Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Review: (Guest Post!) Doctor Who - Day of the Doctor

World of Blackout Film Review

Hello. This is a guest-review from my friend, brother and geek-counsel, Porle. He loves Doctor Who in the same way I love Star Wars; a fact that I adore more than I can explain, and is the source of frequent cross-franchise conversations on merchandising, continuity and overall canon.
Although I've jotted down my own civilian pov on the 50th Anniversary special, Porle is far more qualified than I am to cast ultimate judgement over it, and since reading the review he submitted to me, I now regret using the term Whovian in my own piece. I'm sure he'll wreak his revenge by insisting to his friends that I am a Star Warrior at some point in the future…

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor 3D Poster

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor
Cert: PG / 75 mins / Dir. Nick Hurran

It's been quite the year for us 'Doctor Who' fans - (we are not 'Whovians' despite what Bill Turnbull or any other news presenter has told you) - and a "year of treats" (©Moffat, 2013) can mean a hurricane-like storm of hype followed by a catastrophically flat anti-climax. Don't get me wrong, Steven Moffat is a very clever writer, but until this point, his tenure as Executive Producer of Who has been a rocky time as far as my personal feelings towards the show are concerned. Having consumed Season Six with absolute apathy, my heart was heavy at the prospect of this man being at the helm for the explosive 50th Anniversary episode.

Not only was there Moffat's potential cavalier changes to canon to consider, but previous anniversary episodes of Doctor Who have been less than a success. The Five Doctors in 1983 was a total let down to ten year old me as five Doctors meant five Doctors. Not three official Doctors, a man dressed as the first Doctor and some old footage from a shelved episode replacing the fourth Doctor.

And then there was 1993 in Albert Square...
No. I'll leave it there. It's too painful.

So, it was with justified trepidation that I consumed the hype-machine in 2013. Moffat brought Who back on track with Season Seven, ending in April this year with an episode featuring (briefly) appearances by past Doctors. Or at least, images of people dressed as previous Doctors, (there's a pattern here), but done quite successfully none the less. My excitement therefore, began to build. So the question trending in all corners of the internet was; "Who is John Hurt?"

For months we debated and discussed. We waded through Mr Moffat's false internet forum trails and then it happened. Thursday 14th November - The Night of the Doctor burst onto the internet revealing... Paul McGann! Eight glorious minutes of the Eighth Doctor regenerating into John Hurt! I punched the air and cheered like a fangirl when I viewed this for the first time. Not only did we know that John Hurt was The War Doctor but we had the missing regeneration from McGann that we'd waited 17 years for! If Moffat was beside me at that moment, I'd have kissed him. I was now full of faith for The Day of the Doctor. I'd been re-assured that canon and the Whoniverse were indeed in safe hands.

I wasn't disappointed.

From the original theme music at the beginning to a gloriously dramatic and touching ending, I sat entranced. For once, it wasn't like homework. The plot unravelled naturally and at a decent pace never once causing me to question what was occurring on-screen. Or was that the gin? Nods to the past were subtly inter-woven without fawning to itself or approaching the self-congratulatory. Nor were they intrusive to any non-Who fan who was watching. You either got it or you didn't. The plot didn't rely on it. I was a little disappointed with the Zygons. Not seen on Doctor Who since 1975, I was ecstatic that they were making a return. And they did. And then they just seemed to vanish... Ah well. There's only so much you can fit into 75 minutes I suppose. Let's not quibble.

The Tennant-Hurt-Smith dynamic worked really well without seeming contrived, the usual, "you've had the place re-decorated haven't you - I don't like it" line from a previous Doctor to the current was in there too. All boxes ticked. Moffat had said many times that TDOTD would be the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. It's time for a new era of 'Doctor Who', which is required if the show it to have continued success. But what would that be? well the answer was delivered in a way that we'd hoped but didn't ever think would happen. Tom Baker - famous for his rejection to invites of multi-Doctor stories - was there. Talking to Matt Smith. Wait...is that a tear?
No, something in my eye I think.

Mr Moffat - you did us proud.

Now, is anyone doing anything for the Blake's 7 50th in 2018...?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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