Daring British WWI fighter pilot James "Biggles" Bigglesworth and 1980s low-level business executive Jim Ferguson discover that they can time travel to each other's eras. They try to stop the Germans from changing the outcome of WWI.
Based on a story from the BBC TV serial "Doctor Who". Dr. Who and his companions arrive on Earth in the year 2150 AD, only to discover that the planet has been invaded and its population enslaved by the dreaded Daleks. The time travellers assist human resistance groups to foil the Daleks' plan to mine the Earth's core. Written by
Alexander Lum <email@example.com>
Wires are visible on the Dalek saucer in almost all shots of it flying. See more »
[over the radio]
Surrender now and you will live. Resist and you will be exterminated. Show yourselves in the streets immediately and obey the orders of your masters, the Daleks!
Obey motorised dustbins? We'll see about that!
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But don't be scared. They're in fine fettle this time and while this film is just as daft as its predecessor it's far better-paced and the good guys don't have stupid eye make-up, instead resembling good old London Council Workers, circa 1955. It's a slight anachronism, but I like the idea of a sci-fi setting where the heroes are all unshaven working class 'Uncle Fred, Friend of Your Dad' types who wear jackets and caps that make them look like bin men. I suppose actually, given that the Daleks do resemble (and are referred to as) motorised dustbins, there's probably some poetry in this. Anyway, forget the title, this might as well be set in 1950 AD - it certainly feels a bit Ealing at times.
So, how is this rather entertaining nonsense an improvement on the cinematic war-crime that was the first film? Well, just that, it's entertaining. The Daleks are still quite funky, despite their ongoing choice of fire-extinguisher weaponry. They're also much more enthusiastic these days
we even see one going for a swim at one point (I can't think of a better
explanation! You'll see what I mean...).
Anyway - the plot? Well, I suspect the title might give it away. In fact, I'm not sure it even IS the title. Maybe they just wrote the plot-summary in the wrong box. Whatever, I don't feel I'll be spoiling anything if I give you the following outline: Daleks have invaded Earth because they felt like it, and are now constructing a large Roller Disco/Cinema Multiplex/Dodgem park in Bedfordshire.
Okay, they're not, but it's entirely as likely and sensible as what they ARE doing there (or as the swimming Dalek). There are some great British actors having fun in this - Philip Madoc from Wales, Andrew Keir from Scotland, Peter Cushing from England. A truly unified effort - all silly together.
People who smashed their television set in an effort to survive the first film will be pleased to see that Roy Castle is not reprising his role as Ian (for those who didn't see it, I rather suspect George Lucas got his idea for Jar Jar Binks from Castle's performance), and has been replaced in the light relief stakes by the altogether defter and more endearing Bernard Cribbins (for non-British readers, Cribbins is one of the most highly regarded and acclaimed English actors of the last forty years, and his profound performance in The Wombles is still remembered by many people of my generation today).
For that matter, even Peter Cushing's mad professor is rather good this time round, and provided one doesn't expect more than robot monsters, rubbish flying saucers, and huge armies of (toy miniature) Daleks, not to mention quite a few laughs, then this will pass 80-odd minutes in quite an agreeable manner. Not as effectively as becoming an alcoholic, but more so than banging your head against concrete. I suppose this is the bottom line really - watch this film too many times and it remains preferable to headbutting a concrete wall, which is painful. Watch the first film too many times and you'll find the experience of headbutting a wall strangely comfy on account of all the padding it will have acquired.
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