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Doctor Who: Invasion Of The Dinosaurs DVD Review

There’s much to admire and dislike about “Invasion Of The Dinosaurs.”

“Invasion Of The Dinosaurs” begins with the Doctor and Sarah Jane arriving in a seemingly deserted London. They soon discover that London is not empty, however, when they encounter looters, U.N.I.T., and, yes, dinosaurs roaming the street. The plot thickens when the dinosaurs begin to disappear from time. Who (and what) is bringing the dinosaurs to 1970’s London and for what purpose? Why are people being stored onto a “spaceship”? Who is the shady Government official Sir Charles Grover and how does he tie into the plot? All is revealed in the end.

Had “Invasion Of The Dinosaurs” been made in the modern “Doctor Who” era, it might be a more highly regarded adventure. After all, the serialized story boasts a relevant green message and an interesting plot about Earth (without getting into spoiler territory). Unfortunately, the production values give this episode a bad reputation and it’s not hard to see why. There’s no two ways about it, the dinosaur effects are positively horrendous here. It doesn’t help that the dino roars are looped and in some cases comprised of recordings of people screeching like a dinosaur.  The dino puppets are just so phony and immobile that they immediately take you out of the story. You can’t them seriously and you can’t help but laugh seeing scenes like Jon Pertwee batting away a flimsy looking Pterodactyl.

On the plus side, this episode contains one of the more surprising subplots involving Captain Mike Yates. Again, I don’t want to spoil too much, but let’s just say his character takes an unexpected turn in this episode.

Summary: “Invasion Of The Dinosaurs” has its ups and downs, but ultimately, it’s still worth a watch thanks to a solid story and an interesting character arc.

Video/Audio:

The fullscreen picture quality is generally decent. The blurred colors and line pop-ups can be a bit of a bummer, but overall the episode looks better than expected.

The Dolby Digital Mono audio track is worthy of praise. The awful dino roars sound better than you really want them too.

Extras:
* Radio Times Listings, info text, episode 1 colorization option, photo gallery, “Doctor Who” series 6 and “The Sensorites” trailers.
* Nearly 5 minutes of deleted scenes.
* “Billy Smart’s Circus”- Jon Pertwee (as the Doctor) and the Whomobile’s appearance at a circus.
* 10 minutes of commentary by John Levene on part 5. He talks about Finch, Sergeant Benton, Jon Pertwee, the script, dinosaurs, etc.
* “Now And Then”- A look at the shooting locations when the episode was shot and in modern day. Some interesting information about the deserted London shots here.
* “Doctor Who Stories: Elisabeth Sladen Part 1”- Sladen talks in-depth about Jon Pertwee, how she got cast, the Sarah Jane character, “The Time Warrior,” “Death To The Daleks,” “Invasion Of The Dinosaurs,” the Brigadier and Bessie, “Monster Of Peladon,” and “Planet Of The Spiders.”
* “People, Power, and Puppetry”- This making of mainly touches on the script and the goofy dinosaur puppets.
* Commentary by Richard Franklin, Terrence Wilton, Richard Morris, Terrance Dicks, Paddy Russell, and Toby Hadoke. Paddy is the most talkative and informative commentator here.

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

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