nuclear strike at the heart of the beast is our only
of survival. Because from this moment on
Earth is at war..."
(Continues from the previous week's episode)
is under threat as a alien space-craft crashes in the River Thames next to the
Houses of Parliament.
Slitheen (from the
planet Raxacoricofallapatrius) are here.
the Doctor is too.
EPISODE FIVE REVIEW Spoilers
Poking your eye out with a sharp stick hurts.
Not as much as enduring the un-endearing Russell T Davies' scripted effort,
WORLD WAR THREE.
Re-viewing the fifth episode of the NEW
SERIES was never going to be relished
but it has to be done as other eyeofhorus.org.uk regular contributors failed
to step up to the mark.
However, rather like beach combing the sands of
Cromer, within WORLD
WAR THREE there are a few interesting finds. But you have to long and
hard for them as there is more flotsam of junk parochial ideas and brick-a-brack
of ropey acting than there are fresh concepts and ideology.
So, instead of the frayed elements of the production we should highlight the
aspects that made the 45 minutes enjoyable to sit through.
There are two key elements that have resurrected
the DOCTOR WHO brand to high-art (even elevated it to the level of mainstream
cinema). Firstly, the computer generated effects and, secondly, the 'photographic direction' (in effect 'the
The MillTV has continued to surpass all expectation of long-term fans, casual
viewers and industry watchers with their stunning realisation of the unreal,
the surreal and the plain ordinary.
The Nestene Consciousness was not fantastic
but compared to the CLASSIC SERIES it
was, and excuse the phrase, 'out-of-this-world'.
In episode 2, Platform One (and the surrounding environment) was unexpectedly
awe inspiring and matched output from Paramount's STAR
TREK studios. It may have
been very subtle, the manifestation of the Gelth creatures in THE
UNQUIET DEAD was suitably effortlessly ethereal.
WAR THREE, the MillTV is tested
in creating the family Slitheen (harmonising the work of the on-set actors-in-rubber-suits)
and making them suitably menacing and very alien. It worked. The CGI'ed Slitheen
were agile yet 'weighted' (a process
that maps and coordinates an animal's muscle positioning and bone structure)
as they hunted through the corridors of power. Such diligence, care and attention
to detail is rare in television today, and can only be found in motion pictures.
Even the small detail of the aliens' eyelids blinking vertically was thoughtful,
making for the first time the most complete DOCTOR
Additional footage treatment from MillTV
added depth and reality (in this unreal world): the electrocution of the UNIT
Experts was overly violent (fantastic!), as was the 'explosion' in Mickey's kitchen;
the missile realisation was effortless.
Secondly, the reason why this NEW
SERIES of DOCTOR
WHO has been attracting
plaudits has been the work of Ernie Vincze - the Director of Photography.
WAR THREE, Vincze has little depth
to work with - it all very domestic and, even worse, primarily set in 'day' (as
opposed to 'night' as in THE UNQUIET
DEAD) on contemporary Earth. Everything shot through the lens could be terribly
flat and drained of colour (as life inevitably is.) but here London is swelteringly
vibrant and tonally mature.
Interior and Exterior shots, location and studio recordings (read: warehouse)
are seamless, which is something that the CLASSIC
SERIES failed to address.
Credit must also go to the location coordinators
for their input in securing time to film in London's Whitehall (a block down
from the 'real' Downing Street)
for the closing moments of the episode. Perhaps, once again, the words DOCTOR
and WHO garner
respect and open doors.
The approach of the NEW
SERIES Producers has been wholly professional and
focused in firstly presenting DOCTOR
WHO as a BBC TV drama (as opposed to a
children's sci-fi series) and secondly presenting the drama as mainstream family
viewing. With AOL and WW3, it
is only the content that fails to match that manifestation.
WAR THREE is a vast disappointment
which can only be measured against the fact that this (along with its predecessor,
ALIENS OF LONDON) was recorded first (in July 2004) and everyone was "finding the feet".
Things can only get better.