Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead
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David Tennant began his victory lap as the Tenth Doctor with this engaging special episode of Doctor Who, one of four from 2009 that brought his tenure as the Time Lord to a close, and the first to be shot in HD. Tennant's palpable energy and quirky charm are the engines that drive Planet of the Dead, and he's well-matched by Michelle (Bionic Woman) Ryan ashis one-off companion, Lady Christina de Souza. The lady's chosen profession--jewel thief--launches the story when she attempts to evade the police on a tour bus occupied by the Doctor. As things of this nature often go in Doctor Who, the bus slips through a wormhole in time and space and winds up on the desert planet San Helios, which harbors both the industrious, fly-headed Tritovores and a species of stingray-like creatures w ith voracious appetites. The script by Russell T. Davies and Gareth Roberts (the first shared writing credit since Davies revived the series in2005) makes fun references to all manner of desert-bound cinematic adventures, from Flight of the Phoenix to Pitch Black, and if there are a few too many well-worn moments to rank it among the best Tennant episodes (the psychic bus passenger is a bit convenient), the chemistry between Tennant and Ryan, as well as fine support by comic Lee Evans and Noma Dumezweni (returning as UNIT Captain Erisa Magambo from the Rose Tyler era)and the striking Dubai locations, should keep most Who fans entertained. The sole extra is an hour-long episode of Doctor Who Confidential thatcovers the special episode's production and location filming.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
Planet of the Dead is a pretty good special with some lovely cinematography and great location in the Dubai desert , some retro-aliens. The Doctor and a bus load of characters make an unscheduled stop on a desert planet . Characters like "sassy" wealthy adventurer/thief Lady Christina de Souza a'la Laura Kroft as played by the lovely Michelle Ryan (Merlin, the Bionic Woman, Jekyll) are likely to become fan favorites. Ryan, contrary to internet buzz, never auditioned to replace Billie Piper's Rose in '06, but after seeing the end product I think you'll agree she'd make a terrific season 5 or 6 addition to the cast.Enough filibustering for Ryan, the cast was great including Mousehunt's Lee Evans who superbly plays UNIT's technical support and parody of fandom....oh yeah did I mention UNIT gives fire support as always.
Extras....Backstory is outlined in the consistently good behind-the-scenes series "Dr. Who Confidential." This features the making of the special was even better the actual end product...how the double-decker bus of shipped out of country, the stunts, disasters endured and of course effects.
DOCTOR WHO: PLANET OF THE DEAD is full of the characteristic energy and charm that is brought to the Tenth Doctor by David Tennant. He matches wits with Michelle Ryan, who would clearly make an excellent companion and foil for Mr. Tennant if he were continuing on. The chemistry between the two brought a well needed sparkle back to DOCTOR WHO: PLANET OF THE DEAD, and the pair was quite fun to watch.
As DOCTOR WHO: PLANET OF THE DEAD opens, Lady Christina de Souza (Ryan) is attempting to evade the police after stealing a rare and priceless artifact. Of course, she ends up on the same tour bus as our quirky, lovable Doctor. And as is expected in any episode of DOCTOR WHO, that bus then drives through a wormhole in time and space and winds up on a desert planet, placing all aboard, and all life on Earth, in terrible danger. As always, it is up to our Doctor and his faithful companion to save humanity.
The Dubai location of DOCTOR WHO: PLANET OF THE DEAD is quite spectacular, the aliens cool and retro, and the threat to Earth as expected. Is this "the best DOCTOR WHO episodes ever?" Of course not. But it is engaging, amusing, and very, very Tenth Doctor. It reminds us why we like David Tennant so much and why he will be sorely missed.
The aliens look like flies, a red double decker London bus is stuck on a planet of sand. How will the Doctor get them home with the help of a master thief and a golden chalice?
If you like Star Wars, Star Trek, Hitchhikkers guide to the Galaxy or anything marvel or science fiction you will love Doctor Who. Start with series 1 with Christopher Eccleston and watch in order. Wikipedia has a guide to the episodes, if you miss one episode you can miss so much.
I was also a little disappointed when I first watched this episode online a few months ago (Human-ear friendly bluetooths in a ship where the crew has no ears? Alien anti-gravity clamps that just happen to be the right size and number to fit the wheels of a London bus?). I also think it was a wasted trip for them to shoot in Dubai since most people will assume the vast expanse of desert is just a CGI trick anyway. I didn't think I would be watching it again anytime soon.
Having said that, I recently saw it again with a couple of people who are only casual Doctor Who watchers and they enjoyed it and took it for what it was, an amusing diversion. This made me relax and just have fun with it. It was good to see UNIT in action again and Lee Evans is always hilarious (if you haven't seen Mouse Hunt, do so immediately!)
I think most fans' problems with this special stem from the fact that we are having to wait so long between installments and we expect every one to be a complex stunner. In a normal season this would have been a perfectly acceptable light "change of pace" entry sandwiched between two heavier episodes. I think after we've seen the upcoming specials, which promise to be darker, this one will be put in its proper context.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I expected more responsibility from BBC. The flick was wonderful but in watching "confidential" I was disappointed in the environmental destruction they did to complete... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Drei_Katzen
A very , very good Doctor Who .Story was very good and acting was good .Published 22 months ago by Char Stasie