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Steven Morrison

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The 13th Warrior [DVD] [1999]
The 13th Warrior [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Antonio Banderas
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £3.75

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long faces or Longboats?, 13 July 2007
Ever since I saw Kirk Douglas dancing on oars in the Vikings (1958) I have always enjoyed stories about the pillaging Norsemen. The reality of their culture; craftsmen, traders, explorers is often ignored by film-makers. They like to focus on the more exciting warrior side of our heroes with the horned helmets (no basis in fact for those helmets by the way, they just look good on screen). But, since I wanted to watch a movie and not sit through an anthropology lecture - thank god they do.

Adapted from Michael Crichton's "Eaters of the Dead" a variation on the classic story of Beowulf, this film consists of number of warriors banding together to protect a terrified village (sound familiar?). That's all you really need to know (just as well, because that's all there really is) the story moves from one set-piece to the other at a considered and suspenseful pace. In particular the scene of Banderas learning the finer points of Viking Politics through a duel is wonderful.

The performances are adequate; the warriors are suitably bombastic or sullen (only crime is Omar Sharif being wasted in a cameo). Banderas seldom does poor work and this is no exception. Playing the part of an outsider from the Arab world; he's our eyes into the mysterious world of the other characters. However the notable turn is by Vladimar Kulich as the Leader of the Viking Band, in my opinion a faultless performance.

In brief it's a lot of fun, but like most action movies you're going to feel like you've see it all before and you have. John McTiernan is an old hand at action/adventure and this film is workmanlike and enjoyable. The script hints at deeper ideas like xenophobia, just ignore them and enjoy the ride you'll have more fun.

DVD is a good transfer of picture and sound, which is what you would expect of a film less than ten years old. "Scene Access and Interactive Menus" are listed as extras so don't expect much.

Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks[1966](Original BBC Television Soundtrack)
Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks[1966](Original BBC Television Soundtrack)
by Doctor Who
Edition: Audio CD

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent debut, 1 Mar. 2006
The Power of the Daleks is one of the most important stories in the history of Doctor Who. It features the FIRST regeneration sequence of the renegade Time-Lord. (Control yourself dedicated Whovians I know the Tenth Planet contains the sequence but I don’t count thirty seconds at the end of a serial – I call that a cliff-hanger)
In 1966 the BBC hit show ‘Dr Who’ was in crisis; its lead actor William Hartnell was leaving and unless a suitable solution could be found it would mean the end of the show. The producer at that time, Innes Lloyd, encouraged his team to find a creative solution and the concept of the Doctor being able to undergo a renewal was born.
Second problem, find an actor the audience could accept in place of their beloved Bill Hartnell. In a masterstroke they cast probably the finest actor to ever play the role, Patrick Troughton. So with a radically different persona, all his comic charm and talent the new Doctor sets about persuading the audience to accept him. Whether or not he succeeded, I will never know, I was raised during Davison’s tenure as the Fifth Doctor and never had to accept him in quite the same way. What I do know is, Trougthon’s Space-Hobo 2nd Doctor is my favourite. His performance as the doctor was so exquisite that even with only his voice I can still ‘see’ his face and mannerisms. I would love to watch these serials on DVD but unfortunately they do not exist, in there absence I will take what I can get of this wonderful performer.
Using the Doctor’s most popular enemies ensured a good start for the 2nd Doctor’s debut. The Power of the Daleks was written by David Whitaker (not their creator Terry Nation) and is an excellent story. Since the plot is summarised above there is little point repeating it; but what I will say is, some six part serials suffer from a lack of content (the Faceless Ones for example) but this is not the case for The Power of the Daleks. The introduction of the Doctor, the internal politics of the Colony, and the scheming of the Daleks, there is plenty to keep you interested.
The re-mastering of the archive originals is clear and crisp, Anneke Wills (who played Polly in this serial) provides the excellent linking narration on this Audiobook and she performs it beautifully. You can feel her affection for the material and it’s easy to picture the action from her words.
I would recommend this to anyone who was a fan of the show or even liked the new stuff with Chris Eccleston. The story is excellent (as are the performances of the players) but don’t expect Shakespeare - this is Dr Who. But it is an excellent example of Dr Who, so if you like ‘this sort of thing’ buy it and listen to Patrick Troughton confound the schemes of his most famous enemies.

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