Doctor Who & the Daleks and Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D Blu-Ray review

Dr Who and the Daleks UK Quad Poster

As we all know, this year marks the 50 year anniversary of everyone’s favourite time travelling Doctor, but what you may not have known is that 2013 also marks the century of celluloid legend of film and TV great Peter Cushing.

“What’s the connection,” you might ask. Well, way back in 1965, after almost two years of entertaining living rooms all across the country with his adventures in time, Doctor Who (then played by William Hartnell) made the giant leap on to the big screen in the first of two cinematic adventures, in which Hammer House of Horror star Peter Cushing took control of the TARDIS, in Doctor Who and the Daleks. This was followed one year later (1966) by Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 AD.

To honour these two landmarks, Studio Canal are releasing both of these epic adventures on DVD and Blu-Ray fully remastered and accompanied by a whole host of specially created new features, including all new interviews, and a look at the restoration process.

Doctor Who and the Daleks:

dvd-drwhoandthedaleks-blurayCan you imagine how amazing it must have been to be a Doctor Who fan back then? Getting to see the Doc taking on his dreaded arch enemies, the Daleks on the big screen, and on top of all that, you get to see it in colour. Okay, so the colour part may not sound that exciting these days, but it was 48 years ago and even then, the television series continued to be made in black-and-white until 1969.

Directed by Gordon Fleming and now fully restored, Doctor Who and the Daleks was never meant to follow on from the on-going storylines of the television series, nor did it remain true to the Doctor’s origin.

This left many surprised when they found that the big screen Doctor, whose name is DR. Who, is an entirely human and slightly bumbling scientist who simply creates a time machine out of an old police telephone box. Yeah, I know this sounds a little odd, and today’s purists may be turned off by this, but stick with it, you won’t regret it. 

Mr. Who cannot wait to show off his new invention, a strange machine capable of travelling through time into other dimensions, known as the TARDIS. He jumps at the chance to unveil it to his granddaughters Susan (Roberta Tovey) and Barbara (Jennie Linden), and Barbara’s boyfriend Ian (Roy Castle).

It’s not long before the Doctor and his trio of young companions find themselves travelling through time, space, and the dark undiscovered depths of the universe, but the family outing soon begins to go downhill when Doc and the gang find themselves trapped on the planet of Skaro.

This is where the story becomes a little more comfortable and familiar and we get glimpses of the Doctor that we have all come to know and love.

Lost and afraid, the gang must do all they can to survive this primitive world devastated by nuclear war and populated by two warring species, a peaceful tribe known as Thals and a life form heavily mutated by radiation, encased in protective machines. A merciless force of destruction known as the Daleks!

Dr Who and the Daleks (still)

Yes, there may have been a few liberties taken with the iconic time traveller, but all that aside Doctor Who and the Daleks is a completely charming and gentle adaptation, which will undoubtedly please all fans of the franchise. I myself couldn’t help but enjoy this. The then groundbreaking effects and production values that humbled that of the television series really add to the movie, giving it a true classic period feel, which is enhanced by the beautifully restored image, the process of which appears on the disc as a special feature.

It is easy to see why Doctor Who and the Daleks became one of the ten top-grossing movies in the UK in 1965.

Other extras include an insightful audio commentary with Roberta Tovey and Jennie Linden, as well as Dalekmania: a wonderful 1990s documentary that looks back at the Dalek craze in the 1960s. There is also a still gallery and the original movie trailer.

 

dvd-drwhoinvasion-eath-blurayDaleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D

In this sequel to the super successful Doctor Who and the Daleks we not only see Peter Cushing reprise his role as the iconic Lord of Time, we also get to see Bernard Cribbins make his first appearance in the franchise some 40 odd years before returning as Donna Noble’s cardy wearing, regeneration causing Grandfather Wilfred.

Unfortunately Roy Castle and Jennie Linden were unable to return, and so the Doctor finds himself travelling this time with his niece Louise (Jill Curzon) and the affable London bobby Tom Campbell (Cribbins).

Earth has been reduced to a desolate planet of ruin, hostile and on the verge of crumbling into the darkness of space at the hands of those dastardly Daleks, whose fearsome army have enslaved what’s left of the human race.

But not all of mankind has given in to these destructive invaders, oh, no. Deep within the city’s underground a resistance has formed, a group of freedom fighters led by David, played by Ray Brooks who puts in a real standout performance.

David and his band of merry men are planning to take on the Daleks, and take back control of planet Earth, but only one man can help them take down the dreaded auto-tuned ET’s, the Lord of Time himself, the Doctor.

Again, the restored picture looks fantastic, the action is great, even a little violent at times and the movie itself is fun. However, if you’re hoping for another classic to rival that of Doctor Who and the Daleks, then you may be left sorely disappointed. While the movie is enjoyable, Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D unfortunately pales in comparison to its predecessor due to the simple and predictable story.

Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD (still)

One the highlights of this 50th anniversary edition is the wonderful Bernard Cribbins interview which appears as a special feature, in which Cribbins recounts his fondest memories from the movie. We also have Restoring Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. featurette, which only really shows two short examples of the process. Also included is an interview with The Shepperton Story author, Gareth Owen, and the original movie trailer.

Both of these movies are pieces of pop culture history and a must for any Doctor Who fans. Yes, their timely release may be a bit of a cash-in, but nonetheless no collection should be without them.

Doctor Who and the Daleks, and Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D are both released on DVD and Blu Ray on May 27th. If that wasn’t enough, both movies will also be appearing on the big screen in cinemas throughout the country over the next few months, full details of which can be found at Independent Cinema Office

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