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Doctor Who: The Face Of Evil and The Robots Of Death- Special Edition DVD Reviews

 

The story falls apart in “The Face Of Evil.”

“The Robots Of Death” is anti-climactic.

“The Face Of Evil” finds the Doctor arriving solo at a jungle planet where he discovers two feuding tribes (the Sevateem and Tesh). While there, he meets an exiled Sevateem warrior named Leela whom he quickly befriends. As if the battling tribes weren’t problem enough for the Doctor, he also learns that there are invisible creatures and that the Doctor himself is known as “The Evil One” on this planet. Has the Doctor been on this planet before? Who is the God known as Xoanon?

In the story directly after “The Face Of Evil” (“The Robots Of Death”), the Doctor and Leela land on a sandminer where they immediately accused of murder by the crew of the vehicle (naturally). Of course, the two are not murderers and their innocence becomes apparent when it is discovered that the once obedient servant robots on board the sandminer are responsible for the killings.

‘Face’ starts off strong enough in the first two episodes. In addition to some snappy wisecracks from the Doctor (including some about Jelly Babies) and an impressive display of the Doctor’s archery skills, the chemistry between the Doctor and Leela in their first adventure together is delightful right off the bat. Unfortunately, the fun doesn’t last for long as the story stumbles around the third part. This is one of the stories that become less engaging as the story unfolds. It’s a shame the story became clumsy as there are some intriguing story elements here involving the Doctor statue and Xoanan.

Sadly, the Doctor and Leela’s second story (“The Robots Of Death”) isn’t much better. I know this episode has its fans, but personally, I found it to be a bore. Part of the problem with ‘Robots’ is that we know right away that the robots are responsible for the murders. Granted, we don’t know “why” it’s happening, but the answer to that question isn’t even worth trudging through the sluggish episode for. Had the episode had a different story structure, it might have turned out differently.

On the plus side, the robots themselves are memorable villains. I wouldn’t mind seeing them brought back in some form in the new series (although they do resemble the Clockwork Droids somewhat).

Summary: “The Face Of Evil” and “The Robots Of Death” are not episodes I would ever watch again. With that said, I do know that these two episodes have large fanbases and that those fans will be thrilled with these two discs for sure.

Video/Audio:

The crisp transfer of “The Face Of Evil” will please fans of the episodic adventure. The colors are particularly noteworthy. As for the special edition of ‘Robots,’ it’s another superb upgrade from the previous edition. Just look at the clarity of the close-up shots.

The Dolby Digital Mono tracks for both serial adventures are as good as can be expected for Mono tracks. They sound clean which is all you can really ask of them.

“The Face Of Evil” Extras:

* “Doctor Who” series 6 and “The Daemons” trailers, photo gallery, Radio Times Listings, Typhoo Tea Packet promo, and info text.

* “Denys Fisher Toys Advert”- A neat old school toy ad. I wasn’t even aware of this line of toys.

* “Swap Shop”- Louise Jameson’s appearance on the show.

* 9 minutes of cutting room floor footage.

* “Tomorrow’s Times: The Fourth Doctor”- A collection of news articles and pieces about some of Tom Baker’s “Doctor Who” era.

* “Doctor Who Stories: Louise Jameson”- Jameson talks about casting, William Hartnell, various episodes, etc.

* “Into The Wild”- The standard DVD making of featurette containing interviews, story discussions, and so on.

* Commentary by Louise Jameson, Leslie Schofield, David Garfield, Toby Hadoke, Mike Elles, Harry H. Fielder, Philip Hinchcliffe, and John McGlashan. While Hadoke does a fine job of guiding the commentary, it would have been nice to have Tom Baker here.

“The Robots Of Death” Extras:
* “Doctor Who” series 6 and “The Face Of Evil” trailers, photo gallery, continuity, Radio Times Listings, and info text.
* “Model Shots”- Test model shots of the sandminer.
* “Studio Floor Plan”- Pages detailing the studio sets.
* “Studio Sound”- A brief scene that shows how it sounded before the robot voiceover was added.
* “Robophobia”- Toby Hadoke chats about robots.
* “The Sandmine Murders”- Making of featurette with interviews, discussions about the story, etc. etc. etc.

* Commentary 1 with Philip Hinchcliffe and Chris Boucher. In a word- dull.

* Commentary 2 with Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Pamela Salem and Michael E. Briant. If you are a Whovian that is wondering why you should upgrade to this Special Edition disc, this new commentary is the reason to do so. A Tom Baker commentary is always worth listening to. Director Michael E. Briant is surprisingly jovial and informative as well.

March 8, 2012 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , ,

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