjoy with the action, some nice performances from supporting plays (Andrew Keir, Philip Madoc,Ray Brooks) and a very impressive flying saucer model (which suffers in this high definition world by having the support wires visible).
Peter Cushing was ill during the making of the film and so his presence is reduced, but he remains a very likeable Dr Who. Roberta Tovey is equally likeable in her reprise of the role of Susan, but Jill Curzon is given very little to do as Dr Who's neice Louise and Bernard Cribbins' turn as Tom is the source of the broad comedy moments for the kids that undermine the more serious aspects of the film.
Of the two dalek films, this is definitely the lesser, though it still has much to offer.
BLU RAY EXTRAS