Thursday, 8 September 2011

Big Gay Longcat reviews Dr. Who and the Daleks

This is a film that was made in 1965. It has Daleks in it but not the Doctor. Instead it has a manny called Dr Who and he is similar but different to the Doctor. It starred Peter Cushing as Dr Who, with Roy Castle as Ian, Jennie Linden as Barbara and Roberta Tovey as Susan.

It starts with a ticking clock, which is deeply symbolic of time-travel. This promises that the film will be full of clever symbolism. Obviously I must have missed a lot of this, because I'm only a cat, but I'm sure it would be there if I was clever enough to spot it.

Then we meet the main characters. Susan and Barbara are Dr Who's granddaughters and they are both reading science books. Dr Who is reading the Eagle comic.

"Most exciting," he says. This shows Dr Who already knows so much about science that he doesn't need to read any more books about it. You see what I mean about symbolism?

Ian arrives and bashes his head when he comes in. This shows us that he is very clumsy, which will later be an important plot point as well as being a reversal of how Ian Chesterton is in the TV series, when he is a science teacher and not clumsy at all.

Ian meets Dr Who for the first time and is introduced, but very soon after Dr Who calls Ian "Harold" by mistake. This shows that Dr Who is absent-minded. He wants to show Ian something.
"My latest invention," he says proudly.
"What, a Police Box?" asks Ian. He obviously knows Police Boxes have already been invented.
"Of course not!" Susan is indignant.
"This is TARDIS," explains Dr Who.
Ian opens the door and looks in. It's bigger on the inside! Ian looks confused. Dr Who, Ian and Susan go in and Dr Who explains how TARDIS works. Ian looks more confused.

Barbara comes in and Ian falls on a big lever that makes TARDIS disappear.
"We could be anywhere in the universe, and at any time," says Dr Who. "Rather exciting, isn't it?"
Ian doesn't believe that they have moved until he opens the door.

They are in a forest where all the trees are dead. It has taken just 7 minutes of the film to get to Skaro.

Ian wants to go home but Dr Who and Susan want to explore. Barbara sees a monster and clumsy Ian falls on it, which reveals that it is dead like the trees.

Susan sees a city and Dr Who wants to investigate it but Ian and Barbara persuade them to go back to TARDIS because they're scared. On the way back a hand touches Susan on the shoulder and she gets scared too.

Back at TARDIS something knocks on the door. Ian wants them to go home but Dr Who says TARDIS is broken and they need some mercury to make it work again, so they will have to go to the city to look for some.

They go out into the forest again and find a box. It has medicine in it. Dr Who is more interested in the city and they leave the box behind in TARDIS for him to look at later.

At the city the music changes subtly, becoming more sinister. I know what's going to happen but if I didn't the music would be a big clue that something dramatic is going to happen soon.

Dr Who is tired and Ian doesn't feel well either. They split up to look for mercury. The doors open to let Barbara in one way, Dr Who and Susan in another way, but they don't open for Ian. The door trolls Ian by only opening when he isn't near it, and he is still there when Dr Who and Susan come back.

This is a very funny scene as Ian becomes more and more desperate to get past the door, but it is in contrast with the scary scene that follows as the film goes from silly to serious at this point.

Barbara meets something and screams. The others want to help her but can't get in until they trick the doors open. They find a control room but no sign of Barbara. Dr Who finds an instrument that tells him about the radiation.

He confesses to Ian that there is not really anything wrong with TARDIS, he was just too curious about the city and it turns out his curiosity has put them all in danger. If only there was some kind of saying or proverb about the peril of too much curiosity...

They are going to leave to continue looking for Barbara, when suddenly they are surrounded by DALEKS!

It is 20 minutes into the film before the Daleks appear, but when they do they really make an entrance.

These are bigger and scarier Daleks than usual, but they are also fabulous and multi-coloured. I like things that are fabulous and multi-coloured, they remind me of me.

Ian tries to run away and Daleks shoot him with steam so he can't walk, and if he can't walk then he can't run away either. These Daleks don't make people go negative like TV Daleks, they just steam them instead. I think this difference fits the larger-than-life look of the film Daleks.

They are all captured, Barbara as well. The Daleks also steal a bit of TARDIS from Dr Who. The Daleks explain about the Daleks and the Thals, but they think that the Thals are horrible mutations who have invented medicine to cure radiation - one of them has to go and get the box from TARDIS. Ian wants to go but he still can't walk, so Susan is brave and volunteers.

Obviously the Daleks are baddys and they plot to keep the medicine for themselves. They are pretending to be friendly and it is lucky for them that Susan cannot hear the menacing Dalek music that accompanies the scenes of her leaving the city.

Susan runs through the forest as a scary storm rages. She is being followed by someone. She gets back to TARDIS but the manny following her come in after her and it is a Thal.

His name is Alydon and he is friendly. He gives Susan more medicine to hid in case the Daleks steal the other medicine.
"But they called you monsters," says Susan.
"If they call us monsters, what must they be like?"

Susan gets back to the city and gives medicine to the others after the Daleks take some for their own use. The Daleks hear them talking about Alydon, and want to set a trap for the Thals.

To get them to come to the city the Daleks make Susan write a letter to the Thals, but when doing this they give away that they have been spying on them in the cell. The Dalek boasts that they will destroy the Thals when they come to the city for food. The Thals get the letter and believe it, so they are all set to fall into the trap.

Back in the cell Susan breaks the camera so they can plan an escape. Dr Who works out the Daleks' weakness and they set a trap of their own. Confusing the Dalek by wedging the cell door open, Barbara then blinds it with food in the eye, and then they put it on a cloak which makes the Dalek go to sleep (like the opposite of a budgie - at least I think that's what happens, I don't understand science things).

