Gerry Anderson's third SF supermarionation saga told the adventures of the WASPs (the World Aquanaut Security Patrol) as they explored the oceans and kept the world safe from a variety of ... See full summary »
Based on a story from the BBC TV serial "Doctor Who". Scientist Dr. Who accidentally activates his new invention, the Tardis, a time machine disguised as a police telephone box. Dr. Who, his two grand-daughters, and Barbara's boyfriend Ian are transported through time and space to the planet Skaro, where a peaceful race of Thals are under threat of nuclear attack from the planet's other inhabitants: the robotic mutant Daleks. Written by
Alexander Lum <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In 1963, the BBC produced an extraordinarily low-budget science fiction series. Doctor Who featured an enigmatic character known only as The Doctor, an extra-terrestrial time traveler, who flitted about time and space in his TARDIS timecraft, encountering strange lifeforms and cultures and righting wrongs wherever he went. The show was originally conceived as an "edutainment" program (before the word had been coined) with the Doctor traveling throughout Earth history and encountering major events. For this reason, the show very nearly died on the vine. But in the second serial, the Doctor travels millions of years into the future to the planet Skaro and encounters the iconic alien menace that would capture viewers' imaginations and propel the show forward for over twenty five years: The Daleks.
By 1965, Doctor Who's popularity made a film adaptation inevitable. Thus was born, "Doctor Who and the Daleks," which is strongly based on the original television serial that introduced them. The Doctor travels to the planet Skaro, a planet ravaged by radiation from an atomic war, and encounters the Thals, a peace-loving humanoid race; and the Daleks, an aggressive, horribly mutated race who must move about in mechanized armored travel vehicles that resemble large salt cellars. The Doctor befriends the Thals and helps protect them from the Daleks, who seek to exterminate them all.
Since its inception, the television series has developed a fan base with a dedication rivaling that of "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" fans. As such, enthusiasts will find little that's familiar, and will immediately spot the glaring changes made to Who canon (presumably to make the film more accessible to people who didn't watch the TV series), The main character -- the extra-terrestrial Doctor -- is now a human named Doctor Who, an eccentric scientist who invented the TARDIS in his back yard. And while the TARDIS exterior still resembles an old London police box, the interior resembles nothing so much as a messy workshop. The TARDIS' horrible grinding noise when it takes off? Gone, replaced with a flaccid electronic "thwiwiwiwiwpp!" The iconic theme music has been abandoned for a contemporary original orchestral score which fails to enthuse. Even the Dalek's chilling battle cry -- "EXTERMINATE!" -- is essentially absent.
Okay, so the hard-core fans will always magnify insignificant differences into catastrophic flaws. But how might the film appeal to more ordinary people? Sadly, not very well. The chief problem is one of pacing, and it is here that the movie's biggest attraction, the Daleks, becomes its greatest handicap. Daleks speak in an electronic monotone, which means you're going to get odd pauses in the speech. Sadly, the actors chose to draw these pauses out and, in some cases, insert them between every syllable. This means that scenes featuring dialog between two or more Daleks -- and there are a fair number of them -- just drag on for seemingly ever and completely kill the pacing.
A big selling point of the movie was that, for the first time, viewers would be able to see the Who universe with a bigger budget, and in color (the television series would not be shot in color until 1969). In this respect, the film delivers 100%, with widescreen Technicolor. In fact, the film quality is so good that it reveals every detail, including just how cheap the production actually is.
In short, there's not much here to appeal to newcomers (too cheesy and clumsy) or to loyal fans (gratuitous changes from canon). In the end, it's probably little more than a historical curiosity, an adjunct to the "real" show from which can be drawn dozens of other, better examples of the Doctor's travels.
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