Thursday, 3 October 2013

Resurrection of the Daleks

Davros is back - Terry Molloy.
‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ is a rollicking, fast paced, stylish piece of Doctor Who. I am very torn after seeing it because for me it was both good and bad at the same time. Let’s start with Mathew Robinson who directed it then, because he did a mighty fine job and my hat is raised to him. On a Doctor Who budget he really made something that if shot on film in widescreen almost looked as if the production values were good enough for a movie.
The script, by Eric Saward, though, has massive holes in it and is very derivative to be honest. It’s not that it’s not well paced, plotted or that the characters are poor, in fact I think the character writing is excellent in this one, but the ideas are just a bit convoluted and pointless? I’m trying to find the right word but that’s all I’ve got right now – never good when you’re criticising writing.
Rodney Bewes guest stars.
So we have a time corridor from the Daleks’ space ship to Earth, 1983. Okay. Why? That seems pointless – the Dalek time ship is hundreds of years in the future. They are holding canisters of a virus that has been destroying them in an abandoned warehouse in London. But wait there is a point to this all, the Daleks are planning to trap the Doctor with the Time Corridor in said warehouse. Well that’s all a bit too much for me.
They have also taken to duplicating humans left right and centre, but employ an apparently non-duplicated human to run them (Lytton). Ok.
Why again? It’s a secret plot to duplicate the Doctor and his companions and send them to Gallifrey to defeat the Time Lords of course. Yet at the same time the main strand of the plot involves rescuing Davros from his cryogenic prison in space, so that he can stop a Movellan virus which has caused the Daleks to lose the fight with these enemies. So basically, exactly the same reason as in ‘Destiny of Daleks’, more or less.
Davros has a little thing he uses to inject people and Daleks with and they become his servants. Hmmmm that’s another wobbly plot device right there. As you can see the plot, at least in my eyes, is very weak. However, the story is enjoyable and exciting despite those issues.
The direction is noticeably snappier than usual, it’s very well cast with Maurice Colbourne from Gangsters as Lytton, Rodney Bewes as Stien, and the recasting of Davros this time to be played by Terry Molloy who really pushes the shouting and craziness. It’s strong performance, but I can’t help but feel that somewhere between this performance and the understated performance of David Gooderson would have been the way to go with Davros. Still, when you play a megalomaniac, you shouldn’t really hold back should you?
The Doctor can't quite kill Davros.
The sets and locations are perfect. The space prison is suitably dark and simple, it looks like it could easily be deconstructed and reconstructed to make different rooms. We see the Doctor’s past lives and companions as the Daleks take a print of his mind too which is good. The Doctor and his companions are at times quite secondary to the story, which I know a lot of people don’t like but I think it works well. Perhaps Peter Davison’s best performance thus far, a great moment when he could kill Davros, doesn’t, gets distracted, the door closes and he doesn’t get another opportunity. Would he have? We see Davros contracting the virus right at the end, but somehow I don’t think that will do him in.
Goodbye Tegan
Mark Strickson as Turlough gets a decent amount of action too, and although still a bit cowardly, he has one of his best stories to date. Which leaves Tegan. Sadly this is Janet Fielding’s last story, but I’m sure she was happy to leave. Even in her final story, she doesn’t get to do much and then just decides she’s had enough at the end, which to be honest doesn’t seem THAT out of the blue, but as it was her last story it would have been nice if it was a story where Tegan took a good chunk of the plot, like Adric and Nyssa before her. I like Tegan, but as is almost always the case with the companions, she was woefully under-utilised and that’s sad because Janet Fielding is an enormously talented actress. Brave heart Tegan, I will miss you!
So it’s a mixed bag this story, and a tough one to give a mark too. I’ve shaved off half a mark for the poor use of Tegan.


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