DVD Reviews

Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus
Format: Bluray
Released by: The Asylum

Staring Lorenzo Lamas, Deborah Gibson
Director: Jack Perez

Once in a lifetime, a film comes along that, despite all odds, becomes an honored and revered classic. And if science could manage to capture that essence in a bottle, and distill it into a pure essence of fantastic-ness, and then produce its total opposite, you would get this film. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to review Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.

“Listen, screw these environmentalists. When I give the order shoot to kill!”

The Plot: Secret government testing of a secret sonar something breaks the ice open in Alaska, releasing Mega Shark and Giant Octopus, who have been frozen in combat millions of years, and now are free to cause havoc in the Atlantic ocean. The Octopus attacks Japan, while the Shark attacks naval ships, bridges, and basically anything else in its way (or not in its way, such as planes at cloud deck level) . Guns don’t stop them. Bullets don’t stop them. And plot holes certainly don’t stop them.
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Doctor Who
Classic Series Review
The Seeds of Doom

Staring Tom Baker as the Doctor, Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith
Director: Douglas Camfield

Alright, I was not planning on doing another Doctor Who review for a while, but this little fella just came in the mail the other day, and to be honest I have been deriving a ton of fun from watching it over the last few days, so I felt it was worth my temporary ban to temporarily review it, temporarily, of course.

The Plot: This is a long episode, so I am going to try to keep the summary to the important points, and get on to the DVD special features as quick as I can.

At a research station in Antarctica, a group of researchers turn up a mysterious pod of unknown origins. They take it back to base, and radio back to England to share the discovery. There, two men from the world ecology bureau show 4th Doctor Tom Baker pictures of the pod. The two men think little of it, but the Doctor seems strangely worried, and insists on leaving as soon as possible to investigate. He also warns the men not to let anyone touch the pod until he arrives.

As the Doctor prepares to leave, one of the men, Richard Dunbar (played by Kenneth Gilbert) spirits away to the mansion of the flora obsessed millionaire Harrison Chase, played brilliantly by actor Tony Beckley (whom many might recognize from the 1969 film The Italian Job) Chase is fascinated with the idea of owning an extraterrestrial plant, and immediately dispatches two men to get it. They are Scorby, a thuggish but strangely eloquent mercenary, and Keeler, a nervous and ill-fated botanist. Now, why a millionaire who is obsessed with plants needs a mercenary for hire on the payroll is beyond me, but he also has a home patrolled by armed guards, so who am I to judge?

You can tell this is a serious episode. I’m wearing my serious face.

Arriving in Antarctica, the Doctor discovers one of the crew has been infected by a mysterious vine that came shooting out of the pod. The Doctor quickly identifies the pod as Krynoid, and goes out into the ice fields to find the second pod he knows must be there. While he and Sarah Jane search, Scorby and Keeler arrive and pretend to be lost. They make themselves cozy, planning on staying until their plane can leave again. While the Doctor and Sarah Jane try to deal with the crewman who is ill, Scorby and Keeler begin making plans to find, and steal, the now useless first pod.

After much running about, from bad guys and Krynoid, The Doctor and Sarah manage to narrowly avoid being blown up by Scorby and Keeler who have themselves managed to locate and steal the second pod, and escape the base leaving the Doctor for dead.

Upon arriving home, the Doctor finds himself the target of a deadly assassin (heh, Doctor Who joke) who fails to kill the Doctor, but does lead him to an eccentric old woman, who in turn leads the Doctor and Sarah to Chase. What follows is classic Who, with the inevitable Doctor vs. Madman speech, where in the Doctor explains how terrible their plan is, and the Madman (Chase) ignores the Doctor. This of course leads to the villain’s eventual downfall. Just once I wish they would listen to him. Now that would be a surprising episode. The Doctor shows up, explains how terrible their plan is, and they agree and leave. Hardly thrilling, I know, but definitely new.

