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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The miniscules, 7 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Planet of Giants [DVD] [1964] (DVD)
The first story from the second season of Doctor Who comes to DVD. Originally broadcast in 1964, all three black and white episodes are presented here on a single disc dvd.

It features the First Doctor, along with his companions Susan, Ian and Barbara.

The story uses an idea that had been under consideration ever since the start of the show. What if the TARDIS shrunk? In Planet of Giants, the doors of the TARDIS coming open in mid flight lead to that happening. The ship has landed in the middle of the garden of an old house in a sleepy English village. But in addition to all the dangers the crew face from insects and nature as a result of their diminished size, they have another problem. In the house is a ruthless businessman who is so determined to get a new pesticide onto the market, despite it's devastating effects to all kinds life, he will stop at nothing, even murder, to achieve his aims.

Can the Doctor and friends survive, return to their normal size, and save the Earth from the perils of the pesticide?

In the early days of the show the ambition of the production team was never stopped by the limitations of tv of the time. Or by the budget. As anyone who has seen 'The Web Planet' will know. But whilst Planet of Giants does it's best to create a bit of drama, and it does do some set pieces reasonably well, it can't get past the problem of being rather dull. There's no great tension to any of the proceedings, and the dated visuals and effects make it very hard to suspend your disbelief or really get hooked on the story.

It's also rather lacking in pace. Which is one reason why it was cut down from the originally planned four episodes into three. The third episode is the result of the original parts three and four being re-edited into one.

This is by no means a bad story. It's just not the most involving of them.

The dvd has the usual language and subtitle options:

Languages: English. And also Arabic, since the BBC still hold a copy of the print that was sold to certain arabic speaking countries, so you can listen to it in that if you wish.

Subtitles: English.

It's also English audio captioned.

It has the usual features of this dvd range:

Production information subtitles.

A photo gallery of stills from the story and shots from it being made.

A commentary. None of the guest cast of the story are still with us, so this one is done entirely by members of the production staff.

A trailer for the next release in the dvd range.

And in addition to the usual Radio Times listings for the story as a PDF file you also get prop design plans from it.

Other extras:

Two more sets of interviews originally made for a 2003 documentary about Doctor Who. One with original producer Verity Lambert, and one with Carole Ann Ford, who played Susan. Both run for fifteen minutes [approx]. Both are good interviews. Both also need to be watched right to the end of the credits in order to see an additional moment.

The dvd also contains a reconstruction of the original full length third and fourth parts. This is run together as one long extra of just over fifty one minutes, but each part does have ending and opening credits. If you want to watch just one at a time you can get to the start of of part via the chapter button on the dvd remote, and pressing it till the part starts.

The original footage that was cut is no longer with us, so it has been restored by putting in reprised shots from elsewhere in the story. Occasional bits of cgi. And having a new recording of the dialogue. Given that William Russell [Ian] and Carole Ann Ford are still with us, they reprise their roles. And new actors do the other characters. The new cast are very good. The actor who does the Doctor's voice especially so. But you can't get by the fact that they all sound different to the original cast. And that is very noticeable.

Whilst this version of part three isn't too badly paced part four does feel slow and lacking in pace at points. So you can see why it was cut.

Be aware [Mild spoiler] that these two episodes do contain a couple of moments that young children and animal lovers might find a bit distressing. Although that might not be a problem since they may not be able to suspend their disbelief at the points in question [end of mild spoiler].

But these two new versions are nonethless an interesting look at what might have been.

There is also a seven minute long feature on how they were done, complete with lots of footage of the new voice cast at work.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Jan 2013 19:38:24 GMT
A. Lane says:
I have to agree with the above comment that this story whilst not being awful does lack pace and is somewhat dull. I am not a DR Who devotee but watch the early stories with my fiancé who has almost all episodes from 1963 to present day.

Posted on 30 Oct 2013 21:10:02 GMT
Timelord-007 says:
Fair review of a average adventure.
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