on 14 August 2013
As I was growing up, Dr WHO was an important part of my childhood. And so we come full circle to where my son is now learning to appreciate the larger WHO universe...and you don't get much bigger and bolder than a pair of WHO movies in glorious technicolour! This is the second movie, not really a direct sequel as such, you don't really need to have seen the first film to enjoy this one. But a decent follow on from "Doctor Who & The Daleks".
In this entertaining but far from excellent romp, The Doctor is again played by Peter Cushing...and is once again actually called Doctor Who and is a human scientist and not from Gallifrey at all. I was never really sure as to why this happened, maybe to differentiate it from the TV series? However, that aside, the film came with a stellar cast after the unique Mr Cushing, with Bernard Cribbins, Ray Brooks, Andrew Keir and Philip Madoc filling out a whose-who of British drama.
This bluray has been remastered, and even though I hold nothing like reference machines in my humble set-up, the picture does appear to be very well reproduced indeed. I could see no obvious dreaded Digital Noise Reduction and the fine detail looks pretty sharp. Colours always look great with Bluray and on this disc they 'pop' like rich eye candy.
As a final note, Bernard Cribbins was in this movie version and was also in the TV version of Who, both stints involving the Daleks, some 40+ years apart!
on 6 June 2013
With the television series celebrating its 50th anniversary of forcing children - and even some adults, I'm sure - to scurry behind the sofa or cower beneath one of its cushions, the release of STUDIOCANAL's DOCTOR WHO tie-in movies is adroitly timed and not only for that celebratory reasoning but for the fact that the Peter Cushing films are frequently derided and an intelligent analysis of their importance, not only within the DOCTOR WHO universe but assessing their role in British cinema in general.
It's the 31st March, and a prat-fall outside a dematerialising London Metropolitan Police box is a somewhat innocuous beginning to an adventure in space:time that leads the Doctor and his travelling companions into the heart of a future Earth, devastated, decaying under the authoritarian regime of an alien species known as Daleks.
Though it's not certain that he's an Earthling or a Time Lord, Peter Cushing reprises his role as the inventor of TARDIS, Doctor Who, in the Terry Nation plot-inspired - based upon the television story DOCTOR WHO - THE DALEK INVASION OF EARTH (1964) - movie, co-starring Bernard Cribbins, DALEKS' INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D.
Now re-mastered - both its print and audio track - the movie is, like the restored DR WHO AND THE DALEKS (see review), superb, offering to a whole new generation of fans, for the first time in nearly five decades, a widescreen thrilling adventure.
With the Daleks attempting to mine the core of the planet, install a `piloting device' and then steer the bastardised Earth back to their own planet (an uninhabitable Skaro?) in order utilise it, the Doctor must thwart their plans and save the planet from a catastrophic destruction.
For a second time, director Gordon Fleming instils an unparalleled dimension of urgency to every action sequence that the televised series was unable to capture on its primitive 4:3 405 lines. Without question, Fleming embraces not only the widescreen elements of Technoscope but adopts, and remember it's only 1966, the use of `hand-held camera perspective' (this is ably demonstrated in the sequence as the Doctor and Tom are held in the Dalek Prison Cell attempting to extricate themselves from it using a plastic comb). One of the film's highlights for any DOCTOR WHO fan is the all-but-brief `melting' Dalek (at 1 hour 18 minutes) as the earth's magnetic core affects their outing casings.
Fans of the NEW SERIES may be pleasantly surprised how similar to Peter Cushing's performance as the doddery old man is to that performed by Matt Smith as the 11th television Doctor; spindly, never restful (identical `hand-acting' choreography) and with a dark intelligence hidden behind their eyes.
Unequivocally, the restoration improves the quality of the original VHS and previous DVD releases, with a stability of richness and saturation that has probably not been seen since its original showing. However, certain scenes, particularly within the Bedfordshire mines, the restoration struggles with darker tones and shades. Similarly, the audio track has been re-mastered and as is a crisp as like having Bill McGuffie conducting his orchestra behind your living room's sofa. In the featurette, RESTORING DALEKS' INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D. the option of treating the mono audio track to create a `faux' stereo 5.1 track was not deemed necessary, and, in this instance, the correct decision was made.
Like DR WHO AND THE DALEKS, the `value added material' VAM (i.e. the Extras) are succinct and disappointing in their content and production.
Author, Gareth Owen proffers his personal analysis of the feature film's production (discussing how the film was plagued with re-writes due to Cushing's unforeseen illness, and how Fleming struggled with a similar financial budget to the first film whilst creating a `...bigger film...' and promotion (on how the British breakfast cereal, SUGAR PUFFS, co-funded the film in return for one of the first `product placement' financial tie-ins in the industry's history). Ungraciously, he states that DALEKS' INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D. is "...elementary..." which, ironically, sums up this WIKIPEDIA plagiarised featurette.
What could have been the highlight of this anniversary release, INTERVIEW WITH BERNARD CRIBBINS, has been bungled. A four-minute conversation so poorly edited and recorded that `heads-should-roll' at STUDIOCANAL. Whilst sounding as if Cribbins was recorded in a Bethnal Green Gents below-the-pavement toilet and so brief (4 minutes) that you are left wondering "why bother to have gone to all that trouble?" Nevertheless, avuncular Cribbins is great value, recalling the making of the movie (his interaction with an Australian Dalek), working with Cushing's Doctor ("...he always looked as if he was chewing a Murray Mint...") and his 1973 audition for the CLASSIC SERIES of DOCTOR WHO. Like me, after four minutes, you will be left wanting more.
And why there is a BBC Eccleston/Tennant TARDIS and a "flipped" Dalek (a cardinal sin in the eyes of true DOCTOR WHO fans) image on the main menu graphic is inexplicable and inexcusable, demonstrating a holistic lack of care and attention especially having lavished such professional attention on the print restoration.
Overall, like the restored DR WHO AND THE DALEKS release (2013), DALEKS' INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D. is majestically restored for new legion of DOCTOR WHO fans to mesmerised by and for those like me, who original watched it at their local cinema, to re-discover a long lost childhood memory.
However, there is a caveat, the Extras are poor and, seemingly, hurriedly compiled and produced without the crafting that DOCTOR WHO fans worldwide have come to expect from having access to BBC DVD's CLASSIC SERIES releases. If STUDIOCANAL had thought through the content then viewers may have been treated to, perhaps, a .pdf of the filming script or storyboarding, new CGI special effects option, extensive biographical profiles of the actors (this re-mastered release may be the first encounter by a young fan of Peter Cushing) and a NOW AND THEN feature.
Sadly, a missed opportunity to truly celebrate the TARDIS' only forays onto the `big screen'.
on 20 November 2013
A very good picture, clear mono sound, not much else to say really. I was impressed with how many extra features there are, although none of them are anything special in my opinion.
It would have been nice if they had upgraded the movie to 5.1 like some previous remasters of Doctor Who have been, but its not a deal breaker.
Yes you can see the painted backgrounds of the sound stages very clearly and the wires holding the dalek space ship up, but that is part of the charm. As I have only ever seen the movie on DVD it was actually quite fun to finally see these little details that were invisible before.
If you already have fond memories of this movie, this is the best quality version you are going to get. If you don't already love this movie, I would be tempted to rent it as I'm not sure it will have the same appeal.