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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2008
For any Who fan the TV Movie is definitely worth another look.
All though it was much lambasted by some at the time the TV Movie aged surprisingly well. To set things up first you must remember that Doctor Who was unceremoniously cancelled in 1989, the last show, Survival, aired December 6th of that year. From the moment it was cancelled fans did everything possible to convince the BBC to renew the series. Nothing worked, the BBC seemed rather glad to be done with Doctor Who.
A successful Book series was launched (The New Adventures of Doctor Who)with some fans becoming writers (like Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss, Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat [IMHO Moffat wrote one of the best short stories of the era]) filling the gap left when the Doctor left the air and kept the stories moving forward.

Enter 1996 and the TV Movie unofficially titled "Enemy Within", some how the Americans became involved and were instrumental in resurrecting the series. All though the story leading to how they became involved is a long meandering one full of narrowly avoided pitfalls.

To reintroduce the show the producers took a cheat using one of the most uniquely Doctor Who gimmicks, regeneration. They would use the introduction of a "New Doctor" to lay out an outline of who's Who and what the series was about. It worked, good, bad and ugly, it worked.
Sure mistakes were made and some things were changed that were better off left alone. But on the whole this was a loving homage to a series America knew very little about.

The cloister bell rings and Paul McGanns outstanding voiceover sets the stage. The theme music is retooled to sound like it would have without Delia Derbyshire's revolutionary interpretation, a mistake IMHO but one worth listing to.
TV Movie begins after an intro with the 7th Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) finally out of the ridiculous question marked costume that 80's Who producer (JNT) insisted upon. For the first time since the 80's the Doctor looks distinguished -in his own eccentric way of course. The TARDIS interior looks wonderful! About time that we see what this multiphasic, multideminsional ships interior is capable of looking like. More than a couple of corridors filmed in an empty BBC building or a crumbling set of second hand Styrofoam.
Also (IMO)the Doctor looks comfortable in the TARDIS, completely at home and the TARDIS really feels like his home even with the quasi museum/library deco, or maybe because of it.

I won't go in the details of the plot just in case you are one of the few who hasn't seen it yet, perhaps one of the new series fans (who weren't born with this first aired ;) )
Instead I'll concentrate on what they got right. The Master's eyes (ala Survival), the seal of Rassilon, The Cloister room and the eye of harmony (some set pieces reused in final SG1 seasons, if you've got a good eye for it you'll catch it), TARDIS controls (instead of the futuristic flashing buttons they went for a retro Victorian look that felt right for the Time Lords.), the half Human revelation fed right into the shows mythology about the Doctor being Merlin, The Cloister bell, and last but not least the New Doctor Paul McGann, perhaps one of the best casting choices since Tom Baker (and before David Tennant).

The TV movie has one of the most gripping Regeneration sequences in the shows history, the 7th Doctor dies screaming and alone. The 8th Doctor wonders around lost and still injured. Sad really, the Doctor always has a companion around who (with the audience) mourns the passing of the old Doctor and helps the new one get on his pins.
There is a very alien feel to the death and resurrection of the Doctor, making it unique and memorable.

Part of the criticism included the Doctor riding a motorcycle and kissing his (would be) companion. In retrospect what a load of rubbish those criticisms were. The 3rd Doctor always found his way into driving some outlandish vehicle or another. Why wouldn't the Doctor know how to ride a motorcycle? Not to mention drive like a Bat out of Skaro!
As for the kissing being verboten the new series put that controversy to rest. Now a days it is more difficult to find when the Doctor IS NOT kissing his companions, who by the way fancy him like mad.

The Master by Eric Roberts was not to my liking but more tame than the outlandish, overacting John Simm.

It must be remembered that one of the main weaknesses of this Movie is that it was never intended to be a standalone, one off, production. It was intended to be followed by 13-22 more shows, and those would have defined the series. It would be like watching "Rose" from the new series and never seeing the rest of the episodes that followed. On its own "Rose" is a weak introduction to Doctor Who, and unremarkable, but followed by the rest of Series 1 it is well fitted.

