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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First glimpse of the Doctor who'll destroy Gallifrey and win the Time War
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...
Published on 21 May 2008 by Black Adder

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not great either
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...
Published on 27 May 2006 by M. S. Patterson


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First glimpse of the Doctor who'll destroy Gallifrey and win the Time War, 21 May 2008
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Movie [DVD] (DVD)
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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not great either, 27 May 2006
By 
M. S. Patterson (Morpeth) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Movie [1996] [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
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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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars McGann was robbed of the Doctor!, 4 Mar 2007
By 
Ms. N. Boden "04nbod" (merseyside,england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Movie [1996] [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable tosh., 10 Mar 2000
By A Customer
Producer Phil Segal was determined that his Fox TV Movie wouldn't be Doctor Who if there weren't constant "kisses to the past": the sonic screwdriver, the Eye of Harmony, jelly babies, the police box TARDIS, etc etc, but unfortunately forgot about including a plot. Therefore this film has had the misfortune to be forever scoffed at by fans and public alike, for its brilliant until you try to think about it, and then its tosh. But my advice is to enjoy it for the tosh it is, since it is truely entertaining tosh of the highest calabre.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick Review: Not Terrible., 14 May 2001
By A Customer
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr Who Movie, 20 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Movie [1996] [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
Just as I remembered it. Just what a Dr Who geek would want.
Pity that film set in America - never quite the same as the old quarries in UK
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars TOO AMERICAN!!!!!, 22 Jun 2010
By 
Shawn Hosmer "deadman" (hurstpieroint west sussrex. uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Movie [1996] [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
Well where do i start?
the good;
Paul Magann is a fantastic Doctor and its a shame he never got another shot at the title role.
A fantastic Tardis interior!!!
The usual Tardis joke with the vehicles going in and out!!!

The bad...
The doctor is HALF HUMAN?????
Bad storyline, Millennium doomsday armageddon set by the Tardis being hijacked by the Master, you would have thought that if the americans making a film version of this would come up with something a bit more credible.

The Ugly...
its a lame master story, played by an american..filmed in america..a bit biased really..i half expected the Doctor to be american!!!

I have to say...its an awful attempt
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great purchase, 1 Sep 2006
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Movie [1996] [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
I actually find this Movie rather underrated. Paul McGann is, quite rightfully considered a great Doctor, and indeed, he does play the part to perfection with the right look and exactly the right style(the only faults being the revelation that the Doctor is half-human and his romantic relationship with Grace). He is quite clearly the highlight of the Movie. The plot is fine, with a great threat from the Master, who plans not only to take the Doctor's existence, but to destroy the world in the process! And as for the Master, I think Eric Roberts is great, making him camply over-the-top, and if the series had continued, he would make a very good Master. The music and direction are very impressive, and the CGI Master-snake is very effective indeed(shame it's not in very often, only for a few scenes, but it really creeps you out.) The new interior, the Bat-Cave style TARDIS is the best ever, and the small part Sylvestor McCoy plays is the icing on the cake, with a very good regeneration scene, probably the best in years. Yes, it's been Americanised, but it's just like watching a Batman or Terminator movie, a typical hero vs. villain story and a very good Doctor Who story that I thoroughly recommend. My only critiscm is the obsession with continuity and the strongly rewritten past(shouldn't Skaro have been destroyed? What happened to Ace?)but that's not enough to spoil your viewing pleasure.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half human, half a mind to watch again..., 7 July 2007
By 
Don Kepunja "ownstunts" (Retford, Northern England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Movie [DVD] (DVD)
This remains an interesting curio in the Who back catalogue, an abortive part-American attempt at a mid-1990s regeneration; it's not wholly awful... but it's just not Doctor Who, somehow (what is we must discuss another day). That said, recent events - including its re-boot here on mid-price - might make this the time for a reappraisal. The BBC's Season Three (hmmm...) two-parter Human Nature/Family of Blood acknowledged Paul McGann's likeable, Romantic eighth Doctor as official (or 'canonical' - look, it's important to some of us), giving 'The Movie' a bit more validity historically. That links the fascinating afterlife of this Doctor to the new TV series via the excellent Big Finish audio adventures, some also premiered on BBC Radio and available through Amazon and elsewhere. The Movie looks nice (the TARDIS in particular) and that, perhaps, is its real kinship to the new show - that and its sudden interest in the Doctor's small r romantic side; it goes nowhere, and makes no real sense (even within the show's own woolly internal logic) but at a budget price might be worth a look, especially if Ecc and Ten have whet your appetite for the 'classic' series and you want to compare John Simm's bad and mad Master with, er, Eric Roberts' take. The eight Doctor really lives (brilliantly!) in the mind only, but this is where it all began for McGann...
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I call doctor who., 26 Mar 2005
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Movie [1996] [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
Any comeback of doctor who needed to recapture the essence that made the originals so great.
Whilst the movie does stay true to some of the basic elements of doctor who, it feels like these parts are there for the sake of it amoungst the very noticable 'americanisation'.
Suddenly, in this movie the doctor is openly refured to as being 'british', and the doctor seems to reflect the US stereotype of a British eccentric. The over used clitches are all there: a greater emphasis on special effects than a dramatic involving plot, love scenes, gun battles ect.
The film did seem promising at the beginning- the brief but dramatic appearance of Sylvestor McCoy and the regeneration scenes where very good, but after that I slowly lost interest, as I felt i was no longer even watching what I would class as a proper doctor who adventure.
I do not see this film as having anything to set it apart from your average US action/adventure. I find it very hard to relate to this as a film that compliments the originality of the doctor who that many fans grew to love so much.
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Doctor Who - The Movie [1996] [DVD] [1963]
Doctor Who - The Movie [1996] [DVD] [1963] by Geoffrey Sax (DVD - 2001)
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