Customer Review

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "...whole restoration deserves appreciation...but (the Extras are) disappointing...", 6 Jun 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who And The Daleks [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
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.

Certainly, it would be remise of STUDIOCANAL to merely re-issue DR WHO AND THE DALEKS and DALEKS' INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D. with new sleeve artwork and unceremoniously blow-off-the-dust in order to capitalise on DOCTOR WHO fan's whetted appetite in this anniversary year.

Sadly, that's what has happened, and whilst the two original print negatives have been meticulously cleaned & restored to their glorious Technoscope magnificence the releases have failed equally magnificently to provide a new array of intelligent, insightful, analytical `value added material' (VAM) or `Extras' that provides viewers with new appreciation.

And, regrettably, even the majority of the five VAMs are surreally obtuse and, seemingly, hurriedly written & filmed that result in an embarrassing mélange of mediocrity.

The VAM content could have been so much improved if - where's TARDIS when you need `her'? - STUDIOCANAL had researched and reviewed the `Extras' produced for BBC DVD's excellent DOCTOR WHO CLASSIC SERIES releases or had employed an independent production company, like London's PUP MEDIA LIMITED, to create an in-depth range of `Extras'.

Whilst that may seems harsh - yet honest - appraisal of the VAM, the RESTORING... featurettes is fascinating and demonstrates to all DOCTOR WHO fans the diligence of the Restoration Team as they, frame-by-frame, skilfully ensures that our enjoyment is not undermined or spoilt as we nonchalantly settle down in from of the screen, Tortilla Chips and cup of tea in hand, to lose ourselves within space-time. Frequently, DOCTOR WHO fan take everything for granted so understanding the lengths producers extend to will only enhance their enjoyment of the film or episode.

One question; who is Gareth Owen, and why was he allowed to be filmed in a `screening room' that contained grubby-stained headrest chairs that was only emphasised in using high-definition cameras? Why do I ask? Simply, his diatribe was so soporific that my attention, like a TARDIS key `perception filter' (see THE SOUND OF DRUMS [2007]), waivered of subject. Not impressive and forgettable, and 'the voice of the Daleks', Nicholas Briggs, may have been a more apposite contributor. By the way, he's the author of THE SHEPPERTON STORY.

In DALEKMANIA, the rise and rise in popularity of Terry Nation's seminal aliens is dexterously detailed with interview clips from the writer, cast and crew in addition to inter-linking narrative from 1960's `scamps' visiting a `flea-pit' managed by a familiar DOCTOR WHO actor, Michael (the original Davros) Wisher. Previously released on VHS and DVD, this is certainly a featurette that could have benefited from a `clean-up', however it remains entertaining and informative as it chronicles the development, filming and promotion of DR WHO AND THE DALEKS and its successor.

However, with that said, the restoration of the original print is masterful, with every frame pin-sharp, Mondrian saturated colour that delivers a richness of depth & clarity and an audio track devoid of distortion, drop-out or flanging that reverberates with both subtlety and expansionism. The on-screen image is so clear that you can clearly see the body definition of the 'Dalek Operator' through its neck gauze, in addition to the weave on the Doctor's waistcoat.

Without hesitation, the whole restoration deserves your attention and appreciation.

Of course, the story plotting echoes Nation's original screenplay for the 1963 seven-part story, (known as) DOCTOR WHO - THE DALEKS, truncating the meandering televised version into a responsive adventure story that is relentless in its pace. Here, the titular character, the Doctor (surname: Who) has invented TARDIS that accidentally transports the hapless, fidgety Ian (the engaging Roy Castle), Barbara (Jennie Linden) and the inventor's granddaughter, Susan (Roberta Tovey) to the radiation plagued planet of Skaro - home to two disparate life-forms, the Thals and, encased in `metal travel machines', the Daleks.

Overall, whilst the `value added material' is disappointing and bereft of care & attention, it is the film's print restoration that redeems the release (issued by STUDIOCANAL both on standard DVD and Blu-Ray) and is wholly recommended.

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'.

And so to DALEKS' INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D. ...
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