2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Let the Nutrition Cycle Begin!, 13 Aug 2009
In my view, this is one of the best Pertwee episodes. It's highly original, not too long and the pace is just right. The overlay of images (colour separation overlay) and alien spaceship interior-design were very good for their time (1971), and not bad even by today's CGI-orientated standards. However, the idea of an organic spaceship (grown especially for the journey, and shown to be a living thing) was surely cutting-edge for its time! The portrayal of the Axons in both their humanoid guise and 'monster' form is also excellent; apart from when one of the Axons appears to be someone wriggling around in a crinkly brown sack! Mercifully, this 'sack monster' appears briefly just once; and the huge tentacled Axons look genuinely creepy! The rest of the time, the Axons maintain a psychedelic, golden Grecian appearance. Their costumes and hair show the cross-over of fashion and style from the late 1960s, complete with suitably swirling background graphics. There are 'extra features' on this DVD, but only the comparison of 'now and then' locations held my attention. The rest consists mainly of technical and directing detail, plus a few deleted and extended scenes. The latter shed some light on the way the adventure was directed; and also show that the actors and actresses were obviously very dedicated and professional.
'Jo Grant' is still finding her way as assistant to the patrician Doctor, but already learning to use some of her own initiative. It should be remembered that she is only supposed to be about 17 or 18 years old (having only very recently taken her A levels)! Member of Parliament Chinn would probably be too old for service today, but his bumbling intrigue just adds nicely to the story. The offer of 'Axonite' is shown to have a corrupting influence on the powers-that-be; but they soon learn their lesson when the Axonites double-cross everyone.
One reviewer here has commented that Bill Filer's American accent is very unconvincing! To my ear, it sounds like a soft American accent; so I wasn't surprised to learn that the actor who played 'Filer' is Canadian. Maybe he drawls the accent a bit, but it isn't that bad.
Although not as dark as later incarnations of 'The Master', Roger Delgado is nevertheless suitably scheming and ruthless. Ironically, this time he teams up with the Doctor to defeat the Axons. This is just his pragmatism though; he would happily destroy the Doctor and planet Earth, given half the chance! This is not The Master's only DVD appearance, as one reviewer on here has stated. You can also find him in "The Sea-Devils", on the "Beneath the Surface" DVD; and on the "Frontier in Space" DVD.
My only gripe about "The Claws of Axos" is that, as usual, 'the local' (here, a coastal tramp called 'Pigbin Josh') is portrayed as a 'yokel'. Somewhat predictably, he is bumped off early on. Surely, even back then, country folk weren't all considered simpletons? Or was this just the opinion of the scriptwriters?
Anyway, a great adventure overall, and one which I would thoroughly recommend to anyone.