Doctor Who: Planet Of Giants DVD Review
“Planet Of Giants” is one of the more memorable First Doctor era stories.
“Planet Of Giants” begins with the TARDIS doors dangerously opening before materialization much to the displeasure of the Doctor. However, he, Susan, Ian and Barbara seem to be fine, so he doesn’t worry about it too much until he steps outside. The 4 soon discover that the world they are in seems a bit off as they encounter giant sized ants, worms, bees and other insects that also happen to be dying. After some investigating, the 4 discover that they have all shrunk because of the TARDIS malfunction and that they are actually on Earth. While all of this is going on, the story cuts to drama involving normal sized humans bickering over a deadly insecticide called DN6 (which is causing the death of the insects). As you can probably guess, the two stories collide, but I won’t spoil the story any further.
Admittedly, the First Doctor era does not rank high on my list of “Doctor Who” favorites. It was clear that the writers were still trying to tinker with the series concept and the production values could be a bit awkward to say the least. Plus, we had to deal with Susan yelling “Grandfather!” more times than one person can bear. With all of that said, however, I think “Planet Of Giants” is one of the true gems of William Hartnell’s tenure as the Doctor.
If you can get the past the fact that are no actual giants in this episode, this is a pretty imaginative DW adventure. The sets (while cheap) are creative, the f/x and giant props are clever, the slight TARDIS mythology is intriguing, and Louis Marks’ script really embraces the possibilities and excitement that “Doctor Who” can offer. Sure, there have been shrunken stories before this, but this was an ambitious story that managed to be entertaining despite being given a low budget to work with.
‘Giants,’ which is presented in fullscreen, isn’t the best looking classic DW adventure. Some of the B&W picture quality appears fuzzy and some of the character motions look overly blurry. Generally though, it looks adequate enough to watch.
The Dolby Digital Mono track sounds like a Dolby Digital Mono track. I think most DVD collecting Whovians know what to expect from these tracks.
“Planet Of Giants” Extras:
* “Doctor Who” series 6 and “Vengeance On Varos: Special Edition” trailers, info text, Radio Times Listings, prop design plans, and a photo gallery.
* “The Lambert Tapes- The Doctor”- A nearly 14 interview with producer Verity Lambert.
* “Suddenly Susan”- Carole Ann Ford chats about the character she played (Susan), what the character was originally going to be like, the costumes, Verity Lambert, various episodes, among other topics.
* “Rediscovering The Urge To Live”- A featurette about the reconstruction.
* Episode 3 and 4 Reconstructions with newly recorded dialogue and animation. It’s certainly interesting to compare this to the episode presented on the DVD.
* A very technical and dry commentary by moderator Mark Ayres, vision mixer Clive Doig, sound creator Brian Hodgson, make-up artist Sonia Markham, and floor assistant David Tilley.
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