FREELANCE WRITER. JOURNALIST, AND SCRIPT READER – FILM AND TV RUNNER – FAN OF SCI-FI AND CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVES – YSTV'S BEST DRESSED MEMBER 2013

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Yesterday evening, I had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing the cinema broadcast of the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor. Normally, after a new Who episode, I’d write up a review. This time, I’m going to give a bulleted and rambling list of thoughts. Two reasons for this:
  • All the hype surrounding the anniversary will have undoubtedly had an effect on my opinions and so I’m not really sure I can objectively judge how good an episode it is at this point. I honestly don’t know how I’ll look back at it in years to come.
  • I’m fucking mega busy right now.
Anyway, without further ado, my thoughts on The Day of the Doctor:
  • Firstly, I was really worried it was going to be terrible. It wasn’t. It really wasn’t. There was a lot to love.
  • I got a little worried when, about ten minutes in, one of Steven Moffat’s typical sex jokes happened. Something along the lines of “The interface is hot.” “Phwoar, you bet I am, wahey.” Luckily, this was then kept to a minimum.
  • John Hurt is the Doctor! How cool is that?
  • The War Doctor showed a very interesting take on the character we've been following for fifty years. Partly a Hartnell-esque grumpy old man, partly an Eccleston-esque conflicted warrior. And he was John Bloody Hurt.
  • However - why did John Hurt regenerate? Because he's "wearing a bit thin"? I know that's a Hartnell reference, but - what? Surely, if he was old and exhausted, then he would have passed the regeneration tipping point when, you know, fighting a war in which he has to blow up his own planet, and not after having a relaxing cup of tea in an art gallery.
  • I’m so glad that only John Hurt could see Rose and there wasn’t any soppy Ten/Rose stuff. That horse had been flogged to fuckery by the end of series 2.
  • Despite that lovely opening revealing she's now a teacher at Coal Hill School, Clara was written as very much the generic companion. I can understand why, as this episode was always going to focus on the character of the Doctor, and at least she's now rid of that awful 'Impossible Girl' storyline, but I'm really hoping the next series will actually develop and deepen her character.
  • The saving of Gallifrey worked really well. It felt like the inevitable climax that the past eight (if not fifty) years of Doctor Who had been building up to, and a fitting major event for the fiftieth anniversary. I was a little worried when I saw it coming that it would mean the whole new series up to now would have to be rewritten if the ending of the Time War changed, but the reveal that the Doctor had always saved Gallifrey, and just didn't remember he'd done so, solved that issue and added an extra layer of poignancy. Of course the Doctor wouldn't really destroy his own planet.
  • The three Doctors were very funny when allowed to play off each other. I particularly enjoyed them trying to break out of prison, as well as the dialogue “Geronimo! “Allons-y!” “Oh, for fuck’s sake.” (I know that’s not what he actually said, but if it had been on post-watershed, it would have been.)
  • I also laughed a lot at Ten’s scenes with Queen Elizabeth and the Zygon horse. And the not-Zygon rabbit.
  • The Zygons were really effective, well-designed villains. The scene where Kate Stewart transformed into a Zygon was magnificently creepy and had a lot of the kids in the cinema cowering. Brilliant. But…
  • What actually happened to the Zygons? They were just left in the Black Archive. It felt like there was a scene missing. Especially because they set up that thing with Osgood’s inhaler, as if that was going to be used to work out who was a Zygon, but the episode simply never returned to them. A very loose end indeed…
  • The Time War looked very nice and had clearly had a good amount of budget invested in it.
  • It’s a shame they clearly couldn’t get Timothy Dalton back as Rassilon. The Time Lords' glorious leader must have been having one final shit or something when the very important Time Lord meetings we saw were going on.
  • Nice to see all the Doctors got involved in the climax. Even Peter Capaldi – though the BBC have evidently not decided on his costume yet…
  • Also, Tom Baker! That was a really sweet scene. Somehow, I knew exactly what was coming when Clara mentioned an old man. And yet it was still brilliant.
  • Though that final shot of all the Doctors together looked terrible. It looked as if William Hartnell had been done on Microsoft Paint.
  • Speaking of awful effects, the 3D. Oh, the 3D. Fucking hell. If Gravity convinced me that 3D can be really, really beautiful, The Day of the Doctor did a good job of reversing that feeling. In some scenes, it simply didn’t work and I could see a 2D double image. How? Why?
  • There were a few awkward lines of expository dialogue. "Let's go to my office, which is the Tower of London." "He's infiltrated the secret vault - where we keep all the forbidden weapons!"
But, yeah, overall, I'm quite happy with it.

1 comment:

  1. i just couldnt get past the fact that the zygon storyline was just abandoned, very disappointing. as for tom baker, yeah it was a nice idea, but a completely illogical one seeing as how he has had an onscreen regeneration. also his line about the best of us was a bit of a slight towards all the other surviving doctors, almost a "you arent loved that much so we dont want you to be part of this"

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