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Doctor Who: The Aztecs
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Doctor Who: Aztecs, The - Special Edition (DVD)
The TARDIS arrives in fifteenth century Mexico inside the tomb of one-time Aztec High Priest Yetaxa. The travellers become cut off from the ship when they explore the temple outside and the tomb door closes behind them. Barbara is proclaimed by the High Priest of Knowledge, Autloc, as Yetaxa's divine reincarnation. However, she incurs the enmity of the High Priest of Sacrifice, Tlotoxl, when - against the Doctor's advice - she attempts to use her new-found authority to put an end to the Aztec practice of human sacrifice.]]>
Doctor Who: The Aztecs--Special Edition is one of the famed history-based episodes from the early '60s (this one's from 1964) during the tenure of William Hartnell as the Doctor. The crew of the TARDIS finds itself transported back to 15th-century Mexico during the reign of the Aztecs. Not only that, the TARDIS plops down inside a sealed Aztec tomb. The crew members are safe and eventually escape the tomb--but because they escaped, the Aztecs believe that Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) is a powerful goddess. Barbara takes preeningly to her new role and hopes to change history by preventing a human sacrifice. But can history be changed--even by the Doctor? This packed disc contains terrific extras pertaining to this episode, including a rollicking commentary and great features on creating the Aztec kingdom on a budget. But what most Doctor Who fans will love is the inclusion of one of the episodes previously thought to be lost, Galaxy 4. It's impressive how the producers were able to reconstruct Galaxy 4 since a complete episode hasn't been found. So the editors and producers stitched together stills, pieces of the episode, and very satisfying animation to tell the story, which is a more traditional futuristic interplanetary adventure. The extras also include some random treasure troves, like a peek at the empire of Doctor Who toys, many of which are extremely collectible by now. Doctor Who: The Aztecs--Special Edition is a must for any fan of Doctor Who. --A.T. Hurley
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Just so you know, a little more then half of this story is done with, "Telesnaps." Basically, Telesnaps are still photos of the picture as it was being filmed during TV production. The BBC produced an entirely remade version of Doctor Who's, "Marco Polo" using entirely just Telesnaps. What makes this so awesome is how the BBC recently obtained footage of long lost segments of the original "Galaxy 4" story and combined them with previously owned Telesnaps to pull together the scenes still lost to time. They also included some CGI and animations to complete the story and make it flow even better. Basically, you end up with a pretty good interpretation of the WHOLE STORY!
The audio of Doctor Who's "Galaxy 4" already existed and so by putting everything together it is as close to watching the complete story (once thought lost for good). The original taping of "Galaxy 4" was scrapped about 10 years after the story was released, back in the 60's or early 70's, and this was unfortunately the usual way shows were handled during the 60's. The producers of Doctor Who could have had no way of knowing that Doctor Who was going to become such a big hit and remain on air for another 50 years, which is why they destroyed many of these shows to the great loss of those that love everything "Who'ish!"
It is a shame that as time marches on the possibilities of continuing to find these lost episodes or intact stories gets worse and worse. Therefore having the ability at hand to recreate entire stories like "Galaxy 4" are indeed such an unexpected treat for all of us.
Thanks for reading my review.
The extra is a full length reconstruction of a lost serial, Galaxy 4. All the original dialogue exists. Where the original film is lost, the audio is played in conjunction still photos from the episode, something I find much more effective than the animated episode that fill in some of the reconstructed serials. The story involves the Doctor landing on a planet about to explode. Two damaged spacecraft are on the planet. One of the spacecraft is crewed by beautiful women and one is crewed by bug eyed monsters. The bug eyed monsters are nice guys just trying to help out whereas the women are the bad guys. Amusing serial. Dorky name. Doubt that the writers had an idea what a galaxy is.
Please note, however, that this is the Special Edition version; the original version released to DVD does have the story and a few bonus features, but this is more elaborate, including a couple documentaries on the fall of the Aztec Empire as well as a reconstruction of the incomplete serial "Galaxy 4", itself missing save for some snippets of footage and its third (of four) parts. If you don't have either DVD, get this one. If you have the earlier edition, but you're a completist, then get this one anyway.
I am glad I was able to see a missing episode of the Bill Hartnell era, but am disappointed that so much was cut out. I would leave this up to the buyer. If you want to see this missing episode, by all means purchase this DVD.