In the end, the Doctor and Sarah manage to escape from killer vines and a vicious wood chipper, as well as defeat the villain, and save the world from giant, killer plants. And the episode ends with a fun Tardis misjump leading Sarah Jane into the snow in her swimsuit, and the Doctor with a pun. I’m glossing over a lot, including the Doctor’s fight scene and Sarah’s verbal jousting with Scorby, but I don’t want to give too much away. Trust me, there are a lot of great lines and fun surprises in this episode.

In my opinions this is one of the best scripts of the Tom Baker era. It contains all of the elements of what made Baker great, without skewing too far one way or the other. The plot is straight forward, but with depth and subtlety to it, and the actors take the material seriously, which is always important in an episode like this.

The Good:
This episode has all of the classic Who Elements, including, but not limited to:

1. Evil alien menace that does not appear threatening until it is too late
2. Danger only the Doctor can see, but quickly shown to others
3. Eccentric super villain with his own mad schemes
4. Nervous scientist who keep telling super villain they are insane
5. Sarah Jane trapped and screaming
6. Doctor caught in machine that might kill him
7. Exploding models
8. Mutated Humans
9. Brutal henchmen
10. UNIT soldiers

And that’s just what you’d expect. You also have a Doctor who is, in this episode, much more subdued than normally. Not we’re missing his usual quirks and goofiness, but in a lot of ways this episode reminds me of another six-parter, Genesis of the Daleks. Baker is serious and focused in the episode, and while jokes are made, you can tell how dangerous he considers the threat by how seriously he takes it. He really strikes a nice balance in this story that shows what a good actor Baker really could be.

The rest of the cast is also superb. Liz Sladen is, of course, the greatest companion ever to travel with the Doctor (sorry Adric) and does an excellent job here as well. I know I have watched classic Who with several friends who complain that all Sarah Jane does is get herself trapped so the Doctor can rescue her, and while I agree that happens a lot, there is a lot more to her character than just getting stuck. When you watch the scenes between her and Scorby, a mercenary for hire who would just as soon shoot someone than talk to them, you really get an appreciation for Sarah’s spunk and determination. She holds her own in all of her scenes, and has no problem standing up for herself.

The rest of the cast is fantastic as well, and this episode really feels like it has some major gravitas because of that. There are few moments that make one groan, and even fewer where the viewer is bored. In a word, it’s fantastic.

The Bad:
This episode does have some kind of cheesy effect for the modern audience, and yes, you can occasionally see the sets wobble in the background, but that’s really part of the charm. To keep it in perspective, pick up one of the Doctor Who DVDs that has new, redone special effects, or watch the rerelease of Star Trek with the new effects. As bad as the effects look today, with newer effects it looks even worse. Just enjoy the campy charm, and stop worrying.

Bonus features:
This DVD is so packed with extras they had to include a second disk. Not only do you get commentary on each episode, several of which include Tom Baker himself, you also get info track subtitles that reveal fun facts about each episode, a feature on the making of the episode, a special on Doctor Who comics in the 70’s, a feature on the music of the episode, and even a tour of the property used in filming. All in all you have at least 10 solid hours of quality viewing here, much with repeat watching value.

Packaging: One thing that does irk me just a bit is that occasionally in England they release special sets of the Doctor’s adventures in collectable boxes. With a feature like this, a 6 part episode with 2 full discs, it would be neat if they could have done a special edition box. As is, it is pretty standard, like the other releases, and contains no inset material, which is also disappointing.

Still, it’s a nice picture on the front, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Two disks? Amazing!

The Breakdown:
Packaging: 8/10
Story: 9/10
Commentary track: 9/10
Bonus features: 8/10
Total score: 8.5/10

The Verdict:
New, this DVD will run you about 28 bucks on Amazon. Not cheap, but at the same time well worth it. Even the casual classic Who fan will find this episode a treat. This one is definitely a buy.

Doctor Who Season 5
Complete Series Set Review

Hello all, back again, with what I promise is my last Doctor Who related review (until the Sun Makers comes out on DVD later this year 😉 ) With the upcoming airing of season 6 of the new series, I thought it would be nice to look at the previous series on Blu-Ray, and see if the quality is worth the price. Plus, I got my camera working, so this review is chocked full of interesting photos, you know, for the kids.

