Sunday, 30 June 2013

Invasion Of The Dinosaurs (Part Six)

Originally Broadcast 16th February 1974

Written by: Malcolm Hulke

In a nutshell: ‘The Final Phase’ is entered as the Doctor is on the run from UNIT.

Review: And here we are! Entering the final episode of Invasion Of The Dinosaurs and it’s been a pretty strong story, I have to admit I’ve been impressed with the effects, I think all the acting’s been spot on and there hasn’t been too much bad writing or directing, although most of these cliffhangers are the same, including the one we’ve just resurfaced from with the dinosaurs approaching the Doctor.

Talking of being impressed with the effects, I fear I spoke too soon, as the dinosaur fight at the opening of this episode isn’t exactly great. It’s very clear it’s two people with finger puppets and it does let down what was achieved in the previous episodes by showing too much onscreen for too long.

Back at UNIT base and the Brigadier is finally convinced of every traitor bar Yates by the Doctor. I like how the ‘extra’ UNIT Soldier doesn’t know what to do and, when told by the Brig to make tea, puts a smile on his face that says how pleased he is to do it. He’s a crazy soldier! And then Yates enters with a gun! It’s one of those ‘shocking scenes’ as Yates is fully ready to shoot one of his old friends but it gives way to a strong speech by the Doctor as he tells Yates to make the most of the planet he has.

Not the dinosaurs final moment.
This episode does feel like it’s lagging a little, it’s taken just over half the episode and we’ve not even reached the underground base yet. It all feels like, despite having five episodes to build the final up, there’s a lot of padding here until the showdown in the final few minutes. Although saying this, there are some good dinosaur effects in this part (definitely excluding the opening one). The Doctor drives underneath one dinosaur whilst later we have a Stegosaurus in the underground! The shots work quite well and I’m back to buying the dinosaurs again now. I wonder if they ever release a toy set of the third Doctor with a dinosaur, he’d look like a finger puppet? It’s certainly an interesting idea…

When I said earlier how much of this episode pads out the action until the end, I was definitely right, as we’ve reached twenty minutes before the action begins and twenty two until it’s over! I do like how all the stories tie together at just the right time. When Whitaker and Grover go to switch the lever with Whitaker’s warning, it’s brilliant as Miles shouts “he’s reversed the polarity”! The computer is extremely wobbly, making it one of the biggest over actors in this episode.

Away from this we get the ‘wind down’ as the Doctor explains away what happened. It’s a good scene with the Doctor warning us of the dangers the planet faces. This feels like it’s clearly come from Barry Letts who likes to ‘preach’ problems into the scripts in a strong and interesting manner. It’s a nice fun conclusion between the Doctor and Sarah, rounding off what I think is a pretty strong story. It definitely dips a little for part three and the final part and a half is a bit slow at times, consisting mainly of delaying the events of the finale, but it’s still great. The first two episodes are some of the finest this show has ever produced!

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