Monday, April 23, 2007

"my planet's got no magnetic core!" "how do you pilot it around then?" "bedfordshire!"

Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 AD (1966)

Dir: Gordon Flemyng

Peter Cushing (Dr Who), Bernard Cribbins (Tom Campbell), Ray Brooks (David), Andrew Keir (Wylen), Roberta Tovey (Susan), Jill Curzon (Louise)

The Daleks second foray onto the big screen 'Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD' has the kinda title that gives even the most casual viewer some idea of what to expect (although the Daleks vs. the grumpy tramps might be a more appropriate title, feature as it does the greatest collection of flea market suits this side of an Oxfam opening). The bright colours and fun feel of the first movie give way to an altogether more gritty film, a sort of junior 'Escape from New York' with Bernard Cribbins in the Kurt Russell role(albeit wearing black, wet-look PVC).

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A Dalek spaceship yesterday.

Beginning with a fabulous pre-credits teaser that would do Bond proud in which Cribbins (as hapless copper Tom Campbell) is bonked on the head by a gang of ruthless clock thieves before stumbling into the TARDIS after mistaking it for a real police box. Before you can say 'Right said Fred' he's been whizzed away into a future London by our old friends Doctor Who and Susan, this time aided by sultry Louise (the raven haired Jill Curzon). On leaving the TARDIS all manner of exciting things begin to happen, from flying saucers over Sloane's Square to Louise being kidnapped by a flat capped grumpy Scotsman. With the help of Ray (Mister Benn) Brooks, Doctor Who discovers that the Daleks have been kidnapping the fittest men in the country and, after scary brainwashing techniques involving stand-up hairdryers, dressing them in tight PVC jumpsuits and leather boots to use as 'slaves'. Not content with this vaguely homo-erotic course of action, the Daleks are also digging a big hole in Bedfordshire with the idea of removing Earths magnetic core and piloting the planet around like a big spaceship. So it's up to Doctor Who, the grumpy Scotsman, Mr. Benn, the Womble-voiced Cribbins and all the survivors the Daleks obviously didn't fancy to gang together and stop this frankly terrifying plan before it's too late.

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"Bugger me Bernard! It's a wasp!"

The film boasts some genuinely great effects including a fabulously designed Dalek Spaceship flying menacingly over a devastated London and some super forced perspective sets, especially those at the saucers landing area. The battle scenes between the survivors and the Daleks are well choreographed and visually exciting and the whole movie has a kind of 'epic' quality to it, only marred by some misplaced hi-jinx from Cribbins. Whilst the comedy in the first movie is quite sweetly done, here it seems to jar against the overall seriousness of the plot, especially the Roboman meal scene, which cheapens the otherwise genuinely chilling concept behind these Dalek slaves. A scene late on in the film, where one of the workers tries to reason with his robotised brother before being cruelly murdered by him, has its impact slightly lessened by the earlier antics of Bernard Cribbins scoffing dolly mixtures with his funny robot pals to a samba beat.

The guest cast are uniformly great, with a special mention to Andrew Keir's afore mentioned grumpy Scotsman, Ray Brook's 'boy with the knack' and Philip Madoc's nasty black marketer, who meets his grisly end in a garden shed blown to pieces by around twenty Daleks.

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"I'll drink you under the table mate."

'Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD' is by far the more accomplished film, although the fact that it made less money than its predecessor curtailed any plans Subotsky had for further big screen Doctor Who adventures, which is sad really, as judging by his efforts here, the results could have only got better and better. Often seen by fans as either embarrassing relatives of the series, or seldom mentioned curio's, the two sixties feature films offer a wealth of enjoyment to be had and a glimpse, for those too young to remember, of 'Dalekmania' at it's height.

1 comment:

Traveller28 said...

Such a great movie and it inspired this photoshoot Linds posed for a couple of years ago...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/trav28/11544488804/in/album-72157638473289876/