Let’s be honest, David Tennant was a great Doctor. I honestly do not feel any other actor has so embodied the character since Tom Baker. So Matt Smith had some pretty big hi-tops to fill.

And realistically, I think he has done the job as well as could be expected. He took a little while to grow on me, and I don’t think he was great right off the bat like some reviewers said, but he really made the part his own, and I enjoy the work he’s done with it greatly. Also, as a bowtie aficionado myself, it’s nice to see them getting a little press. 😉

The Plot:
Strange visitor from another time and place, the Doctor is a Time Lord who travels through time in a time machine, fighting time violators, and problems with time, and other time related problems…it’s all a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey…er…stuff. Sorry, kind of got away from me there.

And he’s joined by a redhead in a short skirt, and her fiancé’, well until he dies, then comes back made of plastic, as a roman…

This season is the début of new Doctor Who Doctor Matt Smith. His Doctor is supposed to be an homage to more classic Doctors like Patrick Troughton, both in actions and appearance. Apparently they let Smith have a lot of input into the character design, and on the commentary track there is time spent on discussing the look of the new Doctor.

I remember when Chris Eccleston took over, they interviewed him and he went on and on about how the Doctor should be more about the man than the outfit, which I agree with to a point, but at the same time one of the most important features of the Doctor to me is the fact that he could often dress in an unusual manner, and still command the respect of the rest of the room. Plus, his outfit always served, to me at least, as a sign of how the Doctor, while very human in many ways, is not quite like us. With Smith’s costume, you get a Doctor who is both extremely confident, and also a little unsure of himself, constantly having to remind people how cool his clothes are, yet also able to do stare down entire fleets of enemies without batting an eyelash.

And his sidekicks this go around are able to hold their own as well. His main companion is Amelia “Amy” Pond, a young woman who is able to hold her own with the Doctor. What’s nice about Amy is that she brings to the part the free spirit of companions such as Rose, with the brashness of Donna. Of course, she also has a mad attraction to the Doctor, which causes problems, and actually I think makes the character less likable. Not because of the attraction itself, I liked Martha and she was desperately in love with the Doctor, but because Amy is engaged, and it really feels like a forced story line to have Amy have to chose between which man she loves more. It’s like, the Doctor has shown no interest in her at all as anything other than a traveling buddy, while Rory gives his life for her several times in the series (timey-wimey stuff) and yet at their wedding Amy still tries to make out with the Doctor. I get that she is fun and flirty, but at some point you just want Rory to man up and find someone else.

Episode by episode:
Let’s face it, odds are that if you are a regular visitor to this site, you already have seen this series, so I’m not going to go through every episode and give each one a review. I will say that the first couple are a bit rough, and they do get better and better. I think the finale is pretty darn good, and I’m looking forward to the new series. If you need an episode by episode run down that what Wikipedia is for.

The Goods:
This box set shows what all box sets should be.

It comes with 3 postcards, a fold out cover, a slipcase with lenticular cover, a booklet of other Doctor Who merchandise to order, and the standard BBC registration card. They even put the cover vortex on the inside of the slip case! Learn this lesson well DVD producers. If you want to make money off DVD sales and not lose it all to downloads, you must start by rewarding those of us who buy the physical boxes!

Fancy fold out, with the real star of the series, Rory!

I think this is the only dvd I get to review that has articulation joints!

I will say that, while rather nicely produced, I do not quite understand why this series is on so many separate discs. With standard DVDs it makes sense, but with blue rays is seems almost wasteful. Plus, it’s kind of annoying having to get up and swap discs every couple of episodes.

Bonus features:
This is where the set gets a little odd. First, it comes with a whole bonus DVD of behind the scenes stuff, called Doctor Who Confidential, which those who watch BBC America are familiar with as commercial filler, but in England are much longer and more in depth. For some reason, on the Blu-ray these have been included, but also edited down. I’ve read a lot about this, and no one really seems to know why they have done this.

