30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor Finds Love And Human Sacrifice
Thoroughly enjoyable romp into one-take early Sixties British television and a valuable, immaculately presented document of all the elements that made Dr Who one of most popular programmes of the period. Hartnell's Dr Who is severe, pompous, self-involved, distracted, an old genius on the verge of dementia. It's a brilliant characterisation, partly originating in...
Published on 28 Jun 2005 by Adam Lampe
5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like a sausage, too much 'filler' but you'll still want it...
Note: This review of the 11 March 2013 release is based upon official BBC Press Release obtained copies of the DVD and not the 2002 DVD release or speculation.
In the case of DOCTOR WHO - THE AZTECS, expecting something truly remarkable would be like trying to get blood stains off a stone as opposed from it.
The original DVD release (2002) was a...
Published 10 months ago by The EYE OF HORUS Editor
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor Finds Love And Human Sacrifice,
Apart from Hartnell the acting is variable to say the least, especially from his erstwhile companions. However, John Ringham as Tlotoxl is a highlight. Basically, he does Oliver's Richard III. He's hilarious while, at the same time, curiously appropiate. He develops the intrigue of the complex and morally ambiguous plot which explores the fallacy of an outsider(in this case, Barbara) interfering with an established culture. The intelligence of Dr Who's scripts obviously contributed to its broad audience.
The DVD has some excellent features, notably the documentary 'Remembering the Aztecs', and the digital remastering of the original material is superb.
Not just history or nostalgia, but genuinely engaging television for a 21st century audience.
29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From the Golden Age of Civilisation (and Television Too),
The plot of this story centres around the TARDIS landing in pre-conquistador Aztec territory and becoming embroiled in an internecine conflict of interest amongst the elders of the Aztec settlement. The TARDIS crew are also torn by their superior knowledge that could easily help the feudal Aztecs to better themselves, but do they do so and risk changing the future?
This story is a delightfully intriguing and entertaining step away from Who territory and poses more thoughtful questions for the viewer. Though after forty odd years the stock BBC sets do look a little creaky, it doesn't detract too much from a tour de force of recalcitrant grandfather that was the hallmark of William Hartnell's Doctor. A shame that barely two years later the choice would be made squarely to move away from historical drama's to purely Cybermen and Dalek based antics...
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Galaxy Four,
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Aztecs (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)The Aztecs for me is the finest Hartnell story. Efficient in length, making good use of all the characters in different ways to previous stories, of historical interest, dramatic, engaging and so on.
However, this release is a serious bit of mis-selling, as most people will be interested in seeing the recently discovered Galaxy Four episode, if they knew about it. There is a small mention of it on the back cover, and that it has been reconstructed.
Having seen Galaxy Four for the first time (because I do now feel I have seen it, I have a different view of the story, as well as being over the moon at owning another missing episode and impressed at the time spent doing an engaging reconstruction)
Galaxy Four-Reconstructed warrants a single disc release in a case of its own. Whether that is released on its own for £9.99 or whether a box-set, either option would have been far preferable to a foot-note extra on a disc of a previously released story, which a good proportion of fandom don't even watch.
One of the most misjudged DVD releases, but that does not detract from a superb story, restored even further and the best "extra feature" of all time.
Perhaps this should have been Doctor Who - Galaxy Four Reconstructed, with bonus feature - Doctor Who - The Aztecs SE.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aztecs and Drahvins and Rills,
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Aztecs (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE SPECIAL EDITION OF THIS DVD, NOT THE ORIGINAL RELEASE. I MENTION THIS BECAUSE THE AMAZON SYSTEM WILL PROBABLY POST THE REVIEW ON THE PAGES FOR BOTH.
Given the above, you will know that the Aztecs is a four part story from the first year of Doctor Who, which sees the TARDIS crew in 15th century Mexico. Where Barbara learns why they can never interfere with established. A pure historical story, as they are called, it is straight drama with no alien monsters. It's very good, strong drama, and a story with a strong and well deserved reputation as a result.
