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Doctor Who: Invasion of the Dinosaurs (Story 71)
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Doctor Who: Invasion of the Dinosaurs
Returning from their adventure in medieval England, the Doctor and Sarah Jane are bewildered to find London deserted and under marshal law. Even more startling is the sudden appearance of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the street. When they reach UNIT headquarters, they learn from the Brigadier that the city had to be evacuated when dinosaurs began appearing all over London. Fortunately, the prehistoric reptiles disappear almost as soon as they appear, but their random visits naturally caused "considerable panic and some loss of life." The Doctor believes that the dinosaurs are being transported through time from the Mesozoic age, but he needs a live specimen to test his theory. Meanwhile, Sarah applies her reporter's instincts to uncovering a hidden agenda. This video features over two hours in color, but Episode 1 is in black-and-white.]]>
"The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) arrives in a modern-day London under attack from prehistoric monsters in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, an infamous 1974 serial from the 11th season of the venerable British science fiction series Doctor Who. Though its dreadful puppet dinosaurs have the scorn of generations of fans, Invasion of the Dinosaurs does have an intriguing storyline in Operation Golden Age, a bizarre plot to return the Earth to the purity of its pre-human days through time-travel technology. As noted in the fine making-of featurette, People, Power and Puppets, which is featured on the set's second disc, the ecological-extremism element lends much-needed gravity to the serial, as does a subplot involving UNIT captain Mike Yates (Richard Franklin), whose brainwashing by the supercomputer BOSS in 1973's The Green Death makes him a willing accomplice to the Golden Age scheme. Of course, any semblance of verisimilitude goes out the window anytime Pertwee or companion Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) have to face off against the stiff rod-puppet saurians, but both actors shoulder the burden manfully, and Franklin makes the most of Yates's brief moment in the spotlight. There's no question that much of Invasion of the Dinosaurs is a misfire for the Pertwee-era Doctor, but by the same token, it's also not the unmitigated disaster it's been made out to be since its original airing.
The two-disc Invasion of the Dinosaurs set presents five of the serial's six episodes in their original color presentation; as Who historians well know, episode one was erased as part of the BBC's recurring practice of wiping tapes of past television shows, but a black-and-white 16mm work print was eventually unearthed, along with a scene not shown in the original broadcast that is included in the set's brief collection of deleted scenes. Viewers can watch episode one in its monochromatic format or in a version that attempts to approximate the original broadcast color quality. Also included are two audio commentaries, one featuring director Paddy Russell, script editor Terrance Dicks, Yates, and several other cast and crew members, while the other offers John (Sgt. Benton) Levene's observations on 10 minutes of Part Five. Now and Then revisits the serial's extensive London locations, while Doctor Who Stories: Elisabeth Sladen Part 1 presents the late actress's lively recollections of her brief tenure as companion to Pertwee's Doctor. The extras are rounded out by a clip from a broadcast of England's long-running Billy Smart's Circus that features Pertwee behind the wheel of the outrageous Whomobile, as well as a photo still gallery, a PDF of the Radio Times listings that can be viewed in DVD-ROM format, and the by-now standard production notes subtitle option. --Paul Gaita"
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Top Customer Reviews
Ok as usual I will skip the plot line its mentioned in the other reviews.
I will mention this is the first time we see the Whomobile.
Whomobile; A hovercraft-type vehicle that was also capable of flight, used by the Third Doctor in the serials Invasion of the Dinosaurs and Planet of the Spiders. The vehicle was also known as Alien, but was only ever referred to as "my car" by the Doctor in the television series. However, it is popularly referred to as the Whomobile. The vehicle was specially commissioned by and was the property of Jon Pertwee, and was not seen in the program again after he left it. It bore the license plate WV0 2M, and was registered as an invalid tricycle.
2 Disks containing 6 Episodes and Special Features
All six episodes and...special features
Episode 1 Colour On/Off; You can watch this in both black and white and in colour
Audio Options; Commentary
Info Text On/Off; Still my favorite
People, Power And Puppetry;
Now and Then;
Doctor Who Stories: Elisabeth Sladen Part 1
John Levene Commentary
Billy Smart's Circus
INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS
Story # 71
Season 11's Second Story
Third Doctor, Jon Perwee Era, final season 1973-74
Second Classic Sarah Jane Smith story
OVERALL STORY RATING 8/10
INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS is a 10/10 story pulled down to 8/10 solely due to poor dinosaur special effects. If the viewer is willing to put forth a tiny bit of effort and engage their imagination when the dinosaurs are onscreen, the reward will be a truly superb story well worth the watching. It is truly sad that such an excellent story is pulled so low by a single problem. Were it not for the poor dinosaur special effects, INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS would likely rate among the finest WHO stories of all time, possibly even in the top 25.
Essential for SARAH JANE ADVENTURES fans, and highly recommended for Whovians, both veteran and novice .
STORY & SCRIPT 10/10
Excellent Malcolm Hulke script. Many twists, turns and surprises for the viewer. Great dialog, impressive and creative story idea, believable and intriguing idealists as not-evil-just-misguided-villians. All elements combined make for an impressive, intelligent well-above-average-WHO story that will engage the viewer mentally and emotionally.
