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Graham Cripps (Germany)

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Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD]
Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Price: 12.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good to have Who on Blu-ray ... but, 12 Feb 2010
It is excellent to finally have Dr Who available on Blu-ray. That is the best thing about this, the picture quality is absolutely superb!

That said the story is average, not really very imaginative, but it works. As the second of the David Tennant specials it is a little bit disappointing, I had higher expectations from all the specials, and they have all failed somewhat to deliver. I was expecting at least one to come up to the standards of 'The Hollow Child', 'The Impossible Planet', 'Girl in the Fireplace' or the absolutely brilliant 'Blink', but sadly none of them have. After having seen all the specials, all of which were written by Russel T Davis, none of who's stories I have ever been very impressed by, I am left with the uncomfortable feeling that Mr Davis is trying to tell us something, but I don' t know what it is, or why. The lady passenger at the end tells the Doctor "He will knock four times", then in the last special there is the four drum beats and Bernard Cribbins also knocks four times, but so what! The "Bad Wolf" message that ran throughout the first series was sort of OK and just about worked, but all these messages and links are a bit naff now and in the specials they defiantly distract from the individual plots.

All the actors put in fine performances, David Tennant is as usual brilliant as the Doctor and Michelle Ryan is quite wonderful as Lady Christina, OK her character is a bit of a Laura Croft copy, but so what. Seeing nice sights is what Blu-ray is all about, and she is certainly nice to look at. The one character who is a bit borderline is Lee Evans, who is a bit too silly. Dr Who went though a period in the Eighties where under the directorship of J N Turner it got very light entertainment and lost a lot of its believability and magic with a succession of silly characters and stupid monsters. The production staff need to careful with characters like Malcolm he is just about OK, but any more like him would undermine the credibility of the show.

The biggest disappointment however has to be the monsters. They look like exactly what they are, a couple of blokes in boiler suits wearing plastic fly heads. Many years ago there was a film called "The Dark Crystal", the insect like monsters in it were quite superb, at the time I thought wow, this would really work in Dr Who. But sadly the production team, for whatever reason, could not make that extra effort and make the costumes really dramatic and insect like. If you are going to do insects the do them properly, these are a cop out and an opportunity has been missed here, today the expectation for monsters on Who has to produce better efforts than this They are almost as bad as the legendary Myrka from the JNT era (sorry guys, but for a Dr Who special this is just not good enough).

One of the reasons given for Dr Who not to have been available in HD, up till now, was that the cost of the CGI special effects would be too high. If this is true then what about "Blink", my personal absolute favorite from the new series. As far as I can see it contains no CGI effects at all so, as it is such a classic, why does the BBC not release it on Blu-ray? I am sure it would be far more popular that this average story. Surely it cannot be that the BBC have been so naive as not to video it in HD in the first place, but having already lost 108 episodes from the original series stranger things have happened!

So of the three stories on Blu-ray so far (You cannot count 'The Next Doctor' as it is upscaled) this is rather sadly the best of the three. The other two just confuse, Dr Who should entertain, with fantasy worlds, inhabited with amazing but believable monsters. It is not about figuring out what knocking four times means, and if the Doctor saves someones life, they should not after arriving home shoot themselves dead for the sake of history, what the hell was that all about? This Blu-ray is worth getting, but the other specials, well I would rather wait and see what the BBC decide to do next. Maybe they will bring out Blink - but I doubt it.

Jeeves and Wooster - Complete Collection [DVD]
Jeeves and Wooster - Complete Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stephen Fry
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 25.98

5.0 out of 5 stars The screenwriter strikes again, 28 Oct 2009
This collection of DVDs is quite excellent and very entertaining. The main reason for this is that Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are absolutely perfect in the title roles. The Jeeves and Wooster stories could almost have been written with them in mind. Indeed if they had not been cast in these roles it would have been a missed opportunity.