This edition of the dvd is a new one that supersedes the original release. The story as shown on the first disc of this new two disc version has an improved picture quality to the one on the original release.
It has all the same extras that were on that. On it's first disc.
But all of the second disc is new.
There's a coming soon trailer for an upcoming release in this range.
A reconstruction of the 1965 First Doctor story Galaxy Four. Until recently, all four parts of this story were missing from the bbc archives, thanks to the policy of the time of wiping tapes after transmission since they thought they wouldn't be needed again. But then a copy of part three was returned to the bbc thanks to a collector of old films in 2011. The reconstruction is built around that, which is shown in it's entirety. The rest of it uses what footage survives from the other three episodes, plus photos, minimalist animation, and the soundtrack, in order to reconstruct what is still missing. It does slim down the missing three episodes somewhat, thus the whole thing runs no more than just over seventy minutes [approx].
Galaxy Four, to go by the soundtrack - as we'd always had to unless we'd seen it's original broadcast - isn't a very strong story, a rather slight idea stretched to a slowly paced four minutes. It sees the TARDIS on a planet that's about to explode and where two spaceships have crashed. One containing glamorous woman warriors called Drahvins and another with hideous creature called the Rills who have robot servants called Chumblies. The Doctor and friends find choosing who to help isn't as easy a matter as it appears. But the reconstruction, by trimming the story down, does make it pacier, and the third episode isn't bad. Thanks to some excellent acting from the ladies playing the Drahvins and some interesting set designs on the Rill ship. So this is worth a watch.
Doctor Who forever! Celestial toyroom, is a twenty five minute long feature looking at Doctor Who merchandise down the years. From the heydays of Dalek Mania to the return of the show in 2005 and what has followed. It does feel initially as if it's going to rush through things at too fast a pace, but it soon settles down and becomes very watchable. It will bring lots of fun memories back to children of the 70's. And illuminate you about counterfeit merchandise. Beware the Cyber helicopters!
Chronicle - the Realms of Gold, is a long forgotten edition of a history documentary from the 1960's, and is all about what happened to the real Aztecs when Cortez met Montezuma. It runs for fifty minutes but it's utterly absorbing and it absolutely flies by. A documentary of the kind they used to make - a single presenter on location, minimalist music, no reconstructions, and just drawings and maps to illustrate things, it's fascinating viewing. If perhaps a bit apologetic for certain things on occasion.
Then there's two more things from the 1960's archive;
A whole scene going is a four minute feature from music and arts programme that show on set footage from the making of the Second Peter Cushing as the Doctor V the Daleks film, along with some chat with the director. It's a bit short, but the set footage is fascinating to watch.
And from comedy sketch show It's a square world comes a seven minute long sketch with Clive Dunn as a scientist demonstrating his rocket to presenter Michael Bentine. In this Clive Dunn dresses like the First Doctor and there's one Doctor Who joke, but that's the only connection it has with the show. It's reasonably amusing viewing, though, and has a couple of surprise guest stars.
Whether you want to buy special editions, or wait for them to come down in price, or care about picture quality, is entirely up to you. But as a whole there's enough in this release for me to make it worth five stars.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Aztecs- A Sacrifice Worth Making!,
This episode is unique in that one of the companions, Barbara, gets the main plot. However, every other companion gets their own sub-plot which doesn't support the main plot, it is a fascinating experience in itself. The acting is the best acting ever seen on Doctor Who. The effects do not impress much, but don't forget that you can't expect too much in that department from B&W episodes. At least the BBC didn't try out too much, so the effects aren't bad, they're just not impressive.
What is interesting is that, although this story is based purely on history (i.e. no futuristic or alien elements) it is still fantastic!
You don't need to be a fan of Doctor Who to enjoy this. If you are a first-time buyer, this should be a strong contender, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, as I'm sure most fans will agree that this is AMAZING!
