REVIEW: Doctor Who - The Moonbase
(BBC/Roadshow Entertaintment, PG)
I have to confess to be a little disappointed with this second Doctor story.
You see it comes with rather a lot of hype surrounding it because it is the second, ever, story to feature the dreaded cybermen.
It should be truly great because it was written by cybermen creator Kit Pedler, but there's really nothing to it.
The TARDIS arrives on the moon in 2070 from where Earth's tides and weather is controlled.
Over the course of the four episodes the base is invaded by cybermen, putting the Doctor (Patrick Troughton) and his assistants Polly (Anneke Wills) Ben (Michael Craze) and Jamie (Frazer Hines) in danger as well as everyone aboard the base.
When asked what the three most important parts of a production were Hitchcock once said, "the script, the script, the script".
This is where this story mainly falls down - it's predictable.
It followed shortly after first Doctor William Hartnell's last story which featured the cybermen and I can't help wondering whether it was just to soon to reintroduce them.
You can't blame The Moonbase for being 1967 science fiction, it is a product of its time, but this is a story where the set is a little wobbly.
When a cyberman climbs off a bed in one cliffhanger scene he leaves it rocking wildly, shattering any illusion the viewer might have. It shows that the bed is not a heavy piece of equipment but a plywood prop.
When that scene is repeated at the beginning of the next episode, which is animated for the DVD release because it is missing from the archives, the animator's include the rocking bed.
Put all that aside and there are some wonderful performances from Troughton, still finding his feet, and Hines.
The guest cast is pretty engaging too,
The animators have also done a good job in animating two of the four episodes, to the original soundtrack, to complete the story visually.
Had The Moonbase been a run of the mill Doctor Who story I would not have had high expectations, but this was supposed to be epic.
It's not a terribly bad story, neither is it terribly good, it's just fair to middling.
This will make the upcoming long lost The Web of Fear all the more sweeter.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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