Superb performances across the board for main cast, UNIT and guest cast. Jon Pertwee's "Third Doctor" is one of the best and most unique in WHO history, and he and Elisabeth Sladen have an entertaining, very watchable closeness and rapport making the Pertwee/Sladen companionship one of WHO's best-ever pairings. INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS looks much like an early test run for SARAH JANE ADVENTURES, as Elisabeth Sladen again lights up the screen in only her second story. Her portrayal of the serious-but-warm, girl-next-door, "Sarah Jane" pulls the viewer effortlessly into the story with her, and is a strong, capable, intelligent companion, whose actions move much of the story. The UNIT team regulars are very impressive as detailed below. The large guest cast is superb across the board with every performance engaging, believable and spotlessly done. One of the few WHO stories that can genuinely be rated "flawless" in all across-the-board performances. Veteran Whovians will recognize the incredible Peter Miles(Professor Whitaker) and excellent John Bennett (General Finch) from superb performances each will give in two WHO masterpiece stories to come in Seasons 12 and 14.
PRODUCTION QUALITY 10/10
The sets are so well built, effectively filmed and believable overall, that even a minor wobble here-and-there, does not detract from the viewer's overall belief in the scenes and story. Paddy Russell's imaginative direction is every bit as impressive in overlooked, underrated INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS as it is in the highly respected and recognized PYRAMIDS OF MARS, and HORROR OF FANG ROCK.
SPECIAL EFFECTS 2/10
The dinosaurs are so poorly realized onscreen that the score is pulled down to a "2/10" "far below average" even though other special effects are very well done. Minus the poorly realized dinosaur special effects, this story has superb producton values. Paddy Russell's filming of deserted London is particularly spooky, disturbing and chilling, giving the viewer a strong sense that something is terribly wrong. The "Time Eddy" presentation onscreen is very well done, even by today's standards, a surprisingly good achievement considering the limitations of mid-1970's CSO technology.
STORY IMPORTANCE 9/10
One of the best stories for the UNIT Team. The Brigadier, Yates, and Benton each get their chance to shine, and they and the stunt UNIT regulars are in great form, acting and looking like a genuine military organization, and pull off a few major surprises for the viewer, which helps bump this story up considerably from a normal "5/10" average "Importance" rating. It is definitely one of the finest and most ambitious Pertwee-era stories and that is saying a lot, as there are some genuinely GREAT stories during Jon Pertwee's run as the Third Doctor, Season 7-through-11.
DVD EXTRAS 9/10
Excellent across the board except as noted in the following remarks. The excellent PEOPLE, POWER AND PUPPETRY documentary truly gets to the heart of what makes INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS such a superb story. The on-screen text information by David Brunt is also excellent. However, the commentary is a bit disappointing for once. The commentary is excellent in Parts 2, 3 & 6, but gets off-topic in Parts 1,4 & 5, where director Paddy Russell and moderator Toby Hadoke are the only participants and Russell's career outside of WHO is discussed as much or more than INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS. It is very disappointing that the commentary isn't mostly as it is in Parts 2, 3 & 6, actually concerning the making of the story itself, and less about Paddy Russell's career in-and-outside WHO. I would have much preferred to listen to more observations and memories from Richard Franklin, Peter Miles, Terence Wilton and Terrance Dicks.
DOCTOR WHO STORIES: ELISABETH SLADEN PART 1 is a 14 minute interview from 2003 with Elisabeth Sladen, that is so delightful, that the poignancy hits extra hard on the realization that with her passing on April 19, 2011, the WHO world lost a genuine, irreplacable, treasure. Keep it running past the credits for a cute little surprise.
These wonderful DVD extras are what make Classic WHO DVD's such special treats, so DO NOT overlook them as you will be losing a tremendous portion of the enormous value of a Classic WHO DVD!
Toby Hadoke(Moderator) & Paddy Russell(Director) in Parts 1,4 & 5.
Parts 2,3 & 6 has varied participation with Toby Hadoke(Moderator), by Richard Franklin, Peter Miles, Terence Wilton(Actors), and Terrance Dicks(Script Editor); [special 10-minute solo commentary by John Levene(Actor, Sgt Benton) available on Part 5].
PEOPLE, POWER AND PUPPETRY Participants
Matthew Sweet(Presenter); John Pertwee-1993 Interview, Terence Wilton, Peter Miles(Actors); Barry Letts(Producer); Paddy Russell(Director); Terrance Dicks(Script Editor); Richard Morris(Designer).
They soon find themselves face to face with looters, who hit the Dr. over his head and run when small flying dinosaurs attack them. They take the looters vehicle after knocking them out, and find themselves arrested for looting. While being taken to a holding facility they see the appearance of a T-Rex. They escape and eventually accidentally find Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart. This all leads to the doctor and Sarah looking into why these dinosaurs keep appearing. As it turns out a group of people including Capatain Yates, yes Captain Yates want to roll back time to an earlier purer period of time. The general is involved as well, making it very difficult for the Doctor to find the people responsible for the dinosaur appearances. Captain Yates frequently sabotages the doctors devices as to prevent him from finding the source of power needed to bring the dinosaurs back. Sarah Jane gets caught, and placed onto a spaceship filled with people going to a new planet that is pure and in an earlier time. or is it a spaceship? Does the doctor save the day? What about Captain Yates? You will have to buy it and watch it to find out.
***Spoiler Alert Over***
Jon Pertwee has been a favorite of mine since I first started watching Dr. Who, and he does not disappoint in this story. It's a well told story with the classic Dr. Who that you would expect him to be.
I highly recommend it.