The Biggest waste was never re-using Paul McGann as the Doctor. When the new series was started they producer's decided against using him because of the perceived failure of the TVM. I say perceived because it wasn't a failure in the UK and Paul McGann was the official face of Doctor Who since 1996, helped keep the idea of the Who alive and helped make the Audio Dramas a smash.
I for one would have preferred McGann over Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Fly By Night). Rose would have had more impact with McGann playing a morose, taciturn, wounded Doctor. The fact that "something very Bad happened" would have been brought home in spades just with a dark shift in McGann's performance from the last we saw of him in the TVM.

If the producer can find the time and the will to make Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures, then why not a Missing Adventure series for the Doctor. McGann would be brilliant, it also would help fill in the gaps of the new series and the old, not to mention give new fan a taste of what it was like when the Time Lords were watching out over everything, before the Time War.
Mentioning the Time War McGann's Doctor is assumed by most fans to be the one who fought in the Time War and inevitably the one who ended it destroying Gallifrey in the process.

In the End the TV Movie has it flaws but is memorable for the effort to revive the show and the things that were done right. To think of how bad things could have been one need recall no further than the 60's Dr. Who movies staring Peter Cushing
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2010
To be fair there are a lot of plusses and taking the biggest 1 first- the acting. Paul McGann makes a great romantic style of Doctor (could there have been an influence on the 10th Doc?). No wonder those wily souls at Big Finish recruited him for an audio encore. He balances boggle eyed enthusiam with passion and conviction when talking of historic figures he has met or other unlikely things. He also gives a good turn when unsure of his identity at 1st.
He's almost outdone by Sylvester McCoy's last minutes in the role, Sylv gives us a wise and ancient figure at peace with himself-and what a difference a smarter version of his costume makes!
Daphne Ashbrook's Grace is at her best in her emergency room scenes and has good chemistry with McGann, although there are signs of the character getting diluted at points. Yee Jee Tso's Chang Lee is a companion who hasn't dated , although the Street
Gang background might give programme makers the jitters now. He's especially good in scenes with Eic Roberts' Master. I know a lot of people don't like him, but I think Roberts' Operatic performance is just right. He is OTT but then the script isn't subtle and just hear his delivery of lines like "I always dress for the Occasion!"
Production values are pretty good although only the extensive location work on film puts it ahead of current Who. Well directed too.
The extensive Tardis interior redesign is a triumph, a vast and darkly lit space-again influence on new Who may be possible.
What is the minus? Well, it's the script. There is a lack of story, it's little more than a regeneration and run around. Also the characterisation of the Doctor as written is of an almost omniscient being who has already met everyone & learned their inner most secrets. He knows what made Grace want to be an ER Doctor (where
did that come from?)and it's hinted he knows when she'll die and he meets a man and tells him which exam question he'll want to answer and which 1 he should answer. A far cry from Doc no 9 trying to remember wher he heard the name Harriet Jones!
Also MAJOR SPOILER COMING, the Master's plan is foiled in part by using the tardis to go back before it started. The most dreadful cheat imaginable, how would you have jeopardy again?
The biggest proof this was written by someone with no understanding of Dr Who? At the start the McCoy Dr has collected the Master's remains from the Daleks. He was executed and wanted this as his last request! yes that's right Daleks now offer last requests. Picture the Scene "WOULD YOU LIKE A LAST CIG-A-RETTE?" "LAST MEAL, WE CAN WHIP UP A SPAN-ISH OM-LETTE"
The extras offer an enjoyable commentary with director Geoffrey Sax recalling making of material e.g. how whipping in quick to a location X Files had just decamped from saved money. He also claims to have been a great lover of Who , confesses he did the awful Dalek voices but didn't know how they should sound?
There's a great deal of contemporary making of stuff from press kits e.g. interviews behind the scenes and promos, plus producer Phillip Segal offers a proud tour of the Tardis set.
Segal also gives a retrospective 2001 interview considering hits and misses of the film and stating he believes the show will come back anyway.

