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Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe

4.6 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe (DVD)

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A London family flees the bombing of World War II and comes to a country estate, where two children and their mother discover a doorway to another world… but what lies on the other side is definitely not Narnia. Instead, it's a wintry forest planet on the brink of destruction, and only the infinitely clever time-and-space-traveling alien being known as the Doctor (Matt Smith) can figure out how to save it. The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe doesn't have the complex story of the last Doctor Who Christmas special, A Christmas Carol, and the Doctor coming into a family's life and making it better veers perilously close to Touched by an Angel territory--but what makes up for it is the rich creepiness of the snowbound forest and the eerie creatures who live there. As with any Steven Moffat script, the dialogue is smart and sprightly. And Matt Smith, with his deep-set eyes, gangly body, and effervescent fusion of whimsy and intelligence, continues to develop a multilayered incarnation of the Doctor that's as compelling as any that's gone before. Extras include a very peculiar look back at Doctor Who's sixth season, in which an odd mix of artists and celebrities (including alternative comedians like Reggie Watts and Eugene Mirman, Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls, magazine editors, podcast hosts, and random actresses) enthuse about their favorite aspects of the show. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Paul Kasey, Arthur Darvill, Nicholas Briggs
  • Directors: Farren Blackburn
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • 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 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006MVKMTU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,159 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on December 27, 2011
Format: DVD
Watching the modern Doctor Who one-off specials has certainly become an unexpected Christmas tradition in our home. And each Doctor brings his own spin to the holiday themed episodes. Last year Matt Smith's Doctor took on Dickens in an outer-space interpretation of "A Christmas Carol." It was frenetic and funny, managed to seamlessly blend tragedy with humor, and was emotionally satisfying without being cloying. This year, we had "The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe" (its central plot point borrows from a certain literature classic--I think you can figure out which one). This may well be the most straightforward and heartfelt Christmas special yet. Set in World War II era Britain, Smith helps a family adjusts to what promises to be a painful season by making a perfect getaway experience for the kids. However, with the best of intentions, one of the Doctor's surprises leads to unexpected dangers. The family must work together to ensure their very survival and get back home.

The special capitalizes of an eco-friendly theme as the principle aliens within the piece are not your typical beasts. They too are a race battling to live as manmade intrusions into their environment threaten their existence and livelihood. Might the Doctor and his charges be of assistance? It is Christmas after all. Or as certain annihilation looms, might it be too late for anyone to survive? This is Doctor Who after all. The show's pacing is brisk and its storyline affirms a strong message of loyalty and family. In fact, the Doctor's exposure to the widow and her children make him contemplate those that he has left behind through the course of his exploits.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
- Lily (as rocket engines fire): "What's happening?"
- the Doctor: "No idea. Do what I do. Hold tight... and pretend it's a plan."

As sublime as "A Christmas Carol" was, it would take something really special for this most recent Doctor Who Christmas Special to match, let alone top, it. I quite liked "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe" because Matt Smith is never less than entertaining. But Steven Moffat's cup of schmaltz really spills over with this episode. But, hey, it's Christmastime, a season ripe for excess, and surely Moffat can be excused for overindulging his inner sappy.

The story opens in outer space as a hostile alien warship menaces Earth. But no sooner do the invaders declare "People of Earth, you stand alone!" than the Doctor pops up to gum up the works. But, having once more saved our little ball of mud, the Time Lord plummets down and crashlands in London on Christmas Eve, 1938. In the crater developed by his forced landing, the Doctor finds himself in a bit of a bind, but he's aided by a passing housewife named Madge Arwell (Claire Skinner). The Doctor is so touched by Madge's generosity that he vows to return the favor. "How?" she asks. "I dunno," says the Doctor. "Make a wish, that usually works."

Cut now to a war-torn London three years later, and to a desolate Christmastime for Madge Arwell. Having just received a telegram informing her of her husband's death under enemy fire, she determines to keep the news from her children, Lily and Cyril, until after the holidays. She promises them: "This Christmas is going to be the best Christmas ever!" (And, at this juncture, maybe there's a collective rolling of the eyes from the audience, oh we jaded souls.
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Format: Blu-ray
The special itself was great, but everything on this Blu-Ray will also be in the eventual Series 7 box set. The only reason to buy this would be if you don't plan on getting season 7 or you just can not wait.
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I am a recent convert to the Whovian phenomena, but I am a quick study, and have acquainted myself with as many of The Doctors as I could.
This simple holiday story finds The Doctor (in his 11th incarnation played by Matt Smith) repaying an act of kindness to a recently widowed woman and her children during The Blitz of the Second World War.

Matt Smith has been a constant delight in his portrayal of The Doctor, who can go from manic delight at the embellishments he's added to an old house, such as bumper-car chairs in the sitting room to a lemonade faucet over the kitchen sink ("I know!"), to somber and poignant as he offers up to the widowed mother his reflections on just why its so important that the children be happy just before they're going to be told the sad news of their RAF Father's demise.

This special offers us a feast for the eyes, as well as a story without any true malevolence or villains. And it is genuinely haertwarming, especially the dinner scene at the end, with The Doctor shedding very heartfelt and humble tears of joy as the special comes to a close.

Now, one might wonder why to purchase this now, when it will, as other reviewers have pointed out, likely be included on the boxed set for the as of this review unaired seventh series.
The answer I can put forth is, the extras. The DVD features three "Best of..." retrospectives on the adventures of The Eleventh Doctor thus far, with a wide variety of celebrity guests explaining their love of the show, The Doctor, The Companions, and, of course, The Monsters.
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