Sunday, 24 February 2013

Planet of Giants

Would I be the only one who found the title misleading to this new Doctor Who adventure/Susan scream fest? I mean, the Doctor and his company are shrunk down to the size of an inch, whereas all the other characters are normal size. So there are no actual giants. To be honest, I was disappointed.

On the other hand, a tricky concept to pull off and I think the production mostly succeeded in this story. Very big props were made for the actors to cart about and the giant-sized sets were excellent, I don’t think anyone could disagree with that. It’s just a pity that the storyline was a bit naff.

The soundtrack was very interesting I thought. Very much of the time. This was a rare case of the Doctor, Ian and Barbara possibly returning to their own time on Earth, but nothing is made of that at all despite Ian and Barbara desperately wanting to go home. Instead of the production team making something set in the far past or future, this story is very clearly ‘the early 60s’ in its design, its look and its feel. It felt very strange after watching the first eight stories, it was nothing like them.

And the Doctor etc etc don’t for a second really interact with the other characters, which makes two separate plots basically. There is the storyline concerning the nasty Alan Tilvern (Forester) who is happy to make money from an insecticide that will kill almost anything in its path. He shoots a man from the ministry and spends the three episodes trying to cover it up, with the aid of the scientist who invented the insecticide, and the storyline following the Doctor and his companions.

Once again, due to little more than curiosity, they find themselves separated from the TARDIS. Their only goal really is to get back there, alive. Barbara is infected by the insecticide when she handles a grain doused in the stuff, and for some reason tells no one about it for ages! A very odd thing to do really, there was no real motive behind it.

Credit where credit is due, the design, the sets, the props are all fantastic. A lot of work went into that aspect of the story. If it was going to interest or convince anyone, then they needed to be good and they were. I have learnt through my friend Andrew who seems to know a lot about this mysterious series that there was originally four episodes, and the squashed episodes three and four together because it didn’t sustain enough pace for four full episodes. I could see a case for making it only two to be honest! Nevertheless, it was far from all-bad. Well-directed, but the plot-line is simply too thin to sustain the story. Lack of interactions between the Doctor, his companions and the other characters limited dialogue, although it is an interesting way to do a story, with the other characters not even aware of the Doctor’s existence. The first time they’ve tried that.

For it to sustain three or four episodes, perhaps more characters are needed. You could still keep the split in the action, but the storyline external to the Doctor and co. needed a bit more intrigue.

An interesting study of what it’s like to affect an environment, a situation, without direct communication nor interaction with it.



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