43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Over 10 years of CLASSIC WHO releases - this is the zenith. Unbeatable.,
This review is from: Doctor Who - Day of the Daleks [DVD]  (DVD)Looking ruefully at the BBC VIDEO 1983 premiere DOCTOR WHO release, REVENGE OF THE CYBERMEN as it gathers dust as well as nearly 30 years worth of fading memories I could hardly imagine then that the series would be so extensively& professionally chronicled as it has become.
In this month's (September 2011) release, DOCTOR WHO - DAY OF THE DALEKS has reached an unimaginable level of superfluous excellent, creativity and attention to detail that it has established a new benchmark for the series by which all future- and the majority of previous CLASSIC SERIES releases - will be measure & judged by.
Simply, DVD release of the Year.
This two-disc contains a "special edition" of the four-parter that has been lovingly and appropriately enhanced with new CGI additions and live-action film inserts that is produced with such subtly and deftness of touch. It is a masterpiece. A genuine masterpiece from Steve Broster of BBC DVD and combined with a clarity of print restoration from the" unofficial" BBC Restoration Team and a stunning aural treatment from Mark Ayres (with Nicholas Briggs as the disturbingly elemental voice of the daleks) this re-working is essential viewing for CLASSIC SERIES and NEW SERIES fans alike.
I have a suggestion. Watch the "special edition" before re-watching the "original version" with the commentary activated or you will be sitting there "new bit spotting" instead of becoming all consumed by the magic, and, if you are like me and not watched DOCTOR WHO - DAY OF THE DALEKS for several years, you may be saying to yourself, "Wait, was that sequence in the original release? Did that really happen like that? Was there UNIT soldier shot there?" At times, the original and the new are seamlessly fluent.
The print's colour restoration, as I said, is incredibly adroit compared to the original VHS releases so much so that the production's 1971 recording flaws are, sadly, evident. Whilst the painted cloth landscape backdrops viewed through the Mansion's French windows are woefully bland, the Doctor's patent black gold buckled shoes are as shiny as they were on the day of filming as are the Controller's Mary Quant styled silver painted fingernails. Glorious. As is episode three's "flash" of Jo Grant's scarlet knickers in a pre-emptive tea-time censored homage to Sharon Stone's appearance in BASIC INSTINCT. As I said, glorious, and unlike a VHS tape cassette you cannot wear-out a DVD with the "pause button" facility.
By all accounts, the audio treatment has had a slightly more difficult task in dovetailing a composite original sound track (and in Mono, too) with new sound effects, atmospheric background sounds and, of course, Briggs' re-working (created by re-using an antiquated 1970s ring-modulator machine instead of a digital treatment) of the original dalek voices. Like a oil painting restorer, Mark Ayres is generous but, thankfully, restrained in delicately touching-up areas of concern, repairing its craquel-glaze and mending any tears or rips to the basic canvas. In the manipulation of new dalek voices must have proved difficult, as, from knowing the original broadcast, dalek and human voices were frequently over-laid, clipping each other's words. However, the result is remarkably precise and effective.
If only Broster had asked Briggs to re-voice the Orgon lethargic pantomime speech too.
The new CGI inserts & sequences are, so it seems, more extensive that in the DVD release, ENLIGHTENMENT and, quite frankly, are superior.
Without question, Broster has had added the polished lacquer to DOCTOR WHO - DAY OF THE DALEKS that the seventies production team could never have realised due to limited resources (a combination of time, budget and technical), and, in effect, deserves a joint credit listing as "Directed by..."
The horrifically gory disembodiment at the trigger of the Orgon pistols echoes the - and this is a truly not a real word - "vinegarisation" of a raxacoricofallapatorian with globs tissue and flesh liberally spewing unapologetically. You actually feel sorry for the hapless UNIT soldiers or "freedom fighters" caught in the crossfire at their undignified demise but as a Sontaran Clone would relish as it breathes it last; "...a glorious death".
Whilst the original overly tedious "motor trike chase scene" is not truncated it is enhanced with a digital treatment as the Organ hunting of the Doctor & Jo Grant is viewed through the ever-present "big brother" CCTV monitors. Neat idea; well thought through.
However, there was one error - if you can call it an "error" - which I surprised by. The Controller's "time location map" was used to both identify two locations (the mansion and the canal tunnel) without being updated accordingly. Probably, due to cost?
Most successful of the CGI treatment is the final episode's battle scene where, originally, five or six Ogrons lumber like Ann Widdecombe in STRICTLY COME DANCING (read: DANCING WITH THE STARS) attempting the Paso Doble alongside a disappointing invasion force of three solitary daleks. However, Broster's reimagineering is like watching Spielberg's opening sequence to SAVING PRIVATE RYAN in comparison. I have said it before but his work is seamlessly integrated into the original production, and I can offer no further plaudits less you think that I'm being paid by BBC DVD to positive about this release. Hopefully, my honesty will ensure you will buy this DVD on the day of its release
Sadly, the DVD EXTRAS (disc two) demonstrate that the "extras" produced for recent releases have been of a very poor quality. Again, as with the "special edition", these "extras" set a new benchmark for future (and there not many to come...) releases.
