Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Abominable Snowmen

It's the Yeti!

Back to a story with only one episode in existence, ‘The Abominable Snowmen’ presents the viewer with a great location/setting for a story – Tibet, and a great idea for a monster – the Yeti. I thought that this would mean ‘winner’.
Deborah Watling in her first full adventure as companion Victoria.

Now I know five episodes were reconstructions (and included some good CGI for the Yeti at times), but there’s just nothing to this six-part adventure. It’s slow and very little happens, and in the end the answer to stopping ‘The Great Intelligence  – the entity controlling the Yeti and the real villain of the piece – is basically to smash all the machinery up.
Again, the one episode that exists looks very clean and sharp, great work on that. It’s just rambles along very slowly. The pace never really picks up. The Doctor is taken for a murderer and put in a cell, then used as bait for the Yeti, then freed. The story is set mostly in a monastery, where ‘The Great Intelligence’ is controlling the Abbot, who has lived for three hundred years, and his face is the worse for wear!
The imagery is very good in this story, and the design and use of location filming excellent. The Yeti look great, they are controlled by spheres which are shiny and make a great pyramid, the make-up of the Abbot also done very well. However, then we have the monks.
It’s again some embarrassing makeup on English people to make them look ‘Asian’. It’s not very convincing and obviously not the way things would be done today. I don’t think there is a single Asian actor appearing in ‘The Abominable Snowmen’! Were there really none available? Instead we have Norman Jones as the Warrior Monk Khrisong with his deep booming voice and bizarre moustache (there are a few of them in ‘The Abominable Snowmen’) and other white actors doing embarrassing accents.
Jack Watling as Travers with Victoria and Jamie.
It’s not all bad though, Patrick Troughton has another wonderful story as the Doctor, Frazer Hines has a lot of fun wrestling Yetis and Deborah Watling gets to act with her real-life father, Jack Watling, who plays the rather disagreeable Professor Travers. However, the real issues of the piece lie with the pacing and lack of action.
By about episode four very little has changed from episode one, and there’s a lot of talking about what to do if and when the Yeti attack. My concentration waned around this time, but it turns out if only they’d looked around the Monastry thoroughly they would have discovered the futuristic control room and been able to defeat the Great Intelligence by the end of episode two. I had a hard time understanding what it was all about as well. What exactly is the Great Intelligence? Some sort of sentient being – pure thought or something I guess. How such a creature builds (or indeed needs) a control room and can control robot Yeti is beyond me!


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