However one of the most irritating aspects of this television adaptation is the way that the actors in the supporting cast change all the time. There are for example no less than three different actresses who play the part of Madeline Basset and the part of Fink Nottle, played quite excellently by one actor is latter portrayed by another, who has already portrayed a quite different role. Now all actors do a sterling job, but it is always a little difficult to accept when a character is suddenly being portrayed by someone else, for whatever reason you always tend to think that the first actor who played the part was the best.

The other irksome thing is the introduction sequence, it being far too long and somewhat self indulgent. Indeed after having seen it more than twice I find myself having to hit the old fast forward button on the remote to skip though it and cut to the plot. The music although based on the style of the times is really not that good, and can really get on the nerves. Why not kick off each episode with an actual piece from the times, that Bertie Wooster later renders on the piano?

However, apart from these minor issues, throughly good entertainment and it would appear quite well done; that is until you read any of the books.

I acquired a copy of 'Thank you, Jeeves' and I was quite surprised that, for reasons that remain unexplained, how many things has been changed in the TV adaptation. This is the story where Jeeves leaves Bertie because of his banjo playing (the banjo in the book is changed to a trombone for the TV, I have no idea why). But the real surprise came in the incident where Bertie has a late night encounter with the local policeman. In the book this is utterly hilarious. I was almost in tears, I laughed so much. It was one of those things that was so funny that you keep on remembering it for weeks afterwards, causing great embarrassment if you happen to think of it while in a queue at the post office or in your local supermarket. Sadly the TV version of this incident had been changed so much that is was not really that funny at all, in fact quite different from the brilliantly funny writings of P.G. Wodehouse. Why screenwriters decide to change these things, for the worse, is beyond me.

In another book, 'Right Ho, Jeeves' there is another side splitting passage. This time it is a simple conversation between Jeeves and Wooster about Mr Fink Nottle having a late night taxi ride. It was one of the funniest things I have ever read. It actually took me some time to read what was just about a half a page of text, as I had to stop continually to wipe the tears, bought about by such laughter, from my eyes. After reading this I had cause to reflect, as I could not remember this scene from the TV version. I found the Brinkly Court episode on the first DVD and soon found the reason why.

In the TV series they simply left out this scene completely!

Remember this just was a conversation between Jeeves and Wooster in the London flat. No need for expensive production costs, filming outside or anything like that. So why leave it out? I often think that books that have been made into films and TV shows suffer, at the ruthless and unfeeling hands of screenwriters. They actually seem of the opinion that they know better than the original writers! Well this clearly cannot be the case, for if this were true they would be top selling novelists themselves and not employed as screenwriters.

The Jeeves and Wooster DVD collection is good, but sadly could be so much better if the plots had not been mucked about with. Taking a story and making something else out of it for the screen is quite alright if there exists a good version that follows the original plot. But sadly what has happened here is that the original story has been made less enjoyable by the screenwriters efforts. P.G. Wodehouse was a best selling author in his day and with good reason. So why change his work for no reason? Why leave the best parts out?

I have yet to come across a screen adaptation that was better than the original book, and this collection, enjoyable as it is, does not even come close.

I do highly recommend this DVD collection, it is both entertaining and amusing, but if you want to laugh till your eyes water and your sides hurt ' read the books!

Doctor Who - Remembrance Of The Daleks - Special Edition [DVD]
Doctor Who - Remembrance Of The Daleks - Special Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sylvester McCoy
Price: 7.11

12 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What on Earth is the BBC up to now?, 12 Jun 2009
Why is this video being released at all? If is intended to be a replacement for 'The Planet of the Daleks', it does not even come close. This story is one of the better ones from the unfortunate John Nathen Turner era and that is not saying much for it. It has too much of the feeling of a JNT produced Dr Who about it. The characters and the program itself are not taken seriously by the production crew. The Doctors assistant, (Ace - the best one of the JNT era) is given super human attributes and takes on a Dalek with a baseball bat that makes silly boink noises! This is not drama it is light entertainment, it it does not work in the context of Dr Who, instead of putting you on the edge of your seat it makes you cringe. OK it is not as unbelievable as when Ace takes on, and destroys three Cybermen armed with a kiddies toy plastic catapult. But it undermines a show that had good drama in the pre-JNT days. When Patrick Troughton produced his toy catapult, he did so in a way as if to say 'look what I've got to take on the evil forces who want to conquer the universe!' You then knew he was going to use the Doctors intelligence and think of a way to defeat the aliens. He produced high drama with a moment of comic genius - brilliant!