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who and the Tomb of the Aztecs,
Immediately mistaken for a reincarnated god, Barbara is worshipped by the ancient Aztecs and has to maintain this deception to keep her friends safe, but she soon sees this as an opportunity to change some of the more horrific aspects of the Aztec culture, such as human sacrifice, despite the Doctor's warnings that 'history cannot be rewritten, not even one line'.
This adventure rattles along at a fair pace, with four parts in total, each one in its original black & white form. The picture quality is great, and despite the low budget sets (a painted backdrop doubles as the Aztec landscape) and the occasional flubbed line by William Hartnell, this is a well made adventure that showcases the best of Hartnell's era. Whilst it doesn't feature the same level of fame as the first Dalek serial, it is one of the better stories from the Doctor's first year.
A great historical Who story - one for fans of the current Doctor to watch, if they want to see the origins of the TV show they currently enjoy!
Score - 9 / 10
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars View the beginnings of Doctor Who!,
It is amazing when viewing this DVD that whilst everyone knows the programme ran for a long time, that it really did start as long ago as 1963. In those days, television programmes and BBC recording was still really in its infancy and actors were only really used to stage.
The programme is very well put together. The plot, dramatic acting and effective but cheap sets are very impressive. It stands as a good example of television productions from the time. The audio commentary from the associate producer reveal that an episode a week was shot and they were only allowed to cut the tape 3 times so it was filmed in sequence like a stage production.
The extras are very complete. There are interviews with the original actors, a comic "How to make Aztec cocoa" sketch, an Aztec documentary from Blue Peter and unbelievably detailed on screen production notes. The only weakeness is the audio commentary as the actors and producer tend to just watch the programme and make the occasional "Ohh, yes I remember that" comment. A minor criticism however - it is a masterpiece. Keep up the good work.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Buy or Not to Buy?,
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Aztecs (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)In short - YES, absolutely!
Some of us long-term Doctor Who collectors' are growing tired of these constant reissues, or 'Special Editions' of stories that have already had the restoration treatment and been released on DVD in the past 13 years. Some of us feel compelled to buy every classic Doctor Who release - in my case, this is simply out of habit and not wanting to fall behind with my collection. It is disappointing to look at the future release schedule, only to find that many of the releases are titles that I already own. This reissue of The Aztecs is exceptional though. I'm usually not very interested in most bonus material and it's not an incentive for me to buy any title. I bought this 2013 edition because I was hoping for improved picture quality over the 2002 release. I'm pleased to report a noticeable improvement in picture quality. Disc one though, is virtually identical to the 2002 single disc edition, containing exactly the same bonus material. I was quite excited at the prospect of seeing the feature 'Restoring The Aztecs'. I was under the impression that this would be a new 2013 restoration feature that would provide details and give us a good idea of the comparison between the quality of the 2002 release and the 2013 release, a tangible justification of the need for a reissue. How wrong I was. The restoration feature is in actual fact the same feature, produced to showcase the 2002 restoration techniques. It seems rather odd to include this restoration feature as it doesn't do the new transfer justice. I've compared 2 identical frames - one from the 2002 release and one from the 2013 release. This shows up the fact that the picture HAS undergone significant improvement in the past 11 years. The new version is much cleaner with a lot less dirt and grain - as well as sharper edges, deeper blacks and smoother textures.
