Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (Doctor Who) (UK - BD RB)
Marcus finds that the Daleks have invaded Earth this time. EXTERMINATE!!
Doctor Who (Peter Cushing) is back and in this 1966 sequel, The Doctor with his companions niece Louise (Jill Curzon) and his granddaughter Susan (Roberta Tovey) as well as policeman Tom Campbell (Bernard Cribbins), find themselves in the year 2150, where those Daleks are once again causing trouble in an invasion of Earth.
I distinctly remember being a kid and seeing this one on TV. I remember thinking “I didn’t know they made a Doctor Who film” and sitting down to watch it, oblivious to its place in Who lore and the reasons I wasn’t familiar its existence. Being in a time pre-internet, these surprises used to get my inner geek going a little bit, like I’d found some lost treasure or something and the casual Who fan in me liked the discovery of this sixties family adventure, that ditches the family elements of the first film Doctor Who and the Daleks and goes for a more war time resistance approach to this Dalek threat.
From the moment that the T.A.R.D.I.S. is taken out of the equation here (man, they always do that don't they?), this film is much more akin to the Doctor Who adventure we are used to on TV. The Doctor is dropped in the middle of a pre-existing situation and because of him, the good guys can defeat the bad guys and make everything right again.
The Dalek menace is ramped up a bit in this one. Fabric is never an issue for them and they are even able to travel through water here. The Daleks surely have got their game together and this invasion, which involves brainwashing humans and an uber plan to turn the Earth into a giant spaceship and fly it to wherever the Daleks so choose, shows the Daleks in a more Doctor Who the TV series light. They even talk faster and more intensly in this outing, making them less of a lava lamp laid back group of war machines like they were in the first film.
Sadly for Daleks Invasion Earth 2150, there’s a little bit too much going on that's not all that fun to watch. Convert missions, underground resistance, a future London that looks akin to London in World War II and the shoe horned in comedy doesn’t quite cut it here, even though Bernard Cribbins is likable while doing it.
This one treads the line of family adventure and more grown up science fiction and because it caters for both areas it never feels tonally satisfying. There’s also a distinct lack of Doctor Who himself (more on that later) and while some of the Dalek stuff is successfully darker than the first film, the sense of fun vanishes as the bleak war time setting here and final stand against the invaders gets progressively more serious in tone.
The presentation here has gone through the same painstaking restoration as the first film and holds much the same great but never mind blowing results. Only made a year later than the original, the sci-fi sensibilities seem to have changed to a more modern look already. Colours are much more muted, fake looking sets are replaced by more easy to believe locations and big chunks of the film are actually shot in the real world, unlike the first film’s set based approach. Edges are often quite soft with a bit more blurring when it comes to effects with miniatures. Also with more location shooting in natural light there’s a higher level of grain throughout the film and gives everything a much more textured appearance.
Don’t get me wrong, this restoration is impressive on a technical level and this HD release can look pretty fantastic but there’s only so far the source material can take us on this one.
Again, like the first film, the dialogue here is super crisp and as a step up there’s more going on with the ambience of the film, thanks largely to the location shooting. Sci-fi sound effects are used to better results here and really make the Dalek presence feel other worldly against the World War II reminiscent plot. Also the odd explosion reaches out beyond the limiations of the small rather confined track but theres not much in the way of excitment with the track overall.
‘Restoration Featurette’ (07:11 HD) explains the grainy image and how it’s built in with Techniscope filmstock used for the film.
The interview with Bernard Cribbins (04:02 HD) is short and sweet and he mostly about working with Peter Cushing.
The ‘Interview with Gareth Evans’ (04:08 HD) talks of the success of the first film and how the crew, the production time and the entire making of the film was largely handled in the same way. Also he explains that Peter Cushing was ill during the shoot and gives us the reason why Doctor Who Isn't in it as quite as much as you'd expect. Also he covers just how much this sequel under performed at the box office due to very heavy critical panning. He also reveals how a third film nearly happened in the seventies but times had changed and it didn’t seem a financial risk worth taking.
Last up , and like the first film, there’s a stills gallery and the trailer.
Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 is almost a perfect lazy Sunday afternoon film to watch. It’s not all that great a watch overall but it’s essentially a war film with a sci fi twist to keep the kids entertained, if they are open minded enough to watch movie from the 60s with a rather more laid back Doctor Who than they are perhaps used to that is. I remember liking this one more than I did on this re-watch and I have to admit I got a little tired of the plot before it ran its course. I missed the more innocent approach to the first film that genuinely took us on a quaint adventure with the Non-Doctor, rather than some bleak war torn surival mission through a future London - but hey, at least they mixed it up a little bit for this sequel.
The disc has another solid restoration with some great results that do the film a service but still feels lacking when compared to a modern film’s Blu-ray presentation but as with the first film, has a good set of features to bulk out your knowledge of the film, even if this time out it’s considerably less than is what is available on the first film.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable for all
Release Date: 27th May 2013
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: LPCM 2.0 English
Extras: Featurette, Interviews, Stills Gallery, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Gordon Flemyng
Cast: Peter Cushing, Bernard Cribbins, ROberta Tovey, Jill Curzon
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy and Sci-Fi
Length: 84 minutes
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