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Doctor Who and the Daleks

I'm enjoying the current revival of Doctor Who. It's still essentially a children's show (which could explain the unfortunate appearance of the farting aliens) but layered in are adult themes, real moral dilemmas and grand personal tragedy (what exactly did happen to the Time Lords and what was the Doctor's role in their demise?).

So it was quite a contrast watching the first Peter Cushing Doctor Who movie from the sixties. Or re-watching rather. I saw both this movie and its sequel (Dalek Invasion Earth) as a kid, though only remembered tiny snatches of images. It doesn't hold up well.

Also clearly aimed at kids, but never aspiring to be anything more than a saturday afternoon's entertainment, Peter Cushing's Doctor Who is set outside the TV show's continuity. This Doctor is no Gallifreyan Time Lord but an eccentric human scientist who blithely travels through time and space with his grand daughter Susan, his daughter Barbara (in pink hotpants), and her bumbling boyfriend Ian (I really hate comic relief characters).

Stripping the Doctor of the Time Lord aspect of the TV show's mythology really takes away from the mystique of the character (though, granted, I'm not sure if at the time the TV Doctor's alien heritage had been revealed).

Similarly, assigning to the Daleks pages of exposition undermines what little menace they have. Their screechy, punctuated delivery really isn't suited to long speeches. They should really just stick to "Exterminate!" and "You. Will. Obey!"

The plot owes something to H G Wells' Eloi and Morlocks with the Daleks in the Morlock role of course. The climax (though calling seems more than flattering) features the longest sixty second countdown in movie history... but then, the Doctor is a time traveller, so maybe that explains that.

And the TARDIS doesn't even VWORP!! It just fades away without a sound. No character at all.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 13, 2005 11:27 PM.

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