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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Childish? Far from it!, 9 Jan. 2006
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Curse of Fenric [1989] [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
Whoever said this adventure was childish has seriously confused me. This is the creme de la creme of classic who. Absolutely stunning.
Season 26 of Doctor Who as a whole was absolutely incredible, taking things up a notch from Season 25, which in itself was damn good. The 4 episodes that make up Curse are a fine example of this- exciting, creepy, thrilling, and mysterious. The Cartmel Masterplan was well underway and Doctor Who was finally utilising its potetial to be the ultimate sci-fi series ever - and also a great family show... yes, FAMILY but not CHILDREN'S. Children could enjoy the show for the action, adventure, and scary monsters, but at the same time their parents would be able to appreciate so much more.
The Doctor was not the man he used to be. He was becoming mysterious, manipulative, threatening even. He no longer stumbled randomly from place to place, falling into trouble and getting out of it, in seasons 25-26 you always got the feeling he was... up to something. Sure enough, upon arrival at a WWII British military base the doc ends up battling an ancient enemy from deep in his past, coincidence? One gets the eerie feeling that maybe all these years he claimed to not really know where he was going, maybe he did, and that he had a reason...
Anyway, forgetting the dr for a second, then we have Ace, probably the most interesting character ever to travel in the TARDIS (aside from the dr of course). Unlike most other regulars throughout Who's original 25year run Ace actually had character development!!! She grew, blossomed and matured in her 31 episodes on TV(not to mention what happened to her in the book series that ran when the series was cancelled!), and in Curse we have her "sexual awakening", Ace is no longer a girl, but a woman, using her bubbling sexuality to distract one of the soldiers to give the doctor a clear run. And of course, in Curse we discover that she is no normal Who companion, and, two seasons since she joined the TARDIS crew, we find out that her meeting with the doctor was no coincidence... But I wont reveal too much for the sake of anyone who still hasn't seen it, but its good! Especially so if you've seen stories preceeding it(or at least "Dragonfire" and "Silver Nemesis")
The extra characters in this story are also well sketched out and portrayed, Nicholas Parson playing Wainright is incredible, he makes the character (a Reverand who has lost is faith in Christ because of the War, especially the barbaric actions of the BRITISH military) incredibly believable and sympathetic. Also worthy of note are Tomek Bork as the well meaning Russian Captain Sorin, Alfred Lynch as the deranged Nazi-sympathiser Commander Millington, and Dinsdale Landen as the wheelchair-bound Doctor Judson. Of particular interest are the underlying hints of a possible romantic relationship between Millington and Judson, and Ian Briggs(the scriptwriter) himself admits that he concieved Millington's madness was in part due to his struggle with homosexuality in the brutal world of the British Army in the 1940's; whilst Judson's crippled nature is obviously symbolic of a deeper, personality "disability", and the only manner he can overcome it is to succomb to another's will. Powerful Stuff.
And for anyone who doesn't care about all the other stuff and just wants a fun run-around, it's a great Who good versus evil battle with great production values.
So with its stunning visuals, fascinating characterisation, shocking plot twists(including those that relate to seasons ago), deep subtext and above all else, a damn good story; what is there not to like in "The Curse of Fenric", and, more to the point, what, pray tell, is childish?
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