The Pandorica Opens

Secondly, only a few episodes have commentary tracks on them. However none of the included material actually lists who is doing to commentary on the episodes, so you have to watch them to find out who is talking. Even more confusing is why Matt Smith does not do commentary on any of the episodes. If Tom Baker can do commentary, Matt Smith can too!

Also, speaking of commentary, the commentary tracks are done in a rather odd way. Instead of just being a voice over, they are done In-Vision style, with the viewer getting to watch the people who are doing the reviews watching the episode and doing the reviews. I honestly have no idea why they did things like this. I can understand if they wanted to make is a bonus feature on a few episodes with the stars of the show, but do we really need to see production managers watching TV in a box that covers the entire left hand corner of the screen? Plus, the in-vision is shot in regular def, not HD, so the whole time I was watching it I was slightly annoyed by how blurry the image was. Not blurry enough to ruin it, but enough to be irritating compared to the Blu-ray.

In addition to this stuff, there are two added scenes that are included in the set that go between episodes, which are a nice bonus feature. I won’t reveal what happens, but I will say that classic who fans will enjoy the second one, and kids will need it explained.

What an odd outfit. Is that a fez?

The Breakdown:
Packaging: 10/10
Series: 8/10
Commentary track: 6/10 Sorry, but no Matt Smith and annoying windows add nothing to the experience.
Bonus features: 8/10
Total score: 8/10

So, what to do? Well, I’m calling this one a buy, even at the Blu-ray level. First, it does not cost a heck of a lot more, and second, this is sci-fi, the place where good special effects are supposed to thrive. The series is beautiful in HD and should always be watched that way. But it would be nice if they could put them all on one disc, and fix the commentary issues.

Man From Earth

Director: Richard Schenkman
Running Time: 87 minutes
Studio: Anchor Bay
Starring: David Lee Smith,
John Billingsley, William Katt,
Ellen Crawford, and Tony Todd
Year released: 2007

What do you get when you combine a cast of second string nobodies with a 200,000 dollar budget, a director whose best know work is the abysmal Divas Christmas Carol, and the author of one of the most well know Star Trek stories of all time? Why, you get The Man from Earth of course, a film which in its 87 minute, special effects free, running time does a better job at being compelling science fiction than anything that George Lucas has put out since Empire.

I want to be kind of careful with this one. I really like this movie and do not want to spoil some of the surprises, so just be forewarned that there are some spoilers here. You have been warned!

The Plot:
Professor John Oldman (his name is a bad pun, you’ll see) is leaving his job at the university and moving away. Before he can go, however, a group of his friends surprise him with a small going away gathering. The cast is composed of a group of real second string actors, including Dr. Phlox, the Candyman, and the Jump-to-Conclusions guy from Office Space, which is must say is impressive, because each of them gives a performance worthy of top billing. It just goes to show what happens when you have really strong material to work with what you can get.

As I was saying, John’s friends join together to throw him a party, and in the course of their discussion John begins asking a strange series of questions about Human DNA and the aging process. At first his friends play along, but then begin to grow rather perplexed as to why John is asking about this. Eventually he makes a decision and reveals that he is actually a prehistoric man who has lived for over 14,000 years.

His friend, of course, do not believe him, but as he begins weaving his tale together for them more and more they find themselves getting sucked in, despite the fact that what he says is impossible. And before too long they increasingly find themselves believing what he is saying.

The tales takes a few twists and turns from there, with John revealing some things that upset more than a few people (Hint: it’s connected to the Bible, and John’s connection to one of its important players) and eventually John tells everyone that he was just making up the story and sends them all home. Some people think he’s crazy, and some think he was telling the truth. I won’t tell you which of his friends were right, but I will tell you this: you will get a solid answer before the film ends.

The Review:
What’s the deal with this film?

