“It’s Volcano Day.” Where have we heard that before? Well heres the first historic story of Series 4. Does it live up to its promise? Well if I were to answer that question so early on then there’d be no point in reading this entire review. Anyway back to the story. James Moran certainly knows how to write a good Doctor Who story, but really needs to work on the dialogue. Whether its transition from script to screen worked is the real question here does it? It suffers from the same thing as Warrior’s of the Deep. Great story, not so great transition with bad acting and direction and what not.
Donna and the Doctor appear to be working well together. I seem to be the only person who loved Catherine from the moment we saw her in “Partners In Crime”. Donna does have some funny moments, especially the scene where Donna tries out her Latin on a very confused Roman merchant. But other than the start of the story, the rest of it is pretty serious.
The characters are way too one-dimensional which isn’t helped by the appalling dialogue given to the central Roman family in the story. The acting is far from spectacular with some major overacting from “Phil Davis” who plays the antagonist in this episode. I mean the merchant who says “Lovely Jubbly” I mean please let’s not turn this into Doctor Who: Rodney Meet The Romans. But to be honest I can hardly blame most of the actors for the poor dialogue. James Moran had some great ideas in the story but they don’t really shine through the bad dialogue. I think I’ve mentioned the word dialogue enough for one day.
The Syballine reminded me a lot of the “Sisterhood” in the “Brain of Morbius”. To me they seemed to alike. And the whole hand on eye thing slightly reminded me of Pan’s Labyrinth with the monster with eyes in its hands. The scene however with the water pistol was a little silly but instantly laughable. I mean what are the chances he would have a water pistol on him? How much can he fit in those pockets of his? Are they bigger on the inside that the outside, transdimensional pockets eh?
The moment when the Doctor has to decide whether to save Pompeii or the world is certainly the most compelling part of the whole story. Surely it’s obvious which one the Doctor must go and choose.
The effects and animation were brilliant, the Pyrovile’s looked stunning. But like the dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park 3” they didn’t look real enough. But the scenes of the eruption itself and the images of the whole of Pompeii in smoke were brilliant visualised and spectacular to watch. It kind of makes you wonder how they fitted the whole of this story into 45 minutes.
The ending where the Doctor saved the Roman family really went against his whole message of not changing the course of history, I mean what’s stopping him from saving a few of his favourite time-lords. However, it did make the Doctor feel more human and his conversation with Donna about him being the last of the Timelords made us feel again for this broken man.
Doctor Who has a brilliant pace in this story, with something happening all the time. It’s a fun story, but not very well thought out. 2 episodes in and still Doctor Who seems a little second rate. Third time lucky we can hope?
Series 4 Reviews – ; Partners In Crime
Doctor Who is back with a bang. Well or so we hoped? It’s a nice enough story with some wonderful acting from Catherine Tate who seems to have “grown up” since we last saw her in “The Runaway Bride” and she surely is one of the best characters in the whole story. The scenes with Donna & her grandfather “Wilfred Mott” (who is played by the charismatic, full of life, Bernard Cribbins are charming and delightful.
David Tennant returns as the Doctor once again. David effortlessly returns as the Doctor, full of the energy and ready to fight more intergalactic monsters. He might have to wait a while because the only slightly scary monster in this story is Miss Foster, played by the delightful Sarah Lancashire. Miss Foster, equipped with her own sonic pen nicely fits the bill as the villain of the story if not a bit downplayed. As “FUN” as it must be to watch intergalactic nannies do their work it just seems her character is a bit of a joke really.
There are some funny moments in the story. The fact that the Doctor and Donna miss seeing each other a dozen or so times despite being practically in the same area. What really makes the story funny is how Russell T Davies parodied the idea of how concerned Britain is with British people being obese and how people would more or less do anything to lose weight easily and without changing their lifestyle. Slim fast anyone?
The Yeti in “The Abominable Snowmen” was accused of looking too cute. So, in “the Web Of Fear” the next story with the yeti, they are spiced up a bit and looked 10x more scary. However, the aliens in our story aren’t monsters like the Yeti and as hard as you try you can’t help but want to cuddle one just like the Yeti’s. The Adipose (named after a scientific name for body fat). The moments were the Adipose suck all of the fat out of that poor fat woman could have been 10x more scary.
The adipose were never that much of a threat, and the scenes with thousands of Adipose walking around the streets of London is no “Cybermen walking down St Paul Cathedral moment”.
The moment with Rose wasn’t expected and that was a nice added scene.
The story is incredibly downplayed and way too safe. We get our cheap thrills, but where is the behind the sofa action we come to expect from Doctor Who? Do we really need to watch fat people squirming on the floor, pretending to be eaten alive by the adipose to learn a lesson? I think not. However, you can certainly point out Russell’s many influences ranging from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to Mary Poppins. A weird range none the less.
If Russell took this story a little more seriously then it could have been barrels of fun. For lightweight Doctor Who it certainly fits the bill.
Welcome aboard Catherine Tate.