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Doctor Who: The Movie [VHS] 
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Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy star as the Time Lord in this made-for-TV feature based on the long-running BBC sci-fi series. Whilst returning the Master (Eric Roberts)'s remains to their home planet of Gallifrey, the Doctor (McCoy) crash lands the TARDIS on Earth in San Francisco in the year 1999. Gunned down by a street gang, the Doctor is rushed to hospital, where exploratory surgery by Dr Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook) triggers a regeneration into the Eighth Doctor (McGann). Meanwhile, the Master has taken over the body of a paramedic and infiltrated the TARDIS, which he plans to use in his latest scheme to take over the Doctor's new body and destroy the world.
Made to re-launch television's most famous time traveller, Doctor Who: The Movie is an expensive feature-length episode which attempts to continue the classic series and work as a stand-alone film. Transporting the remains of the Master, Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor is diverted to San Francisco in 1999. Regenerating in the form of Paul McGann, the Doctor gains a new companion in heart surgeon Dr Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook) and must stop the Master from destroying the world. All of which might have been fine, had not the most eccentrically British of programmes been almost entirely assimilated by the requirements of American network broadcasting. Matthew Jacobs' screenplay is literally nonsense, dependent on arbitrary, unexplained events while introducing numerous elements that contradict established Doctor Who mythology. The Tardis is re-imagined as a bizarre pre-Raphaelite/Gothic folly, while the Doctor, now half-human, becomes romantically involved with his lady companion. From the West Coast setting to metallic CGI morphing, from the look of Eric Roberts as the Master to a motorcycle/truck freeway chase, director Geoffrey Sax borrows freely from James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). Doctor Who fans should feel relieved this travesty was not successful enough to lead to lead to a series, though McGann himself does have the potential to make a fine Doctor. This is the slightly more violent US TV edit, rather than the cut version previously released on video.
On the DVD: There are two BBC trailers and a Fox promo "introducing the Doctor" to American audiences. The interview section features Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Eric Roberts, Daphne Ashbrook, director Geoffrey Sax and executive producer Philip Segal, twice. The main interviews are on-set promotional sound-bites. However, Segal's second interview was filmed in 2001 and finds him spending 10 minutes explaining why the programme turned out as it did, and coming very close to apologising for it. He also offers a two-minute tour of the new Tardis set. Alongside a gallery of 50 promotional stills is a four-minute compilation of behind-the-scenes "making of" footage. There are alternative versions of two scenes, though the "Puccini!" scene is so short as to be pointless. As usual with Doctor Who DVDs there are optional production subtitles and these offer a wealth of background information. Four songs used in the film are available as separate audio tracks, and John Debney's musical score can be listened to in isolation. Finally there is a commentary track by Geoffrey Sax, which contains some interesting material but does tend to state the obvious a lot. The sound is very strong stereo and the 4:3 picture is excellent with only the slightest grain. --Gary S Dalkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
All though it was much lambasted by some at the time the TV Movie aged surprisingly well. To set things up first you must remember that Doctor Who was unceremoniously cancelled in 1989, the last show, Survival, aired December 6th of that year. From the moment it was cancelled fans did everything possible to convince the BBC to renew the series. Nothing worked, the BBC seemed rather glad to be done with Doctor Who.
A successful Book series was launched (The New Adventures of Doctor Who)with some fans becoming writers (like Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss, Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat [IMHO Moffat wrote one of the best short stories of the era]) filling the gap left when the Doctor left the air and kept the stories moving forward.
Enter 1996 and the TV Movie unofficially titled "Enemy Within", some how the Americans became involved and were instrumental in resurrecting the series. All though the story leading to how they became involved is a long meandering one full of narrowly avoided pitfalls.
To reintroduce the show the producers took a cheat using one of the most uniquely Doctor Who gimmicks, regeneration. They would use the introduction of a "New Doctor" to lay out an outline of who's Who and what the series was about. It worked, good, bad and ugly, it worked.
Sure mistakes were made and some things were changed that were better off left alone. But on the whole this was a loving homage to a series America knew very little about.
The cloister bell rings and Paul McGanns outstanding voiceover sets the stage. The theme music is retooled to sound like it would have without Delia Derbyshire's revolutionary interpretation, a mistake IMHO but one worth listing to.Read more ›
Ok now i'm going too deep so here are my main issues, the story(too many coincidences e.g 'i need an atomic clock' looks to TV, the reporter talks about an atomic clock!), an over the top campy master, a companion who thinks she's an intellectual equal with the doctor when she is clearly not(she is clever for one of us apes though :)) and a romance that wasn't necessary and cheesy in the extreme. If you want a good doctor who romance watch the new series with the doctor and rose!
The plot is a bit of a mess - the first half of the movie is fine, quite atmospheric in places and very nicely directed. Unfortunately it then becomes just another desparate race against time yarn that doesn't really deliver anything and with some plot holes you can fly a TARDIS through. However, the performances are generally good, Paul McGann is outstanding in the role and really deserved a better crack at the whip. Eric Roberts seems to divide fans as the Master, but I admit to liking him - somehow, his Master actually seems like a very dangerous person, rather than the slightly pantomime villain he was in the original series.
The production itself looks good, although I think I'm one of those few fans who doesn't really like the TARDIS interior in this show. I liked the wooden control room in the original series, but this one just seemed out of keeping. By making it so huge, the TARDIS actually seemed smaller as a result to me, and appeared to only consist of two rooms. I love the console, though - one thing they did get right. If only they had put roundels on the walls - it would have felt much more TARDIS-y.
All in all, a mixed bag. Entertaining enough, and a glimpse of what could have been if it had gone to a series. Then again, we probably wouldn't have got the series we've got now, and I for one am grateful for that.
He's almost outdone by Sylvester McCoy's last minutes in the role, Sylv gives us a wise and ancient figure at peace with himself-and what a difference a smarter version of his costume makes!
Daphne Ashbrook's Grace is at her best in her emergency room scenes and has good chemistry with McGann, although there are signs of the character getting diluted at points. Yee Jee Tso's Chang Lee is a companion who hasn't dated , although the Street
Gang background might give programme makers the jitters now. He's especially good in scenes with Eic Roberts' Master. I know a lot of people don't like him, but I think Roberts' Operatic performance is just right. He is OTT but then the script isn't subtle and just hear his delivery of lines like "I always dress for the Occasion!"
Production values are pretty good although only the extensive location work on film puts it ahead of current Who. Well directed too.
The extensive Tardis interior redesign is a triumph, a vast and darkly lit space-again influence on new Who may be possible.
What is the minus? Well, it's the script. There is a lack of story, it's little more than a regeneration and run around. Also the characterisation of the Doctor as written is of an almost omniscient being who has already met everyone & learned their inner most secrets.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Paul McGann makes a *fantastic* Doctor. I know the movie is much maligned - but I actually don't think it's the worst effort the Doctor Who production teams have ever made. Read morePublished 9 days ago by The Great Sarcasmo
I watched this when it was first aired and then forgot about it until I bought it recently. I am happy the US didn't pick it up for a series as I think they would have destroyed... Read morePublished 4 months ago by D. A. Sinclair
Seems like someone has watched an episode or two. Completely misunderstood the concept and then made this film. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Calogero S Farruggio