|Index||3 reviews in total|
Louis Marks is definitely among my all-time favorite Doctor Who
writers. I count "Day of the Daleks", "Planet of Evil" and "The Masque
of Mandragora" as three absolute classics and upon watching "Planet of
Giants" once again I found that while it doesn't quite reach the sheer
excellence of his other stories, it is a wonderfully fun, massively
entertaining story with spectacular design and convincing effects (the
fly that Barbara suddenly finds in front of her, for instance). It is
short, effective, and again, just plain fun.
This story marks the composing debut for Dudley Simpson on Doctor Who and the beginning of what all fans know is a very, very long tenure as composer for him. "Planet of Giants" features many of Simpson's fine points as composer, his ability to enhance drama by tastefully allowing the visuals to tell the story, his ability to add a light touch to scenes of adventure and action, and his wonderful ability to enhance scenes that may otherwise drag. The direction, which is mostly by Mervyn Pinfield is confident and quite good throughout, helping the episode move at a fast pace.
Back to Louis Marks. In short, "Planet of Giants" is as good as it ever wanted to be. Marks clearly had no aspirations of making this a comedy classic, a sweeping epic adventure, an intensely dramatic tale, a scary horror effort, or an action-packed story. "Planet of Giants" in concept and in execution is a cheeky, fun little diversion and nothing more. While some fans may hold this as a criticism I refuse to do so simply because the script is technically very competent- it has an assured sense of pacing, the dialogue and attempts at humor work, and the story almost bizarrely achieves a sense of wonder despite being a contemporary Earth story with a plot device that is not all too original. If I had the opportunity to see this story as a child I am certain it would have been one of, if not my absolute favorite Doctor Who story. It's fun, whimsical, and thoroughly entertaining.
Episode 1: 8/10, Episode 2: 8/10, Episode 3: 8/10.
Review for all 3 episodes:
This story is rather like a 50s sci-fi movie and is fun, interesting and impressive in the first two parts before falling a bit flat in the third episode. It has very good effects for its time especially considering the low budget.
The TARDIS and its crew get miniaturised due to a strange side effect of the TARDIS doors opening before materialisation. It leaves them in a contemporary Earth setting but tiny (about an inch tall) making the normal world into an alien one. There is also a sub plot about the development of a dangerous pesticide and gangster like efforts to bring it to market despite its deadly side effects.
All this is a very interesting idea, the main cast and script are good and the first two episodes are well executed all round. It is the last part with its slightly jumbled and unsatisfactory conclusions which rather let it down. However this is good fun and a good adventure if not top quality for the series.
An alarm in the Tardis warns the ship's crew that something is amiss
but the fault locator indicates all is well and the Doctor will prove
this to everyone by taking them outside . They exit the Tardis and are
astounded to find a giant worm that is dead and quickly find a giant
ant that is also dead . They come to the conclusion that these
creatures aren't giant but they themselves have shrunk in size
Season one of DOCTOR WHO was a massive success but this was mainly down to the Daleks . One suspects the success of the show got to the production teams head a little bit and they started pushing out the boundaries a bit more with mixed results . There's the dramatic gravatis of the first season the convincing performances but the arch feel starts to take precedent and the novelty value and somewhat uneven tone starts to infest the season and becomes slightly more pronounced in patches throughout this season
You get the impression that writer Louis Marks wants to write a straight forward murder mystery involving dangerous insecticide or a story where the Tardis lands on an alternative Earth where all animals are giant deadly predators . The problem with this story is that the crime story miniaturized Tardis crew never really gels with one another . Once the shock of a miniature Doctor , Susan , Ian and Barbara wears off you can't help feeling this is somewhat pointless and it says something that this was a four part story that was edited down to three episodes . That said the regular cast rise above the material especially Jacqueline Hill
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