Well worth a look for a fiver or less
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2010
For people who love the 2005 onwards Dr.Who, don't expect this to be as good. Unfortunately, the BBC had to go into partnership with a large American company in order to make this film. There are some good interviews in the extras which deal with the situation. Having said that, the transition from Sylvester McCoy to the much better Paul McGann is interesting and at least this film kept alive the spark which would ultimately ignite a magnificent return to television thanks to Russel T Davies and Christopher Eccleston. The Doctors apart, the film is far too American and corny, especially the joker who plays the master. For fans who watched the old series die a death once Tom Baker left, I suppose it's not so bad. I bought this dvd for the extras and to get a take on how this film came about, and what the people involved felt about it. I like Paul McGann and I love Dr.Who and for all it's bad points, this film has it's part to play and is a handy little addition for those who are interested in the history of this Great British Legend.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2006
I admit to being very excited when this was first made - new Who after what seemed like an age of false starts, daft rumours and general disappointment. Unfortunately, what we got was a bit of a mixed bag, a half-British-half-American hybrid that set out to please everyone, but which was ultimately destined to never be.

The plot is a bit of a mess - the first half of the movie is fine, quite atmospheric in places and very nicely directed. Unfortunately it then becomes just another desparate race against time yarn that doesn't really deliver anything and with some plot holes you can fly a TARDIS through. However, the performances are generally good, Paul McGann is outstanding in the role and really deserved a better crack at the whip. Eric Roberts seems to divide fans as the Master, but I admit to liking him - somehow, his Master actually seems like a very dangerous person, rather than the slightly pantomime villain he was in the original series.

The production itself looks good, although I think I'm one of those few fans who doesn't really like the TARDIS interior in this show. I liked the wooden control room in the original series, but this one just seemed out of keeping. By making it so huge, the TARDIS actually seemed smaller as a result to me, and appeared to only consist of two rooms. I love the console, though - one thing they did get right. If only they had put roundels on the walls - it would have felt much more TARDIS-y.

All in all, a mixed bag. Entertaining enough, and a glimpse of what could have been if it had gone to a series. Then again, we probably wouldn't have got the series we've got now, and I for one am grateful for that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2014
And fortunately it wasn't and indeed not even for the unfortunate Paul McGann who got the chance at 'Night of the Doctor' recently to remind us of what a good Doctor he actually was.

This story is quite straight forward, but it does what it needs to in allowing a transition from Dr 7-8. The problem most people have (and to a small amount me too) is it's US influence - as this is a UK production and should remain so as that is where it belongs, but they did a good job in my opinion, some elements did come across as too US in their dramatic use but the end result could have led onto a series and it is a shame it did not.

This DVD unfortunately is a bare bones release and has few extras, but still is a good presentation with some interesting items to supplement the main feature, such as the audition for Paul McGann.

Give it another try I say!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2007
I enjoy this movie very much but it made far too many mistakes to recieve more than 3 stars.Its americanisation is understandable considering it was a collaboration with Fox but the doctor was the ONLY british thing apart from the tourist poster for London in the background when the Tardis materialises in San francisco. There were 2 doctors, sylvester Mccoy provides a great turn as our hero but is let down by his over the top death sequence. McGann is an amazing doctor and while watching this i couldn't help but think about the tragedy that he never got his own tv series. He is the same childish joyful man we have seen before and it is important for who fans because this is the last time we will se that man on screen before the 'time war' and the scarred doctors of the new series.

Ok now i'm going too deep so here are my main issues, the story(too many coincidences e.g 'i need an atomic clock' looks to TV, the reporter talks about an atomic clock!), an over the top campy master, a companion who thinks she's an intellectual equal with the doctor when she is clearly not(she is clever for one of us apes though :)) and a romance that wasn't necessary and cheesy in the extreme. If you want a good doctor who romance watch the new series with the doctor and rose!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2007
The Doctor Who TV movie, a British-American joint venture aimed at potentially launching a new TV series, is routinely slammed among Doctor Who fans as nasty and aborted chapter in Doctor Who history best locked away and forgotten.

But it's not that bad.

Paul McGann's Doctor is funny, quirky and intense - perfect to follow Sylvester McCoy's reign as the Time Lord. In fact, McCoy gets the first twenty minutes of the film to himself before the Frankenstein-themed regeneration sequence. The Seventh Doctor's final appearance is a strong performance and perhaps the best part of the movie.

