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

Friday, 1 September 2017

On 1.9.17 by KieronMoore in , , ,    3 comments

Full review on Starburst.

An expedition is sent into the jungle to join the reclusive Dr. Thorkel, who’s been digging up radioactive ore using a device that looks something like a giant Incan dildo. The radiation, it turns out, makes organisms smaller! Soon, our heroes find themselves shrunk and struggling to escape from the insane scientist, who, through a rather contrived mythological analogy, they’ve dubbed... Doctor Cyclops!

It’s not the only classic sci-fi movie that features people being shrunk, and you’re probably wondering how it compares to the more well known The Incredible Shrinking Man. Well, despite being made seventeen years earlier, the effects in Cyclops stand up just as well, if not better. For a start, it’s in colour, lending an exoticism to the Amazon setting which is backed up by probably-stock footage of various ferocious beasties.

But the story and characterisation is where this movie falls apart, even given that you know from the start it’s going to be schlocky. To go back to that same comparison, The Incredible Shrinking Man knew to keep its plot simple and its characters sharply defined in order to let the effects lead; Doctor Cyclops, however, gets itself lost amidst the wonky science of its eponymous madman’s plans, while making the bigger mistake of not explaining why he’s doing any of this.

Full review on Starburst.

The Seventh Doctor, Ace and Mel land in a Merseyside shipyard run by an old university boyfriend of Mel’s, Stuart Dale, who's become very successful thanks to a mysterious new material he’s been given possession of by a mysterious new client. You can see where that's going.

The Blood Furnace is an imaginative sci-fi mystery that plays out against the background of the political and social atmosphere of the early ‘90s. Real life concerns, such as the shutting down of the shipyards and the difficulties of finding jobs, are brought into characters’ motivations in a way more reminiscent of Russell T. Davies’ later revival of Doctor Who, working well to add depth to the story and its world. 

It would be nice to have more development of Mel’s relationship with Stuart, which plays a large part in the opening chapter of the four-part story but becomes sidelined after that. Nevertheless, this trio of TARDIS travellers continue to work very well together.