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Doctor Who: The Caves of Androzani (Special Edition) (Story 136)

4.7 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Doctor Who: The Caves of Androzani - Special Edition

On the cave-riddled world of Androzani Minor, the Doctor and Peri inadvertently find themselves enmeshed in a war fought between the ruthless General Chellak and the sinister Sharaz Jek and his army of androids. The duplicitous politician Morgus wants Chellak to execute the time travelers as spies, while the disfigured Jek seeks to keep Peri forever hostage within his stronghold. But the Doctor soon realizes an even more gruesome fate awaits them – they have been infected with fatal spectrox toxemia, and there is no cure. Hunted by both factions and with death just hours away, how far must the Doctor go in order to save his friend's life?

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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Davison, Colin Baker, John Normington, Christopher Gable
  • Directors: Graeme Harper
  • Writers: Robert Holmes
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005SH62X4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,736 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chris Swanson VINE VOICE on October 30, 2011
Format: DVD
When the Fifth Doctor, played by Peter Davison, decided to call it a day, he did so with what is, to date, the best of the "regeneration" stories, and one of the best stories period from either the old or new series.

The story focuses on the Doctor and Peri arriving at Androzani, where they find out that, as per usual for places they visit, things aren't going well. There's a bit of a war on between rebels and the corporation that controls the planet. This was in the 1980s, you see, when corporations controlled everything, unlike now where...uh...actually, I don't know how to finish that. Moving on. The Doctor inserts himself into the middle of things, but this time does so at the cost of his own life.

It's an excellent story, and directed by Graeme Harper, who has since gone on to direct several new series episodes. It's really great, and I'm pleased that it's getting a special edition version, as it was one of the earlier DVD releases and was somewhat bare-bones.

Here's what you get (lifted from a review on Amazon's UK website):

Disc 1

· 4 x 25 min colour episodes with mono audio.
· Commentary with actors Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant and director Graeme Harper.
· Isolated Music - option to view the episodes with isolated music scores.
· Behind the Scenes - The Regeneration (dur. 7' 53") - a look inside the studio during the shooting of the climactic regeneration scene. Features an optional commentary track with Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant and Graeme Harper.
· Behind the Scenes - Creating Sharaz Jek (dur.
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Format: VHS Tape
The Fifth Doctor and Peri's trip to the sandy Androzani Minor turns out to be a fateful and intensely eventful one in this Dune meets The Phantom of the Opera story. They explore a cave mouth and encounter a cache of arms enough to equip a small army. There, they are caught on the scene by the soldiers of General Chellak and condemned to death as gunrunners.
Here's the situation: Spectrox is a drug that can increase twice the ordinary lifespan. Demand for the drug shoots up when Sharaz Jek, a robotics expert who is lusting for revenge against Morgus, the man who'd betrayed him, seized the spectrox mines with an army of androids. The military under Chellak and his subordinate Salateen have been fighting a losing battle against androids, gunrunners led by Stotz, and a carnivorous monster that looks like something out of a Godzilla movie. Public demand has put pressure on the Androzani president to possibly capitulate to Jek's demands and negotiate an armistice. Jek's terms? "I want the head of Morgus at my feet. I want the head of that perfidious treacherous degenerate congealed in its own evil blood."
Well-picked words by Jek, because Morgus is exactly that. A cold-hearted businessman on Androzani Major whose conglomerate controls the spectrox mines as well as other holdings offworld, and speaks in a cold, low, level, emotionless tone. His profitmaking goes as far as sabotaging his own mines when an increase in production leads to lower prices and even closing down plants, leaving many unemployed workers being shipped off to labour camps in the East.
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Format: DVD
I'm pleased to announce that the uniformly high quality of the first three States-side "Doctor Who" DVD releases was not a fluke. The newly-offered "The Caves of Androzani" is another highly-regarded story given a glossy new, features-packed look.
It's the final story for Peter Davison, the 5th Doctor, and is notably gloomy and dark. Roger Limb's militaristic score, replete with a rattlesnake motif, and Graeme Harper's inspired direction -- full of cross-fades, matched dissolves, and Shakespearean soliloquies to the camera -- is light-years beyond the dull visual look for which so much "Who" is unfortunately remembered. The script is Robert Holmes at his darkest: a planet run by a mega-corporation is involved in a bitter war against a deformed mad scientist and his android army over supply of a life-preserving drug. Into this picture stumble the Doctor and Peri, who both contract fatal poisoning within minutes. The acting is superb, from John Normington's evil-CEO Morgus, who delivers chilling asides to the camera, to former dancer Christopher Gable as the mad Sharaz Jek, stalking the camera (and Peri) in skin-tight leather and a memorable black-and-white mask.
The features are a slight decline from those in the first set of DVD releases. The raw studio footage of Peter Davison's regeneration scene is tolerable only with Davison and Harper's voiceover commentary -- but the DVD doesn't inform that this track exists over the featurettes as well as over the story. Similarly, the extended scene (featuring just 20 seonds of new material) works best with this commentary. The photo gallery and TV trailer strike of tokenism.
Better is a featurette narrated by (the late) Gable, describing the creation of Sharaz Jek: possibly the best original featurette on a DW disc thus far.
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