The history of Dr Who as a TV show is almost beyond belief. The BBC produced so many great stories but many of these from the black and white era were then 'lost'. If it was a fire or some disaster then we could look back and say 'what a shame!' But one department of the BBC systematically destroyed the shows that other departments had earlier so carefully worked on! Take 'The Planet of the Daleks', the color copy of Episode 3 was also lost. Then a genius of an engineer realized that what appeared to be interference patterns on the 16mm black and white film copy was actually color information and from this the color version was restored. So now this story, apparently exists in its full-color version once more and now fans who are eagerly awaiting its release learn that plans to release it have been shelved! Apparently this engineers genius and the subsequent work have been for nothing.

What is going on? Is this JNT offering being used as a replacement for the 'Planet of the Daleks'? Is the BBC trying to justify what it did in the 70's, when it destroyed so much of, what is actually in entertainment terms, our countries inheritance. I rate Silvester McCoy's Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace, but you are always left wondering what might have been? I would have loved to have seen them in a really good 'Who' drama like 'The Deamons', 'Planet of the Spiders' or 'Death to the Daleks' none of which are out on DVD!

In fact since the BBC has been releasing Dr Who on DVD over the last ten years, in all this time, there have be just nine Jon Pertwee adventures! Two of these being in a set along with a real JNT blooper!

So come on BBC and get your act together! Remembrance of the Daleks deserves to be out on DVD yes, but not re-released while there are so many Pertwee classics not available. It may contain different extras, but so what, it is the show that most fans want to see. Also the extra that should be on all DVDs is missing; an article about how the BBC 'lost' so many episodes from the black and white era and an appeal for anyone who may have any information about them. You never know, however unlikely there may still be some lost episodes out there, look what happened with Episode two of the 'Daleks Master Plan'.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 18, 2009 11:41 AM BST

Doctor Who - Beneath the Surface (The Silurians [1970] / The Sea Devils [1972] / Warriors of the Deep [1984]) [DVD]
Doctor Who - Beneath the Surface (The Silurians [1970] / The Sea Devils [1972] / Warriors of the Deep [1984]) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jon Pertwee
Price: 11.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Restored pictures - but no alternative sound track, 10 Feb 2009
The most annoying thing about this boxed set is, that it contains two superb adventures and one of the most unfortunate Who stories ever made.

The care with which Dr. Who was made in its heyday really comes across in the first two stories; good production, great ideas and believable concepts, even the rubber suited monsters hold up. The 'Sea Devils' has some fabulous moments, especially when the Navy are involved. It has some of the best action sequences in Dr. Who ever. A must see! The Silurians have real character and attitude, it is my favorite, but probably because it has less irritating music.

The music is unfortunate. It appears to be the work of complete armatures. The music for 'The Silurians' is harsh, imposing and just distracts. But this is nothing to the Sea Devils! At times sounding like the electronically distorted recording of a cat being strangled. After all the effort of restoring the picture, why not offer an alternative sound track on the DVD too? CGI effect options are available on other classic Dr. Who DVDs. It was a missed opportunity not to redo the incidental sound track and make it avalable as an option.

'Warriors of the Deep' just serves to show how production standards fell dramatically later on. The monsters, have lost all their attitude and just plod about, a striking contrast to the wonderful action sequences from the 70's. But why is this offering here, it insults and degrades the originals. How wrong the BBC are to assume that people who enjoyed the first two classics would want to watch a green pantomime horse prancing about. It is disappointing that in purchasing two classics this 'thing' has come into my possession.

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