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Doctor Who: The Movie (Special Edition)

4.1 out of 5 stars 209 customer reviews

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(Feb 08, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This highly requested TV movie aired on Fox on May 14, 1995, and is available on North American video for the first time. The Doctor is returning home to Gallifrey with the remains of his arch-nemesis, the Master. Forced off course, the TARDIS arrives in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve 1999, where the Doctor is critically wounded in a gangland gun battle. At the local hospital, Dr. Grace Holloway fights--and fails--to save his life. Later, in the morgue, the Doctor wakes up a new man. But he is not the only one--the Master has also found himself a new body. As the clock counts down to the start of the new millennium, can the Doctor stop his oldest enemy from destroying all life on Earth?

Made to re-launch television's most famous time traveler, Doctor Who: The Movie is an expensive feature-length episode which attempts to continue the classic series and work as a stand-alone film. Transporting the remains of the Master, Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor is diverted to San Francisco in 1999. Regenerating in the form of Paul McGann, the Doctor gains a new companion in heart surgeon Dr. Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook) and must stop the Master from destroying the world. All of which might have been fine, had not the most eccentrically British of programs been almost entirely assimilated by the requirements of American network broadcasting. Matthew Jacobs' screenplay is literally nonsense, dependent on arbitrary, unexplained events while introducing numerous elements that contradict established Doctor Who mythology. The Tardis is re-imagined as a bizarre pre-Raphaelite/Gothic folly, while the Doctor, now half-human, becomes romantically involved with his lady companion. From the West Coast setting to metallic CGI morphing, from the look of Eric Roberts as the Master to a motorcycle/truck freeway chase, director Geoffrey Sax borrows freely from James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). Doctor Who fans should feel relieved this travesty was not successful enough to lead to a series, though McGann himself does have the potential to make a fine Doctor. --Gary S Dalkin

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary
  • Behind the scenes
  • Biographies
  • Featurette
  • Music Only Track
  • Photo gallery
  • Production Notes

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Paul McGann, Daphne Ashbrook, Eric Roberts
    • Directors: Geoffrey Sax
    • Writers: Matthew Jacobs
    • Producers: Peter V Ware
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Special Edition
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rated:
      Not Rated
    • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2011
    • Run Time: 86 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0049S1NYG
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,636 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Doctor Who: The Movie (Special Edition)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Well, as Amazon does not give us the info on what we need to know about this wonderful Doctor Who DVD. I have posted the info here from the know all, and see all on Doctor Who DVD's. Here is Steve Manfred's info on Doctor Who - The Movie - Special Edition.
    LINK: [...]
    Over 14 years after its production and broadcast, the Doctor Who TV Movie starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor will finally see release in North America!!!

    This 2-disc release will be on Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 for the suggested retail price of $34.98, under the title: Doctor Who - The Movie - Special Edition. 2entertain's Commissioning Editor Dan Hall revealed this surprise news on the "Hoo on Who" podcast (available on iTunes) on August 25. He was successful in negotiating release rights for this production outside of the UK that had previously been held by the co-producers of the TV Movie, Universal Television. This clears the way for a release in North America by BBC Worldwide Americas.

    The version that will see release is a new edition that was made available in the UK in October as part of what they're calling the Revisitations Box Set, where three previously available titles were re-released together with boosted extra features. The McGann TV Movie is one of them. The others will see release in North America later in 2011.

    For those of you who don't know, "the TV Movie" as it is called was a one-off attempt to revive Doctor Who in 1996 as a "back door pilot" for the Fox Network in the U.S. It was a co-production by Universal Television, BBC Worldwide Americas, and Fox.
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    Format: DVD
    As "Dark Angel" and "Firefly" fans well know, the talking heads at the FOX network have an uncanny knack for truly sticking it to the science fiction community and this mismash of eleventh-hour script rewrites is no exception. It's a glorious "What-Could-Have-Been" storyline that is brilliant in its first half, falls into incomprehensible mush for the second half, then rushes to an admittedly-satisfying ending. Visually it borrows heavily from elements of "X-Files" and "E.R.," up to and including the hospital-oriented dramatics, with a recurring theme of advancing clock hands/digital clock displays. The storyline might best be described as a fusion of Pertwee's "Spearhead From Space" and Tom Baker's "The Deadly Assassin" set in present-day San Fransisco.

    First off: Paul McGann is brilliant. He adheres to the cardinal rule of "reinvent the Doctor the way YOU think he should be played" that has worked so well for every actor before him, and we get a charming, easily-distracted romantic with a hypnotic gaze. Eric Roberts likewise brings a great combination of sadism and quirky humour to the Master. Sylvester McCoy is back on form as the Doctor's seventh incarnation as if he never left, and Daphne Ashbrook manages to steal scenes even when the script has relegated her to the familiar "stand to the side and ask 'What's it all about, Doctor?'" routine. Mention should also be made of Yee Jee Tso's very good performance as the wayward teenager who becomes an unwitting pawn in the Master's plan to regain his physical Time Lord existence.

    The TARDIS interior is unbelievable. You get the impression that this is what the series's original designers would have aimed for all along had they the budget.
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    3 Comments 121 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    Like everyone else, I'm ecstatic that this title is finally getting an official North American DVD release. One word of caution, however - the Doctor Who Restoration Team has confirmed that the main feature on the DVD was taken from the PAL master, not the NTSC master.

    What does that mean for US/Canada audiences? As the TV movie was originally shot and broadcast in North American using the NTSC standard, that means that this conversion is NTSC -> PAL -> and back to NTSC. The feature presentation will suffer from PAL-speed up, running about 4% faster than originally broadcast on Fox back in 1996. Perceptive viewers (who may have recorded this on VHS when it originally aired) will notice that everyone's voice is pitched slightly higher and that the movie runs faster (looking similar to how "time-compressed" airings of shows look on basic cable syndication).

    Most American viewers probably won't even notice the changes but they are there nonetheless and the more perceptive (or pedantic) fans will notice. Still, with that said, the extras package looks great and I can forgive the PAL speed up (I'm used to it by now, having imported the Region 2 DVD release years ago).
    4 Comments 67 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    This made-for-TV movie is a strange beast; the only episode of Doctor Who to be co-produced by Americans, it attempted (and failed) to relaunch the series for a multinational audience in 1996. Thus, many Doctor Who fans regard this movie as a weird aberration - America's lone, tacky contribution to the Doctor Who mythos, sandwiched uncomfortably between the original and relaunched British versions.

    I don't quite share that negative view of this movie, however. As an American myself, I've always wanted to see Doctor Who take off in the U.S. - and this movie remains Who's only truly significant foray into the U.S. market. Such concerns aside, I also admire the movie for its slick production values and sense of fun. To me, this is still the best-looking Doctor Who production of all time, particularly in terms of sets (huge), extras (numerous), and direction (arty-farty).

    Certainly, Matthew Jacobs' often-convoluted script needed some work; if you compare it to "Caves of Androzani" or "Midnight," you're bound to be disappointed. But I'd still rather watch this movie than, say, anything involving the Quarks or the Slitheen - if only for Paul McGann's charismatic performance as the Eighth Doctor, and his awesome TARDIS interior.

    But even for fans who hate the Doctor Who TV Movie, there should be no denying that this is a first-rate DVD package. The remastered movie itself looks and sounds great (why no Blu-ray version, I wonder?) But the real attraction is the huge array of special features. The longest is a documentary called "The Seven Year Hitch" about the movie's epic production history; though a little dry, it offers some compelling glimpses into the workings (and thought processes) of the BBC.
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