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Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks
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since its premiere on the BBC 50 years ago, this six-part Classic Doctor Who story has been meticulously animated based on the original audio recordings!
One of the most celebrated Classic adventures, THE POWER OF THE DALEKS features the regeneration (or as it was called at the time renewal ) of First Doctor William Hartnell into Second Doctor Patrick Troughton. After regenerating, the Doctor and his companions find themselves on the Earth colony Vulcan facing off against the Doctor s oldest enemy the Daleks.
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For those who haven't experienced other missing episodes brought to life by animation, you'll probably want to know that you won't be getting Simpsons quality animation. The budget to bring classic TV back to a small audience is considerably smaller. So, think somewhere between Sealab 2021 and Archer, if you're familiar.
That said, the likenesses are great. These animators seem to spend a lot of effort on the minor facial movements that bring back some flair of the actors and characters. The backgrounds are superb. Again, an impressive amount of effort there, with a lot of attention paid to the surviving reference material. The scenes with the Daleks, and other 3D elements are rendered beautifully, and the monsters almost look like they've been brought back by the actual recovery of the original films.
As for the downsides of the animation: you'll see some of the hallmarks of lower budget animation. Most obviously, the animation cycles of the characters as they walk are wonky. Often, on flash animated shows like Archer, they'll frame the legs out of shot as characters walk. They ambitiously try to include it in some shots here, and it rarely works smoothly. Same with some, but not all, finer movements with character's hands. Also, there's a clothing continuity error in episode 1 that unfortunately slipped through the cracks.
Another highlight of the animation is the newly restored audio track, cleaned up by Mark Ayres. Lots of little details in the audio I've never noticed before, and very clear voices. You'd never know it survived by a fan recording the sound from his TV 50 years ago.
I was skeptical about this release. I'm more of a telesnap reconstruction / audio person, when it comes to lost episodes. I appreciate animated efforts. But with things like Reign of Terror and Ice Warriors, I've gone back to reconstructions when I want to visit the story. But this animation exceeded my expectations. I'll be sticking with this, at least half of the time, when I want to watch Power of the Daleks.
For reference, I would rank the other official animations as such:
Invasion - 10/10
Moonbase and Tenth Planet - 7/10
Ice Warriors - 5/10
Reign of Terror - 3/10
The crispness of the characters comes through in the vocal track, with classic British actors doing great work with a fairly strong script and adequate story. What I had been hoping for, I think, was a greater insight into Troughton's original performance; a unique first time rendering of a completely new character - a sort of re-genesis (this first "regeneration" was only called a "renewal"). Troughton was mysterious, unpredictable, clever and Intriguing, making the absolute most of his opportunities to be a literal new man. I would have liked more nuances, more elaborate expression in, at least, the Doctor, Polly and Ben, since it is their expression which is our key viewpoint for the story.
The animators could have judiciously used more expression, shorter, more intimate close ups, and editing, to bring the action more to life. Instead, I feel that they defaulted to a slavish dedication to the original material, in a less imaginative way.
I don't mean that they should have cut anything, or changed known material, but simply made the show more lively, for modern sensibilities.
Still, I regard this as a very positive work, despite the aforementioned flaws, because we will probably never get to see the original video, because of the BBC's blinkered destruction of the original tapes, back in the 1970's.
The story has the original sound and coupled with the well done animation, it brings the story to life. While I enjoyed the colorized version, I preferred the black & white version just for nostalgia reasons as it made the story more realistic.
This is a must have story as it is one of the more significant moments in the Doctor Who timeline.