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Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. Remastered Review

Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull gives his verdict on the remastered edition of the 2nd Peter Cushing movie.

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Film review

After the mixed marvel that was Dr. Who and the Daleks, the adventures of the dotty and grandfatherly Dr. Who continued with an apocalyptical yarn that brought back the notorious multicoloured menaces: the Daleks. The scope was grander than the first and our characters covered much more ground. Unlike the Daleks in Dr. Who and the Daleks, who were confined to their august lair, the tinny terrors are out and about, stalking the streets of London, primed to kill or worse, convert civilians into their own henchmen, Robomen. With the gang unable to get into Tardis, our intrepid foursome must venture across England in order to stop the Daleks’ ultimate invasion.

Daleks-Invasion-Earth-2150-AD-dvd-2013Much like his prominent role in modern Who, Bernard Cribbins is the true scene-stealer, pilfering the spotlight from the congenial Peter Cushing. He enters the story as bungling copper, Tom Campbell who just failed to stop a jewellery store robbery. Tom doesn’t quite handle Tardis’ bigger-on-the-inside architecture and promptly faints (not the most reassuring introduction considering he’s our muscle). Occasionally his inept manner grows tiresome but because I adore Bernard Cribbins, it is hard to dislike him. Jill Curzon stars as Jennie Linden’s (Barbara in Dr. Who and the Daleks) replacement, Dr. Who’s niece, Louise and does it serviceably whilst Roberta Tovey is slightly more annoying than the last movie (and I liked her in it) and her child genius persona is toned down. I’m rather crestfallen about this because as I said in my last review, I found Tovey’s Susan to be much more personable than the precocious teen of the TV series.
The Daleks are a much larger threat here and the death count is loftier; they are scarier and more menacing than in Dr. Who and the Daleks. They kill off sundry civilians onscreen and have their own mining facility where they have enslaved hundreds of humans to work. It’s a grim future for humankind; Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. is quite the lovechild of War of the Worlds and Independence Day.

The music is overwhelming for the ears, booming through every scene but I find, when it is used appropriately then it really adds to the atmosphere (an example would be the introductory shot of the Daleks’ mine). Barry Gray and Bill McGuffie’s score isn’t as nuanced or good as anything Murray Gold (of the revived series) could produce but it’s fine for the age it was made in. Out of the two Dalek movies being remastered, this was the film I was most looking forward to. Juxtaposed with the Dr. Who and the Daleks, Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. is much bigger (a heftier budget was given) in terms of scale and scope with brighter scenes and more locations to look at. The colours now look wonderful in their high-definition form, and as ever, the Daleks here are radiant in their many shades.

Verdict: 8/10

Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. is better than the first because of its broader dimensions, and Bernard Cribbins and Peter Cushing are outstanding but it feels far too similar to the canon story it is based on: The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Dr. Who and the Daleks had a distinctly original feel to it (e.g. the Doctor being changed to a human named Dr. Who) and that sense is lost in this unoriginal but enjoyable sequel.

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Extras review

Restoring Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.

The same ‘special feature’ of Dr. Who and the Daleks returns to haunt us, this time covering the restoration process of the sequel. Those who were interviewed in Restoring Dr. Who and the Daleks return and for the second time round they are slightly more interesting. The technical jargon comes into play late into it and then they completely lose the viewer’s interest.

Verdict: 4.5/10

Restoring Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. is faintly more intriguing than it’s predecessor but still arcane at that.

Interview with Bernard Cribbins.

Whenever I saw Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott in Doctor Who, I would always smile at his jocular mood and genuinely funny jokes. Cribbins seemed like a lovely man outside of the show, and so I was delighted to find an interview with him regarding his appearance in the second Amicus Productions movie on the ‘extras’ menu. He recalls fond memories of life on set with Dr. Who himself, Peter Cushing and tells a tale that is truly rib-tickling. Let’s just say, Australian Daleks are an amusing oddity. You may also be interested to know that Cribbins auditioned for the role of the Fourth Doctor (one that was later nabbed by Tom Baker) and he remembers the interview with Barry Letts [a long-time producer on Doctor Who].

Verdict: 9/10

This talk with Bernard Cribbins proved to me that he is both a gent on and off-screen as he recollects director Gordon Flemyng’s growling, behind-the-scenes antics with Peter Cushing, and the Dalek from Oz.

Interview with Gareth Owen.

Yes, he’s back!

Gareth Owen, creator of The Shepperton Story returns with another interview that is luckily more insightful than Owen’s first. He guides us through the writing/filming/financial procedures that occurred on the film backstage, not giving his own views whatsoever (you could compare him to an interactive information outlet now seen in most museums).

Verdict: 5/10

This interview with Gareth Owen is as irrelevant as the first with only a couple of spiels actually worth listening to.

“Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.” is out on DVD and Blu-Ray on 27th May 2013.

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