The story of how this movie was made is almost as interesting as the film itself. The script was written by Jerome Bixby, the same guy who wrote the famous Mirror, Mirror episode of Star Trek (remember evil Spock? This guy wrote that) The script itself was begun in the 1960’s, but wasn’t completed for years after, and was eventually finished by Bixby on his deathbed (I’m not sure if he actually finished it there, but that’s what all the taglines say, so who am I to question?)

Despite this high pedigree script, the film seemed doomed to flop. A small budget, no special effects, hardly any theatrical run, and a cast whose lead actor doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry doesn’t really sound like a winning formula.

And yet? Well, in a strange twist of fate, this film was pirated on the internet. I know, I know, every film is pirated on the internet, but this time instead of the studio going after the pirates, they encouraged it!

Yep, you see, the producers of the film could have been pissed that their only chance at making any money off this film was being taken away from them by internet pirates. However, instead of lashing out, producer Eric Wilkinson actually thanked the pirates for getting the word out about the film. And it worked. The film became a cult classic in a very short period of time, and has gotten a heck of a lot more attention than probably anyone connected with the film expected. It’s even up for a Saturn Award!

The Specs:
Just so we are clear, as much as I love or hate a movie, what matters most to me as a consumer is whether or not the DVD is worth it. With that in mind, we shall begin!

Packaging: I’m kind of disappointed by the box here. It’s just too slick and shiny for the film it contains. Not that I don’t understand it, mind you. I doubt your average DVD shopper was going to pick this film up if the box just showed a bunch of people sitting around a fire place, but still, something doesn’t feel right about it. The movie spends all of its time trying to give a logical and realistic view of what it would be like to live as long as John did, and then they slap a big old alien laser light outline on the cover.

The box itself has a slipcover, which I do like, even though it’s the same image as the dvd cover. The slipcover does serve to mute the effect somewhat though.

Inside the case you get the DVD with the same image on it, and a chapter insert card. I really like it when DVD’s include this. I always feel a bit disappointed when I open up a case and there is nothing there. Putting in a little card with the chapters and some additional artwork not only makes the box a bit nicer, it also shows that the people who put this film together actually care about it and are not just slapping it out in a rush for the money. It also shows a commitment to the fans that they take the time to spruce it up a bit before they put it on the shelves.

Bonus Features:
First off, we have 2 commentary tracks here, one featuring the Richard Shenkman and actor John Billingsley, the other with the author’s son Emerson Bixby and sci-fi scholar Gary Westfahl. Both tracks will amuse, as well as give interesting insight into the process of making this film. What is nice to hear is just how much genuine love went into making this movie, and how much it meant to Bixby to get his father’s last work onto the screen. What would have been nice is getting a track with just the actors, or one that included David Lee Smith, but for a movie like this we’re lucky to get anything bonus at all.

I’ll freely admit I am a DVD commentary nut, and I’ve passed on buying some DVDs of movies I love simply because there is no track included. To me, it really shows a lack of interest in their work or lack of commitment to a project when the director doesn’t take the time to sit down after the movie is made and kind of talk the audience through their film. I also like it when the actors sit down too and talk about what is was like making the movies.

I know a lot of people who have tried to make their own films and write their own scripts, and a lot of them use DVD commentary tracks as a kind of low budget film school to help figure out how to do certain things like trim dialogue and shoot angles. It shows a nice commitment to the craft when the people involved with the films are able to help others who are interested in this profession by offering insight in this way.

The DVD also includes 4 (very) short behind the scenes featurettes about the making of the film. With a low budget film like this it’s not surprising that all four are very short, but they do offer some good insight into the process for those interested in film making, including how to deal with both a location that doesn’t have a bathroom, and with a dirt bike track next to your set. There is also a nice feature on how the script came together, and on the sci-fi street cred of the author, and the actors involved in the project.

