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Customer Review

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully simple, well paced adventure, 2 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Moonbase [DVD] (DVD)
This is a lovely example of the second Doctor era; The Moonbase is quite early on for Patrick Troughton and he's already settled into the role, setting the template for his future performances as this new version of the time lord.

Watching this DVD gave me a new appreciation of Polly and Ben, and both Anneke Wills and Micheal Craze make a good account of themselves here. In this story at least they prove to be far more than the standard 1960s companions; both appear to be clever, with a useful grasp of science. It's early days for Jamie though and its fair to say Frazer Hines doesn’t get to do very much. This soon changes in future stories as the character is properly developed.

I've never been a fan of Cybermen but the version we see here are probably my favourite. They retain their essential creepiness while toning some of it down from the original version. Those original Cybermen were very clever and effective, but even now as an adult I think they are a touch too horrifying. The second evolution is perfect; the voices are a brilliant improvement, although certain words can be difficult to understand, and the new letterbox style mouth is a smart and chilling move.

Leading man Patrick Troughton is on great form, giving his trademark performance that mixes natural television acting with the slightly over the top theatre style performance. The latter approach appears during moments of excitement. One of his classic Doctor Who speeches that pops up in all sorts of clips is present here, and its nice to finally see it in the context of the complete story. Also the scene where he asks Hobson if he's searched every inch of the base is another gem. It's all those little, but significant moments of pitch perfect acting that makes Troughton one of my favourite Doctors. Other performances worthy of special note are Patrick Barr's interpretation of Hobson and Andre Meranne, playing Beniot. In my opinion they provide the two best guest performances I've seen in the Troughton era... and they just so happen to be in the same story.

There are a few production wobbles (sometimes literally) but this was the way of things in 1960s TV; things either went to plan or they didn't. Either way it was captured on camera and broadcast. They had great casting on their side and a refreshingly simple story that I didn't have to watch again just to understand (that didn't stop me watching it twice though).

Onto the thorny subject of animating missing episodes... Half of the episodes exist in their normal television format, leaving the other two in need of animation to make the story complete. The way its been done here is okay, but certainly not my favourite. I still don't think classic series animation has been bettered since 'The Invasion' way back in 2006, but you may disagree, so my opinion on this should not affect your decision.

If you are into old Doctor Who, or appreciate all the different eras, I have no hesitation in recommending this DVD, enjoy!
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