lørdag den 4. april 2009

Who Review #72 - the Invasion of the Dinosaurs

Show Producer, Barry Letts, once remarked that sci-fi these days has to take account of the FX quality found in Star Wars or Jurassic Park; whilst the budget and scale need not be as large, the FX have to be of at least similar quality. I am not sure if he had this story in mind because, let's face it, the FX are - obviously - nowhere near Spielberg's dinos. They aren't even close to stop motion dino classics like "One Million Years BC"! But that is some of the charm with dr.Who - the stories, acting and dialogue more than make up for some of the dodgier things.

Episode 1 of this six parter exists only in b/w.

Sarah and the Doctor arrive back in London, but it is deserted. They follow a thief into a shop; he want explain what is happening. Sarah calls the police but gets no answer. They hear a roar and the getaway car crash, which kills the thief. Back at a UNIT HQ, the Brig and co. are plotting sightings. The Doctor and Sarah hear a car drive into a garage and go to look; first they are attacked by thieves, secondly they are attacked by a pterosaur. The Brig refuses to give his UNIT men orders to shoot looters when discussing the martial law and sightings with General Finch. The Doctor and Sarah are picked up by troops and arrested for looting, after using a jeep to escape the pterosaur. They are taken to a military holding camp for trial. UNIT soldiers come under attack from a T-Rex, which suddenly vanishes though. Benton looks through a batch of papers with new looters, where he sees pictures of the Doctor and Sarah. The Doctor hatches a plan with a fellow prisoner; the pretend to fight in order to escape. The Doctor and sarah are caught again though and driven towards the detention centre when a T-Rex appears again.

Sarah and the Doctor make a quick escape whilst the soldiers are occupied with the dino. They hide in a warehouse, where they meet a man from the 12th Century. He attacks the Doctor when suddenly a buzzing sound is heard and time goes backwards; the serf vanishes. The Brig finds the Doctor and Sarah and he fills them in on the situation of the dino appearances. The Doctor believes te dinosaurs are being brought from the past by someone. General Finch meets the Doctor and ignores the latter's explanation. The Brig and Doctor head off to a section after hearing there is another sighting (of a stegosaurus). Yates says he has taken a spot of leave after the maggot business in Wales and likes the clean air there is and the animals he has seen since London's evacuation. Once again there is a sound and the dinosaur vanishes. Back at HQ, the Doctor surmises there is someone at work in London and that they need lots of energy to get the dinos; furthermore, he wants to capture a dino and be able to then discover where those people are. Yates goes to the plotters and warns them. The Doctor meets Sir Charles Grover, who is a minister and environmental campaigner. Whitaker and Butler discuss who to stop the Doctor's plan because he could prevent their "Golden Age" plan; they give Yates something to render the Doctor's stun gun useless. The Doctor gets a call on the sighting of a brontosaurus and heads off after it with UNIT. It vanishes though and is replaced with a T-Rex; the Doctor's gun doesn't work because of yates's sabotage.

Yates rushes to the Doctor's aid, removing the device that sabotaged the gun and stunning the T-Rex. Yates sees Butler and Whitaker again, angry that they tried to kill the Doctor, he wants them to explain what their plan is, because he might help or be sympathetic. Yates is sent to the hanger and carry on with his sabotage. Sarah has been investigating and finds out Whitaker has developed ideas of time travel and disappeared; she tells the Brig and Doctor. Grover says that his dept. thinks Whitaker is a crank. Gen. Finch is more sympathetic to Sarah and fixes her up with a pass; she heads back to the hanger with a camera to take pics of the T-Rex. It comes to and breaks free. The Doctor rescues sarah. The Doctor's machine, cut chains and Sarah locked in points UNIT and the Doctor in the direction of a saboteur. The Doctor decides to build a portable device. Sarah thinks that a nuclear generator is the power source and looks for one, she sees Grover to find out about it. He is part of the plan. She is placed in a room and subjected to a hypnotic light. She awakes in a spaceship that left Earth three months previously.

The Doctor moves off in his new car, the futuristic Whomobile, keeping an eye on his tracker. Yates says he hadn't agreed to murder when he talks to another plotter, Gen. Finch. Sarah meets Ruth and Nigel who greet her. They tell her they are travelling to New Earth, a place unpolluted by the evils of technology. Sarah realises she hasn't been on a spaceship for three months because her injury from the hanger is still fresh. The Doctor goes to an Underground station; there he sees Butler use a lift (disguised as a cleaner's cupboard). He follows him down, but this is registered. He is forced back intot the lift and is attacked by another ptersosaur. Sarah debates with Ruth and co.; they lead her off to be re-educated. The Doctor returns with the Brig but the lift at the underground has been removed; they then go to Grover. The Doctor knows now that Grover is implimented. The plotters plan their next move; Grover plans to discredit the Doctor. Whitaker calls the Doctor and asks him to meet him at the hanger. The Doctor goes; there Finch walks in with the Brig and accuses the Doctor of creating the monsters.

The Doctor is taken to UNIT HQ. He realises that Yates is in on the plan. Benton lets himself be knocked out by some of the Doctor's Venusian karate. Whitaker and co. continue apace with their Golden Age plan. Aboard the spaceship, Sarah has managed to get out of her re-education room and investigates. She returns and gets Mark and tries to convince him that they are not on a spaceship at all; she walks into the "airlock" and is unharmed. She discovers it is all under the ministry; she makes it to Grover's office. The Doctor heads for the underground, avoiding the regular army, followed by the Brig and Benton. Sarah leaves a note for the Brig; she sees Finch and is recaptured and brought back to Grover and co. Grover explains that they intend to roll back time to a greener past and generations will never have existed. The Doctor faces yet another T-Rex.

A brontosaurus distracts the T-Rex (in the mother of Dr.Who puppet fights!) . The Brig catches up with the Doctor. Yates pulls a gun on Benton, the Doctor and the Brig; he explains the Golden Age plan. But he is distracted and knocked out by Benton. Sarah manages to get back to the "spaceship" and explains to the people there; but she is disbelieved. Grover pretends to come over from another ship to talk to Adam and Ruth. Adam hears the truth when Grover talks to Mark and Sarah. The Doctor and the Brig head for the underground base; they blast open the lift shaft and the Doctor descends whilst the Brig gets reinforcements. Ruth and co. see the truth and leave the "ship". They turn on Grover and Whitaker. The Doctor and UNIT arrive. Whitaker pulls a switch; the Doctor fights the time eddy and reverses the polarity. Grover rushes over and restarts the machine, sending Whitaker and Grover back in time to their "Golden Age". Yates is allowed sick leave and a chance to resign quietly. The Doctor and Sarah plan a holiday to Florana.

A thoroughly enjoyable story, despite the dinos. Hulke's script is another piece of eco-commentary. Only this time it looks at ideas that seem to predate the Deep Greens and luddite Earth First lunatics. The Doctor points out that pollution isn't caused by human technology but by greed, a sentiment shared by this socialist! Something else touched on, but only lightly, was political "re-education" plus the use of brainwashing propaganda techniques.

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