Score Recap:
Packaging: 7/10
Film: 9/10
Commentary Track: 8/10
Bonus features: 7/10
Total Score: 8/10

My Recommendation: This one is a definite buy. The movie is great, and the special features are a nice addition to a rather lo budget film. Anchor Bay does a nice job with this type of film, and the box shows their usual level of care. Plus, and I cannot stress this enough, this is good science fiction in the vein of classic Twilight Zone type productions. No special effects, no flashy gloss, just a realistic conversation full of intriguing possibility. This is what good sci-fi is supposed to be. If fans of good sci-fi don’t support films like this, then they have no right to complain when studios throw big budget flash and bang at us and call it a movie (cough, cough, Transformers 2, cough).

Hello all, I’m Rob, inaugural column and all, very exciting! What I’d like to do with these is to offer reviews of sci-fi movies, released on DVD for fans of the site who might want to consider buying them, but don’t know if they are worth the value, in the same way the Newt and his crew review toys and other pop culture paraphernalia. While I will occasionally review newer DVDs, I also want to give some love to older, less known movies that the casual watcher may not be familiar with. My rating system will break the DVDs down into 3 categories: Skip it, Watch but don’t buy, or Pick it up now.

So here we go! My first review 🙂

Doctor Who
The Movie
Special Edition

What’s that, you say? A New Doctor who movie! Does this contain the death of beloved, bow-tie wearing Matt Smith all ready? Has the series been restarted once again?

Let me explain.

New Doctor Who fans might be confused by this release, especially American fans for whom Doctor Who is only recently exploding in popularity. Sure, a portion of American Who fans have seen some of the older Who episodes, and for most of them images of the scarf bedecked 4th Doctor Tom Baker, or celery garnished 5th Doctor Peter Davidson may be as familiar as leather clad Chris Eccleston or besneakered David Tennant, but even the most dedicated new American Who fan has probably never seen, let alone heard of Paul McGann, other than in quick flashes in a few New Who episodes, and as a bonus figure in the 11 Doctors’ toy pack.

So what’s the deal with this film?

This movie is a perfect example of why Doctor Who is, and always should be, a British institution. In the mid 90’s Doctor Who had fallen on rough times. Incomprehensible plotline and poor budgets lead to the series ending in 1989. Who fans were crestfallen, although it did mean that a lot of really bad story ideas were kept from ever seeing the light of day.

And so the series was in limbo, until 1996 when the BBC decided to team up with hip, American TV network Fox to produce a back door pilot for a new, joint US/Britain Doctor Who series to be shown on Fox and the BBC. A noble idea, and one that could have worked, if the BBC had more control over it, and Fox never came near it.

The Plot:
The 7th doctor, Sylvester McCoy, is summoned to the Dalek home world of Skaro to pick up the remains of his old foe The Master, who has been sentenced to death by the Daleks. The Doctor, travelling in a TARDIS whose revamped interior looks more like a steam punk wet dream than the hodgepodge control rooms new fans know today, gathers up the remains of his old foe inside a small box, which he locks with his sonic screw driver, and goes off to read a copy of The Time Machine, whilst munching on some Gummi Jelly Babies.

While in mid flight, the Master, now a transparent CGI snake, breaks free of the box, and gets into the TARDIS’ controls, forcing it to crash land in San Francisco, smack dab in the middle of an Asian gang war. Upon walking outside of the TARDIS to investigate what happened, the Doctor takes several bullets to the chest, and collapses on the ground.

Not the most dignified of Doctor Who deaths, you say? Hang on, it gets worse. The Doctor is rushed to a hospital where beautiful Doctor Grace Holloway, who has rushed from an opera performance in a low cut dress that would have made Peri Brown proud, attempts to save his life. Now, why call in a cardiologist to help a gunshot victim? Because he has two hearts of course, and since no one knows this until later, Grace botches the surgery, and the Doctor dies thrashing on the table to a wonderful opera sound track.

Later, his regeneration delayed by the anesthetic, the Doctor emerges from the morgue as the 8th Doctor Paul McGann, whose memory has been lost due to the long regeneration time. Stumbling around the hospital, he manages to find a Wild Bill Hitchcock costume, bond with Grace, and then run afoul of the new Master, played by Eric Roberts. Yep, old sneaky snake slid down the throat of Eric Roberts and took over his rapidly decaying body, hoping to capture the Doctor and steal his remaining regenerations for himself.