Dr Who and Ian open the Dalek up and take the insides out so Ian can get inside instead. Then they escape with Ian pretending to be a Dalek.

The creature that was inside the Dalek is green and horrible. Ian covers it with the cloak so we only see its hand.

They get past one Dalek with the Ian-in-a-Dalek ruse before they are found out. There is a very tense scene as they try to escape in a lift, but Ian is stuck inside the Dalek and gets left behind. More Daleks come in and they steam the Dalek Ian was in. It blows up, but he managed to escape just in time.

Speaking of "just in time," the Thals are coming to get food killed by the Daleks. They are slowly, cautiously walking into the Dalek city, oblivious to the ominous Dalek music, when Dr Who runs in and shouts
so the Thals run away, except for one of them who is steamed by the Daleks and killed.

Everybody runs all the way to TARDIS, the Thals too. They can't leave in TARDIS because the Daleks still have the bit they took earlier. Dr Who tries to persuade the Thals to fight the Daleks, but they are peaceful and don't want to.

Meanwhile, the Daleks have discovered they can't use the Thals' medicine, which means they can't leave the city to attack the Thals. The only way they can kill all the Thals is by exploding a big bomb.

The Thals keep saying they don't want to fight the Daleks until Dr Who plays a trick on them. He gets Ian to kidnap one of the Thals, which makes Alydon angry and he punches Ian. Poor Ian, it is his lot to be the one who gets hurt. But it does show the Thals that some things are worth fighting for.

Unknown to them, but known to the Daleks and us watching, the Daleks have made their bomb and it is going to explode in 1 hour. This means it is a race against time to save everyone, which makes the rest of the film even more exciting.

To attack the Daleks they have a clever plan to send Ian, Barbara and 3 Thals (Ganatus, Antodus and Elyon) around the city (I don't understand why this is clever, but I think it will surprise the Daleks somehow). They have to go through a "deadly swamp" and Ian is not too happy about that.

Ian sees a monster in the water and gets scared, but it is Elyon that gets eated by it. They climb up a mountain and go into a tunnel. In the tunnel is a deep hole that they have to jump across. Ganatus gets across, then Ian, then Barbara. But Antodus doesn't jump far enough and is only saved by a rope which dangles him down the hole.

Leaving this very dramatic cliffhanger, the action goes back to Dr Who - he leads the other Thals to the city. They are all armed with mirrors to confuse the Daleks.

This is a plan that would definitely work on cats, but all that happens here is the Daleks come out and the Thals all run away. The only ones that don't run away are Dr Who and Susan, and so they get captured.

The rope is in danger of pulling Ian down the hole as well, so Antodus cuts the rope with his knife to make sure only he falls down. Everyone thinks he has fallen all the way down to his death, but he hasn't. He is stuck part of the way down the hole.

There are 100 seconds left until the bomb will explode; it is getting very tense and exciting.

The Thals that ran away decide to attack the city again. Dr Who and Susan have been taken to the Daleks' control room where they can see the countdown to the bomb exploding; it is now at 60 seconds.

Ian, Barbara, Ganatus and Antodus get to the city and sneak in. They are spotted by a Dalek who tries to steam them but they get away. Another Dalek chases them and traps them and is about to steam them when more Thals come to the rescue. The Dalek is lassoed and pulled down a lift shaft, which is a very dramatically satisfying way of disposing of a Dalek.

Ian and Alydon meet up and get to the control room, chased by two Daleks. They cleverly turn the Daleks to face each other so they steam themselves. Lots of Thals run into the control room and because they are agile they fool some Daleks into steaming other Daleks.

With only 10 seconds left Dr Who shouts "Stop the countdown! The bomb will destroy the planet!"

Ian hears him and he quickly shouts "Daleks!" to get their attention. They all go full steam at him, except they hit all the controls that Ian was standing in front of and they explode!

The Daleks are all killed by the explosion and the planet is saved.

Dr Who fixes TARDIS. They all say goodbye to the Thals and get given cloaks as presents. Ian pushes the lever to make TARDIS work, but when he opens the door there is an army of mannys coming towards them! And that is how the film ends.

I like this film a lot. It has all the things I like in films: funny bits, dramatic bits, scary bits, exciting bits, mannys being silly, mannys being brave and clever, a countdown, and fabulous and colourful designs. If only it had Captain Kirk in it then I think it would be my best film ever.

I like the way Dr Who, Ian, Barbara and Susan are different from their TV versions, even if they have very similar names (Ian has exactly the same name!) because otherwise it would be too easy to compare this film unfavourably with Terry Nation's TV story.

The film's story works well in its own right, because it is much faster paced. It wastes little time in getting to Skaro, but it does need to introduce the main characters and let them show their personalities, which it does very well, very quickly.

The film's main character is clumsy Ian, who is a bit of a scaredy cat, but he saves the day by being daring and brave right at the end. This is a 'hero's journey' that the TV version doesn't have (and doesn't need) because there Ian is a continuing character and his 'journey' lasts for more than just the one story.

The film also doesn't have the episodic nature of the TV version, which makes its pacing very different - the film is non-stop build-up from the halfway point - as soon as the Daleks reveal their bomb - on to the explosive climax.

These differences allow both the film and the TV versions to be enjoyed differently, each in its own way.

Scary Cat also likes this film, though he denies being scared by any part of it, not even the scary storm when Susan was being followed by Alydon, which I thought was the scariest bit.

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