Sunday, 18 September 2016
Doctor Who and the Daleks (4 Stars)
I couldn't resist. Even though I've owned this film on DVD for years I had to buy the remastered Blu-ray version. My first impression when watching the Blu-ray was mixed, but then I compared a segment with the DVD and was able to see the improvement. The remastered version of this film isn't as perfect as "Planet of the Apes", which was filmed only a few years later, but there's a reason for it. It was the first film made by a new company, Aaru Productions, and they cut costs by using cheap film material for the original tapes. The film had a total budget of only £180,000 (about $400,000 at the 1966 exchange rate), so the film still looks amazingly good for the money spent.
Purists hate this film, but it's not all that bad. There are changes to the basis premises of the television series, so it can't be considered to be canon. The Doctor isn't a Time Lord, he's a human scientist who has built a time machine in his back garden. The Black Dalek has decorated his control room with lava lamps. Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable film, carried primarily by the outstanding action of Peter Cushing. He could have been one of the real Doctors on television if he had been willing to commit himself to a long-running series.
Then there's the colour, the beautiful colour. In the ancient days of black and white television it was practically miraculous to see television characters in colour. The original Daleks used on television were mostly grey, but that wasn't a suitable colour for a film. The majority of the film Daleks were blue, while the higher ranked Daleks were red or black.
The Daleks in this film are relatively weak, compared to the versions shown on television in the 21st Century. They can be grabbed and spun around. They can only move on metal floors. However, this is true to the initial episodes.
"Doctor Who and the Daleks" doesn't live up to the quality of the original story from 1963, but it's visually appealing and a good sci-fi thriller in its own right.
"If you knock over my lava lamps you will be exterminated. Exterminated".