Once McGann settles in, the plot gets murky and takes turns most Who purists wish it had not. The fact that McGann's Doctor is half human is an integral part of the plot and can't be swept under the carpet as easily as some fan would like. The effort even features an American-style car chase, of course. The Eighth Doctor's performance, however, is solid throughout.

The TARDIS stars in this story alongside The Doctor, Grace, Lee and The Master. Even when poor camera work in some of the TARDIS scenes makes the mostly adequate special effects look like spray-painted Styrofoam and flashing lights, the time machine looks grander than ever. Even the high-tech TARDIS of the new series pales beside this one. The old girl has class.

While Yee Jee Tso's performance as Lee is wooden and amateurish, he does not have enough dialog to do much serious damage to the production. Eric Roberts first does a nice impression of the previous Master's voice, but after a line about getting used to his new body, Roberts' own mannerisms turn a menacing foe into something that eventually becomes like a perturbed Liberace.

The plot wraps up with convoluted convenience, but the story ultimately does not leave a bad taste in the mouth. It's a good effort and worth seeing. Just don't watch too closely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2014
I got to see doctor who from a young age, but it was cancelled before i had any real appreciation for it. Then the movie came around when I was a teenager and pauls doctor, however briefly I was able to experience it, engaged me in the series, to the point where years later im a huge fan of doctor who and I got hold of the classic archives and watched all the way through and have of course watch the new series since it began again.

Paul is still the doctor i find myself able to hold up and call my favorite. His energy, eccentricity, and personality was just excellent and he clearly has a great deal of talent. Knowing that his canon story leads into the time war and imagining the events that transformed a his doctor into the eigth doctor, also feeds into my choice for him as my favorite.

He had to face the darkest days of the doctor, both in the story and in the reality of being between the show being cancelled and restarted. Its a shame this movie wasn't better and didn't manage to reach an audience at the time he really deserved far more of a chance with the role to see where he could have taken it.

I recommend anyone who enjoyed his performance to try and get hold of the audio works that Paul was involved with.

As for this film, you may not like or engage with this film if you haven't had some exposure to doctor who and willingness to accept flaws in a movie that was impossible to get made and somehow got made anyway.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Look at the interviews with the producer in the Special Features section before you decide that the film is not up to scratch. Please remember that this is also before the relaunch of Dr Who where no expense was spared.
The producer was an Englishman who really loved Dr Who and did everything he could to get it back on the screen. The BBC weren't interested but Fox in the US thought they would give it a shot - but with conditions. They wanted it Americanised as the Americans didn't know what the show was about so there had to be a lot of repetition. Personally I thought it was done quite well but would have been superfluous for those raised on the orginal Dr Who. A necessary evil. The producer was also under pressure to include a love interest which he found was out of character but had to include. He also had to have a 'big name' so the Americans would at least have someone to serve as a bridge into the show. Hence the choice for the Master. I thought he pulled it off quite well but not a patch on John Sims. There were some other inclusions (the Dr is only half Time Lord for example) that the team trying to get funding from Fox had to contend with. He basically had to satisfy and juggle 4 different external sources, including the BBC, to get the project off the ground so the show you see is not that originally proposed by the production team. So relax, sit back and enjoy the labour of love which the film is and excuse the necessary evils of the plot.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2001
OK, a quick fair summary I think.
McGann's Doctor: Good, very good. Involving, interesting, strong and plenty of other positive adjectives.
Plot: Superficial and somewhat pointless. No time for any moral lessons to be learnt, either incidentally or otherwise. Just Good vs Bad.
Style: Good, very good. Ignoring the terrible changes made to the Tardis (they shouldn't have gone that far), the result is a very flashy-looking and asthectically-pleasing show.
Ultimately?: Somewhat vacuous but not without redemption. There are far worse eighties Dr Who adventures. This seems to come in for more criticism than is deserved, coming from what I suspect is some partial anti-American British claim to the series. As an Englishman myself, I can feel a slight twang of resentment.
There seems no reason as to why 1 series at least wasn't borne from this.
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