Broster's affectionate essay, THE CHEATING MEMORY may be slightly surreal for younger and NEW SERIES fans to watch - and accept - but for the more mature fans, like myself, who grew-up in the halcyon days of the series (late sixties and seventies) this documentary is pitch-perfect. How the memory is affected by the passage of time is cheekily assessed and validated by a real-life - who'd thought of it - Psychologist. Discussing "infantile amnesia", "blended memories" and "edited highlights", it goes to prove, perhaps, that DOCTOR WHO should be watched once without a constant reassessment of its messages and content. Intelligent comment within this "extra" is rare within these CLASSIC SERIES releases and is to welcomed. Now, I'm going to watch TIMELASH again.
In THE UNIT DATING CONUNDRUM fans will be the relieved that we now have the most definitive dating of when the UNIT stories were set and that John Nathan-Turner's dystopian view was misguided and categorically incorrect. Working backwards, the dating is founded in THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (set in 1935), leading to 1975 with the Great Intelligence's Yeti-supported invasion of the London Underground in THE WEB OF FEAR and, four years later, 1979, with the establishment of UNIT in THE INVASION. Simple, isn't it?
If you are addicted, as I am, to Chuck Foster's DOCTOR WHO LOCATIONS GUIDE, the NOW AND THEN "extra" is essential viewing as it revisits the seemingly unchanged - bar a wasteland - filming locations of DAY OF THE DALEKS and, under the charmingly dry narration of Toby Hadoke, it is a interesting diversion.
THE MAKING OF DAY OF THE DALEKS featurette demonstrates the skill, dedication and, yes, professionalism of the team as it explains how the different strands of technical expertise were drawn together. In filming new live-action sequences the team purchased a 16MM film camera to match the quality of the print of the original (albeit with extra minor "colorisation" manipulation) in addition to re-visiting the original locations to retain integrity.
The key word for THE UNIT FAMILY - PART TWO (with PART THREE planned for the TERROR OF THE ZYGONS DVD release?) featurette is "fondness". For me, the "UNIT family" is like a second family that I had grown-up with. Lovingly, Courtney, Manning, Levene and Franklin recount their time on the series with the fondness of memories reserved for the talent & friendship of Roger Delgado. Heartfelt and tearful at times.
Interestingly, the featurette includes a glimpse of a "colourised" episode, DOCTOR WHO - THE MIND OF EVIL ripe for release on DVD in the coming year.
The DVD EXTRAS for disc one are as entertaining as the "special edition" inclusions, well balanced and informative.
No more so than a truly fascinating - almost hypnotic - glimpse to the work of the production team as it guided CLASSIC SERIES stories from the technical room known as "the gallery". Barry Letts (former series Producer/Director/Writer) and Mike Catherwood (Vision Mixer) discuss the process of making DOCTOR WHO from the viewpoint of the 1970s and how the lack of money & time caused insurmountable problems in recoding the drama series. In what resulted in a "masterclass in television creation" featurette that puts the sickly-sweet DOCTOR WHO CONFIDENTIAL to shame, Barry Letts was at his usual generous best when his surmised that the Vision Mixer (Catherwood) "fine tuned what the Director made".
Like candyfloss, the clip from NATIONWIDE and BLUE PETER are colourful but vacuous, adding nothing to the narration or assesment of DOCTOR WHO - DAY OF THE DALEKS.
BLASTING THE PAST reviews the genesis of the story (originally there was story called THE DALEKS IN LONDON that would have concluded the 9th season of DOCTOR WHO) interviewing its cast and crew.
Originally, Louis Marks' submission was devoid of daleks (titled THE GHOST HUNTERS) and mirrored the politically motivated issues of "the troubles" in Northern Ireland of the time. Critically, Barry Letts was harsh in Paul Bernard's directing skills (or lack of them) and his handling of his actors ("too theatrical"), whilst Terrance Dicks admitted it was a "mistake" for the Doctor shooting down Ogrons without provocation or reason. However, most disappointing is the overly brief inclusion of the iconic "mask maker", John Friedlander who makes a rare appearance to discuss the origin of the "Ogerons" head-mask. I hope that there will be more contribution from Friedlander in the future.
I have yet to listen the COMMENTARY provided from the production's crew Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks, Mike Catherwood and its cast Anna Barry and Jim Winston.
Overall, DOCTOR WHO - DAY OF THE DALEKS special edition should have been renamed "very special edition" due to the diligence, care and attention to detail that has been lavished (not superficially so) upon it, and all plaudits should be directed to Steve Broster, Mark Ayres and Steve Roberts without hesitation or embarrassment.
It's like an airport greeting of a friend that you haven't seen for many years; the anticipation between the plane landing and the Arrivals gates swinging open is electric and is matched by the mutual smile and the all encompassing hug that follows. It's like that you haven't been apart.
Welcome home, DOCTOR WHO - DAY OF THE DALEKS. You've been missed. Now, let's make out.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Sep 2011 16:01:47 BDT
Sam Hunter says:
An excellent review. Thank you.
Posted on 17 Sep 2011 09:45:18 BDT
"Simple, isn't it?" Oh no it isn't! At the beginning of Mind of Evil, a year has passed since Terror of the Autons... meaning the rest of that season occurs in 1980. But Sarah Jane Smith joined in 1980, according to Pyramids of Mars. So that's a busy 1980 for the good doctor...
Posted on 25 Oct 2011 04:55:56 BDT
Great review mate, I didn't realise they had produced a new version of this show. I will be ordering this once it drops a bit in price.
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