Dr Who and the Daleks sees the Doctor travel through time
and space in the TARDIS to Skaros, the birthplace of his arch-nemeses,
the Daleks. Skaro is a planet devastated by nuclear fallout,
where the hideously mutated Daleks have to live in metal suites
to survive, and where they plot the destruction of the planet's
other life-form, the Thals, with a massive neutron bomb. The
second movie, Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD, tells
the story of the Doctor's battle to save the human population
of the future from being enslaved as Robomen doomed to serve
the dreaded Daleks forever. This special pack also includes
Dalekmania, the definitive story of the Daleks, an
exclusive copy of the original film poster of Dalek Invasion
Earth and a pack of Dr Who and the Daleks tracing
easy to forget just how much sneering and lip-quivering this
pair of Dalek films from the 1960's had to endure from the
majority of fandom over most of the last 40 years.
from the reaction of Doctor Who fans, you'd be forgiven
for thinking that Amicus Films had produced pieces of work
that were bordering on the blasphemous (The character here
is referred to as "Dr Who"! He's not an alien, he's
a human scientist! Susan is far too young to be a companion!
Good God, there are jokes in them!).
would seem that most fans were simply embarrassed by them
and preferred to forget that Doctor Who had ever dared
to make a successful venture into cinema.
there was considered re-evaluation during the 1990's (They're
colourful! They're kitsch! They're a bit wacky - which is
what Doctor Who is all about, no harm in that, eh?)
and they now seem to be wheeled out on terrestrial television
more often than The Great Escape.
I think the most important thing to bear in mind whilst viewing
these films is simply that they are different to the recognised
television world of Doctor Who as we know it. They
exist completely outside of the canonical Doctor Who
bubble, and they're all the better for it. They often feel
watered-down, sillier and much more lightweight than the TV
show we know and love, and yet every now and then you feel
dazzled by moments of sheer brilliance and magic which completely
supersede their television cousin, much to our surprise and
maybe even vague annoyance.
Cushing, it has to be said, is a mild disappointment in the
role of the Doctor (sorry, Dr Who. With abbreviation and everything).
Whilst there is a genuine sniff of excitement in watching
such an iconic British film star portray our beloved television
character (or near enough), Cushing seems happy to coast along
as a generic doddering professor, and fails to capture any
of the unique identity that just about all of his television
counterparts managed to instil in the role, to some degree.
much-maligned Roberta Tovey however, is surprisingly refreshing
as little 'Suzie', and despite being panned by critics for
being far too young, she often comes across as much more mature
and level-headed than Carole Ann Ford ever did in her occasionally
whiny and wimpy version of Susan.
first film, 1965's Dr Who and The Daleks, is my personal
favourite of the two, by quite a margin. It certainly has
it's flaws (Roy Castle prat-falling his way through the entire
film is just one of many) but it just looks and feels so magical
and charming. The cheap, dark corridors of the original BBC
serial are replaced with beautifully alien and colourful sets,
and it really feels as if we're watching Doctor Who being
played out on an epic scale. It's naturally faster-paced and
sharper than the 7-part TV version (which really begins to
sag towards the end) whilst the Daleks themselves have never,
ever looked so magnificent and menacing (and yes, I am including
the new series).
follow-up, the frankly absurdly titled Daleks - Invasion
Earth 2150 A.D is an entertaining enough romp but struggles
to capture the family magic of its predecessor.
fairly bleak depiction of humanity's struggle on a war-torn
desolate Earth is unevenly peppered with slapstick comedy
moments courtesy of Bernard Cribbins, and I almost feel myself
pining for the highbrow sophistication of Roy Castle to liven
things up a bit.
exterior of the huge Dalek Spacecraft does look simply amazing,
even forty years on, and pours bucketfuls of smelly water
over the tin-can-on-a-string as seen in the BBC version.
one real problem with the sequel is the ridiculously inappropriate
incidental music. The powerful, stirring anthems of the original
film have been ditched in favour of light-hearted jazzy material
which totally destroys the potential impact and tension of
the plentiful action scenes. This may well have been deliberate
in order to lighten the tone for the kiddies, but it would
be fascinating to see a new dub with a tension-inspiring soundtrack,
as I'm convinced the film could be seen in a whole new credible
the flaws and the silliness, both films do add up to a pretty
thrilling package, and offer a psychedelic vision into a parallel
world where Doctor Who was a fun-packed big-budget show.
what special new features justify this umpteenth reissue of
the Dalek films? In truth, practically nothing, although the
actual prints are cleaner and sharper than we've ever seen
them before. The minimal special features contained on the
discs were all present on the previous reissue from Warners
back in 2002, but their inclusion here is still welcome.
first film has an audio commentary from Roberta Tovey and
Jennie Linden (Barbara), but there's nothing provided for
the second film which is surely an opportunity missed by Optimum
to dish up something original and enticing for this latest
are also treated (again) to the 1995 Dalekmania documentary
directed by Kevin Davies. Clearly put together with the same
levels of devotion and creativity as his definitive Doctor
Who documentary Thirty Years In The TARDIS, this
overview of the Dalek films is produced in a similar style,
based around the premise of two young children going to the
cinema in the 1960's, and features the full original trailers,
intriguing foreign clips (the Italian Dalek voices are incredibly
eerie but the French clearly weren't even trying) and interviews
with the likes of an all-grown-up Roberta Tovey and Dalek
creator Terry Nation, who expresses his own disappointment
at Peter Cushing's mild-mannered performance.
only 'new' feature in this set is the actual packaging which
is very slick and attractive and includes Limited Edition
Trading Cards and a Movie Poster. The lack of any original
new material is a real shame, but the superior quality of
the film prints wrapped up in a shiny new box crammed with
goodies may well entice you into shelling out those pennies