Playing the second disc of this special edition, only went further to confirm that this release is worthwhile. The main item of interest is the long lost season 3 opening story 'GALAXY 4'. Broadcast in 1965 as a 4 part story, all episodes were wiped out of existence leaving nothing behind other than off-air audio recordings and a couple of short clips. However, in 2011 episode 3 was recovered. The story has now been reconstructed as a 64 minute omnibus story with episode 3 slotted in between various clips, stills, simple 'live' animation and the soundtrack, only 3 or 4 captions are needed to provide information about lost action shots. Episode 3 looks to have been fully restored, I have no idea how it looked when it was recovered but the presentation of the episode looks pristine compared to many other lost and recovered black & white episodes from the '60s. I really enjoyed this reconstruction of Galaxy 4 and it kept my attention from start to finish. In spite of the lack of motion pictures I found it remarkably easy to follow the plot, without feeling like I was missing vital detail. Galaxy 4 has a very simple plot, the kind of story that wouldn't be out of place in 21st century Doctor Who. I'll try not to spoil the plot too much - but many comparisons could be made to many plot devices and twists commonly found in modern day Doctor Who; such as the Doctor making grave errors of judgment and learning from his companions not to be so hasty in his decisions. In fact, you could go as far to compare this story with some of the adventures and situations that we've seen Matt Smith's Doctor negotiate along with companions Amy and Rory. It's a refreshing twist in such an early Doctor Who story that we find the male companion Steven in danger while his companion Vicki is the one to finally negotiate a resolution, preventing the Doctor from making a terrible mistake and saving Steven's life in the process. I won't give anything else away. I recommend buying this special edition, if only for the sake of Galaxy 4.
Besides Galaxy 4 there is a very lengthy, entertaining and educational documentary from the 'Chronicle' series, all about the actual Aztecs (Completely unrelated to Doctor Who;) a fun feature which documents the history of Doctor Who toys and merchandise over the years (If like me, you're pushing 40 - or beyond, you may well find yourself getting excited, pointing at the screen and exclaiming "I had one of those!") There is an all-too-brief B&W feature showing footage behind the scenes and the making of 1 of 2 big-screen 1960s colour Dr. Who movies featuring the Daleks and Peter Cushing as "Dr. Who". This is an odd, random inclusion but interesting and welcome all the same. There is also a B&W comedy sketch - loosely based on Doctor Who from 'It's A Square World', very daft but it did make me laugh a few times.
As I started off saying, I am prone to be very critical and dissatisfied with the Special Edition Reissue range but, this one is exceptional and certainly worth buying - especially if you've never seen or bought The Aztecs in the past.
On reflection, I do think this product would have been better if it had been presented as a double set with a separate sleeve and case for the second disc with the title 'Galaxy 4' - rather than lumping all of this wonderful material together with the Aztecs. It's a shame really, as it's highly likely that the contents of this release will be overlooked due to the overall title of the release. At the very least they should include a sticker on the front stating that it "Includes previously unreleased bonus story Galaxy 4".
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Special,
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Aztecs (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)Yes. It's a dreaded special edition
Yes. It's got all the previous dvd extras
Yes. It's a brilliant First Doctor, Historical story.
Yes. It has improved picture quality
Yes. It has more extras added.
Yes. It shows a bit of naked belly (see extras)
Yes. It now has a reconstruction (and missing episode) of Galaxy 4
Yes. It has to replace your older edition. Donate that to a friend.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Aztecs?That's the Least of it,
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Aztecs (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)When I first heard about this special edition, I had no intention of buying it; I'd already bought the story twice before, once on VHS and a few years later on DVD, and saw no reason to buy it again just for a few more DVD extras. Then, I found out that one of those 'extras' was to be the recently recovered missing episode 'Air Lock' from the otherwise almost totally absent story 'Galaxy 4', and I was, frankly, furious: clearly, this was a shameless attempt to force completist collectors to buy The Aztecs yet again in order to get the recovered episode. I very nearly didn't buy it on principle...
Thankfully, I am indeed a completist collector, and having grudgingly picked this up-I'm glad I did. Not for The Aztecs (I haven't rewatched it) but for those extensive extras, which include something I wasn't expecting-a full reconstruction of Galaxy 4 (running time, about an hour) using the original soundtrack (edited) and a mix of stills, surviving film clip and camera trickery, with the recovered episode in the middle of it. And wouldn't you know it? This long lost story, while not an absolute classic, is actually pretty good, well worth picking up. I'd recommend Galaxy 4 to anybody, in fact.
Even if it didn't have a remastered version of .The Aztecs as a DVD extra...
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Doctor Who: The Aztecs (Special Edition) [DVD] by William Hartnell (DVD - 2013)