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Worth seeing. Really.
on 18 October 2007
The Doctor Who TV movie, a British-American joint venture aimed at potentially launching a new TV series, is routinely slammed among Doctor Who fans as nasty and aborted chapter in Doctor Who history best locked away and forgotten.
But it's not that bad.
Paul McGann's Doctor is funny, quirky and intense - perfect to follow Sylvester McCoy's reign as the Time Lord. In fact, McCoy gets the first twenty minutes of the film to himself before the Frankenstein-themed regeneration sequence. The Seventh Doctor's final appearance is a strong performance and perhaps the best part of the movie.
Once McGann settles in, the plot gets murky and takes turns most Who purists wish it had not. The fact that McGann's Doctor is half human is an integral part of the plot and can't be swept under the carpet as easily as some fan would like. The effort even features an American-style car chase, of course. The Eighth Doctor's performance, however, is solid throughout.
The TARDIS stars in this story alongside The Doctor, Grace, Lee and The Master. Even when poor camera work in some of the TARDIS scenes makes the mostly adequate special effects look like spray-painted Styrofoam and flashing lights, the time machine looks grander than ever. Even the high-tech TARDIS of the new series pales beside this one. The old girl has class.
While Yee Jee Tso's performance as Lee is wooden and amateurish, he does not have enough dialog to do much serious damage to the production. Eric Roberts first does a nice impression of the previous Master's voice, but after a line about getting used to his new body, Roberts' own mannerisms turn a menacing foe into something that eventually becomes like a perturbed Liberace.
The plot wraps up with convoluted convenience, but the story ultimately does not leave a bad taste in the mouth. It's a good effort and worth seeing. Just don't watch too closely.