- Actors: Tom Baker, Elizabeth Sladen
- Format: VHS
- Language: English
- Studio: BBC
- VHS Release Date: 24 Jan. 2000
- Run Time: 94 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 53 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00004CO4A
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,895 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Another adventure for everyone's favourite Time Lord. A may-day call to the Doctor (Tom Baker) and Sarah takes them to the outermost horizons of the Universe where they find a Morestran military expedition stranded on a remote planet. The Doctor has to battle an anti-matter monster, the unstable Morestran Commander Salamar, and scientist Professor Sorenson, who is transforming into a deadly Anti-man.
Drawing influence from some classic science-fiction across its four episodes, Planet Of Evil is a strong Doctor Who adventure, that finds Tom Baker in the title role, and Sarah-Jane (played by Elisabeth Sladen) as his side.
The adventure begins when they respond to a distress call from the most distant planet in the Universe. The planets name is Zeta Minor, and when they arrive, the Doctor and Sarah discover that a geological expedition has gone wrong, with just one survivor left. So whats happened? And whats with the one who managed to stay alive? Planet Of Evil has the answers
This is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure, originally broadcast in the midst of a confident period in the shows history. Well directed, and only occasionally hurt by its limited budget, there are also some strong supporting performances among the cast that do the story no harm at all.
The DVD itself is suitably packed with the kind of fascinating material that classic Doctor Who stories are renowned for, with a commentary track, documentaries, a photo gallery and publicity material.
But the star remains the story itself. Planet Of Evil is really good science fiction, reverential in some of its story elements yet tight enough to work as an adventure of real merit in its own right. A worthy addition to the Who DVD library. --Simon Brew --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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`Planet of Evil' is sometimes criticised for drawing on both `Forbidden Planet' and `Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', but those two classics owe debts to `The Tempest' and werewolf legends respectively. There is nothing totally new under the sun - not even the sun that shines on Zeta Minor.
`Planet of Evil' is totally, convincingly alien. Nobody would want to spend time in that steaming, haunted jungle lit by the savage red light of a strange sun. Nobody except Professor Sorenson, last survivor of a lost expedition.
The design work is outstanding; the jungle sets are very popular and highly praised and the monsters still look very good, but the interior of the Morestran spaceship attracts some criticism as `low-budget'. True, it was all done on a tiny budget but the spaceship is bleakly functional and military and makes a very sharp contrast with the hideously alive jungle world it has landed on.
Beyond the well-written story, the sets and the eerie soundtrack, the strength of `Planet of Evil' lies in three excellent double acts. Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen look so at home in their roles it's no surprise to learn from the DVD documentary that this was Elisabeth Sladen's favourite story. A poignant moment comes late in the narrative as the Doctor effectively says what might be his final goodbye to Sarah, with the famous quote from Captain Oates, a hero from another, real lost expedition. Trademark touches of humour are shared between them amid the danger; the Doctor quotes Shakespeare at one point and casually comments "charming fellow"!
Prentis Hancock (playing Commander Salamar) and Ewen Solon (playing Vishinsky) bring depth to the uneasy relationship between their characters. It's obvious right from their initial scene that the youthful Salamar has been promoted over the older, wiser and far more experienced First Officer. Salamar radiates insecurity and the need to prove himself as Commander; you just know it won't end well.
Finally, Professor Sorenson (a wonderful, edgy performance from Frederick Jaeger) is becoming lost, deep in a double act with himself. The scene where the Doctor reminds him of the moral responsibility of science is one you'll remember.
DVD extras include a very entertaining commentary and two excellent documentaries. One focuses mostly on the famous design elements of the show, the other is from the actors' perspective, both are interesting and help explain how such great shows were made with such small budgets - in a word, skill.
NOTE: The DVD menu shows clips from the programme as background, so if you don't know the story already, press `Play' ASAP. Hunt for the `Easter Egg', it's a good one.
Excellent smooth transaction - prompt & efficient - one to recommend to all A++
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