Sunday 19 June 2011

Dr. Who: Daleks Invasion Earth 2150

There are some fans who think that The Dalek Invasion of Earth is much better than The Daleks. Personally, I don't understand why people think this. To my mind Dalek Invasion of Earth was a terribly padded and badly realised serial. I suppose because I don't have an high opinion of the original televised story, I feel that the movie Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 is able stand up against it, despite its faults.

The big advantage that Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 has over the original story is the removal of all the excessive padding. It is quite impressive how the movie offers a fast-paced recreation of the story in just ninety minutes.

Peter Cushing agreed to do a sequel to the first film only on condition that Roberta Tovey reprised her role as the young Susan. This was a good thing, as Roberta Tovey is very much the glue that holds both movies together. Both Cushing and Tovey are on top form in the sequel. Especially impressive is the way that Tovey builds a strong rapport with Andrew Keir (Wyler).

Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 introduces two new supporting characters for Dr. Who. The first is his niece, Louise Who (Jill Curzon). Curzon is much better than the instantly forgettable Jenny Linden from Dr. Who and the Daleks, but her character contributes almost nothing to the plot. The film also introduces policeman Tom Campbell, played by the legendary Bernard Cribbins. As with the casting of Curzon, Cribbins is an enormous improvement on Roy Castle, though again the part is primarily about comic relief. The resolution of his sub-plot through time travel at the end makes no logical sense, though I doubt many viewers would have cared.

The film has a light comic tone in a lot of places, some of the scenes on the saucer coming close to slapstick. The Robomen regrettably come across as comical, quite different to the frightening zombie concept of the original, however badly realised the original Robomen were. Nevertheless, the film still retains something of the grimness of the original story. It is absolutely wonderful to see Philip Madoc bringing his talent for villainy to the spiv Brockley.

It is unfortunate that the film has the same failing as the original serial in the lack of any futuristic elements. The characters dress like it is the 1960s and the buildings all look old. At least in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, there was a line about colonies on Mars.

Just like the first film, we get those wonderful coloured Daleks with the big flashing headlamps. Whatever faults the movies have, they are worth watching just for the Daleks. As I said before, I think it is wonderful that the current series paid tribute to the movies with the fab New Paradigm Daleks.

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