What follows is a nonsensical romp through San Fran, with the Master infiltrating the TARDIS and the mind of the young Asian street punk Chang Lee, who helps the Master in return for not killing him, er, I mean, for bags of gold dust, er, I mean, because they’re friends. Yeah, not real clear on why these two team up in the first place. Eventually the Doctor is captured by the Master, who, having discover that the Doctor is half human (yep, that was part of the plot) uses Chang and Grace to open the Eye of Harmony, the black hole at the center of Gallifrey that has, for unexplained reasons, been placed inside the Doctor’s TARDIS. Chang and Grace are killed, but the Doctor manages to escape and force the Master into the black hole, destroying him for now. Then, for reasons that no one can explain, Grace and Chang are brought back to life, and they leave the TARDIS, and the Doctor, who fails to tempt Grace to stay with him, leaves Earth, while listening to music and finishing reading the book his last incarnation had started.

The Review:
This film is, in a word, a mess. Not that it doesn’t try hard to pull it together, but it just has too much going on to make it really worthwhile. The problem is it tries too hard to try to connect to too many people. For fans of the old Who, it tried to drop in too many little bits and pieces of the classic show to try to show its street cred. But at a certain point you stop caring how many sly references they make to Tom Baker, and start wondering if they know anything of substance about the actual show itself. The fact that Skaro is still around (it was destroyed in Remembrance of the Daleks), the Eye of Harmony is in the TARDIS ( It was under the capital on Gallifrey. Apparently the Time Lords just gave it to the Doctor, a disgraced Time Lord, to power his outdated TARDIS with?) the Doctor is half human (on his mother’s side) and the Master is a goo spitting baddie in a big leather coat and sunglasses (who goes from menacing foe to campy diva) and you get a film that really just kills it for classic fans.

New Who fan will also be confused by this film. Especially because those fans who have seen Doctor Who rebooted correctly, and John Simms play a fantastic new Master to make any Whovian proud will not understand how the directors got this film so wrong. Plus, even new Who fans with little classic knowledge of the show will be confused by the inconsistency of the film, and by the several elements that just do not seem to belong.

Bonus Features:
This is a special edition re-release, although for US fans this is the only release. Fox and the BBC argued for years about distribution rights, meaning that only British fans could buy the original DVD release, and US fans had to pirate it off the internet, or get a region free DVD player like me.

To be fair, this DVD is chocked full of bonus material, including 2 commentary tracks, one by director Geoffrey Sax, and one featuring Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy, moderated by Nicolas Briggs. Why Briggs? Because in a movie where you barely mention the Daleks, you want the guy who voiced them to have his say.

This DVD also includes several documentaries, although most are rather short. There is a brief tour of the new TARDIS, chocked full of throw away hidden features that show that the producers did their research into what was in the show, but not what actually made the show work.

The one feature that is worth watching is the The Doctor’s Strange Love, where a group of fans and writers sit around and chat about the show for 15 minutes. They do address some of the problems with the film, but in the end they all love it, even though they raise some serious problems with the episode, including the fact that it ends on such a strange point no one knew where the story would go from there.

Score Recap:
Package: 5/10 (it’s shiny)
Film itself: 2/10
Commentary tracks: 7/10
Bonus features: 6/10
Total Score: 4/10 (yes I rounded down, it deserves it)

My Recommendation: Watch it. What!? I know what you’re thinking, but if you really call yourself a true Who fan you have to pay your dues and watch this film, if for no other reason than the fact that if Davies ever gets focused enough to do a movie over the Time Lord/ Dalek Time War McGann is going to be in it, and you need to know some things about the guy. Plus, if it is any consolation, McGann’s doctor is not bad, he’s just trapped in a bad movie.

The casual fan will probably want to skip this, and I do not recommend buying this unless, like me, you enjoy forcing your friends to watch old Doctor Who episodes to MST3K them together.