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Doctor Who: The Moonbase (Story 33)

4.1 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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(Feb 11, 2014)
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Editorial Reviews

New to DVD! Digitally remastered Doctor Who classic The Moonbase! (NOT FINAL) The TARDIS arrives in 2070 AD on the Moon, where a weather control station under the command of a man named Hobson is in the grip of a plague epidemic - in reality the result of an alien poison planted by the Cybermen. Polly realizes that as the Cybermen's chest units are made of plastic they must be vulnerable to attack by solvents. She and her friends manage to destroy all the Cybermen on the base with a 'cocktail' of such chemicals shot at them through fire extinguishers.

Special Features

Audio Commentary Lunar Landing Making Of Photo Gallery PDF materials: Radio Times Listings Production Note Subtitles Digitally remastered picture and sound quality

Product Details

  • Actors: Patrick Troughton, Michael Craze, Anneke Wills, Frazer Hines
  • Directors: Morris Barry
  • Writers: Kit Pedler
  • Producers: Innes Lloyd
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Black & White
  • Language: English (Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 11, 2014
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00C6ACWLC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,704 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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The Region 1 DVD release of The Moonbase has been severely botched by BBC Worldwide and they have NO intention to fix their mistake or offer replacement discs to customers who already purchased this abominable release! It was mastered with an incorrect framerate of 23.98 (film speed) instead of the correct NTSC video framerate of 29.97 and essentially removes all of the VidFire sequences which is the process used by the Restoration Team to restore a "live" video look to sequences that were originally recorded in the studio onto videotape. The result makes these sequences look like they were incorrectly shot on film instead and the pixels are muddy and smeared on episodes 2 and 4.

According to the Doctor Who DVD FAQ, BBC Worldwide is aware of the mastering problem and they have issued a statement that they have NO plans to fix it or offer replacement discs with a "Take-it-or-leave-it" attitude:

"MOONBASE MASTERING ERROR - UPDATE

Due to a tight schedule, Worldwide Americas had this DVD authored in the US instead of the UK (as they normally do). In the process of converting this from the PAL video system, it should've been authored as interlaced video at 60 fields per second, however, the US engineers instead treated this as if it were progressive video. This has resulted in the loss of the VidFIRE video-look effect, and the episodes play slightly slower than they should play; they're about 1 minute longer than they ought to be. They did apply a digital pitch-correction so that the sound didn't lower in pitch. It's still playable, but the video-look is absent, and it does run 4% slow."

This is just inexcusable for fans who have waited DECADES for a proper release.
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Worldwide Americas have made an apparent mastering error on this DVD. It should have been authored as interlaced video at 60 fields per second, however, it has instead been treated here as though it were 24 frame-per-second film. This results in the loss of the VidFIRE video-look effect, and plays the episodes slightly slower than they should play; they’re about 1 minute longer than they should be.

This is probably the reason the price went down. Since they haven’t recalled DVD’s in the past when errors have occurred, I recommend NOT buying this DVD till the error has been corrected. Just great after waiting several months after this DVD was delayed from its original release date of last winter, and now we still can’t buy ity!
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Do NOT get this DVD! There are mastering errors in the video that cause the video to look like film recording instead of video tape, as they were originally intended to. The video also runs slower, resulting in the running time being about a minute longer than it should be.

BBC Worldwide Americas is aware of this issue and they have stated they will not correct it. They will not issue new discs or replacement discs for people who bought it. Why should they when they can release a so called Special Edition, double dip you, and cause you to pay for the same content twice, like they did with the R2 DVD of Remembrance Of The Daleks?
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BBCWW screwed up even more than usual on this one.

We're used to getting errors in our R1 releases, which are a low priority compared to the R2 releases. Messing up the story name on the spine, or the text on the back is par for the course. But, they've removed the vidfire and screwed up the playback speed this time. Episodes clock in at a minute longer than they should.

They should recall this and issue us all replacement discs. They won't, but it is the correct response to this problem. Instead I'll likely just do an amazon return.
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I read all the reviews about the mastering errors and ignored them. Yes, if I was reviewing a student's work in a film class, that might be a valid criticism;, but I'm just a Dr. Who fan who wanted to see one of the missing stories that was never televised in the US. For an old TV show, the film quality was good enough. The story wasn't all that exciting and a bit hokey even to a Dr.Who fan like me. Not one of the top serials by far. However, I liked seeing this missing show. I'm not a big fan of the animation, but guess it was the only way to see episodes 1 and 3, so that's that. If you are not a Dr. Who fan, this won't make you one. If you want to see an early Dr. Who serial that you won't see on TV, buy it, even though it isn't one of the best ones.
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During the Patrick Troughton era of Doctor Who, the show featured several "base-under-siege" stories that involved alien monsters attacking, well, bases. To be honest, I don't like this storytelling formula, or think that it works well for the show. Apart from the fact that it's repetitive, it pretty much guarantees that everyone the Doctor encounters on his travels will be a soldier, scientist or stubborn bureaucrat who's in charge of the base.

That said, "The Moonbase" is a pretty good example of a story about, ahem, bases. The obligatory bureaucrat character is one-dimensional, but played by a good actor who does interesting things with the role. Meanwhile, the villainous Cybermen - in only their second appearance - are weirdly sinister and creepy. (I do miss the more human aspects of their Tenth Planet design, though.) Also, Troughton's Doctor really comes into his own in this story; in a great speech, he establishes himself as a crusader against evil who's ready to protect humanity at all costs. Good stuff.

So the story is, for me, a mixed bag. But how about the DVD? Well, since logging onto Amazon I've found out that it's mastered incorrectly, and plays at the wrong speed. To be honest, I didn't notice this problem when I watched it, so I'm wondering how bad it can actually be. (Well, maybe I noticed it on a subliminal level. I did, after all, fall asleep on The Moonbase because it felt slow!)

Setting aside the tech stuff, the DVD is otherwise fairly impressive but unexceptional for the Doctor Who range. The standout feature is that the "lost" episodes one and three of this serial are presented in animated form. The animation is pretty great; it makes the Cybermen look extra-creepy, and the likenesses of the actors are captured very well.
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