Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Invasion Of The Dinosaurs (Part Two)

Originally Broadcast 19th January 1974

Written by: Malcolm Hulke

In a nutshell: The Brigadier and UNIT finally track down the Doctor who hatches a plan to catch a dinosaur.

Review: Given the fact Jurassic Park is now twenty years old, Invasion Of The Dinosaurs (as it’s now known) stands up pretty well in my mind. Maybe it’s my stretch of BBC imagination or maybe the dinosaurs really are good compared to what you’d expect, I don’t know. I can see they’re fake and a little rubbery, but I’m believing it and that’s fantastic! I think it must be an acting or directing thing. So far every actor has sold this convincingly and wonderfully.

We’re about thirty minutes into the serial now so it’s only fitting we get a ‘dodgy’ moment. When we meet the man from the Crusades it falls apart for a moment. James Marcus really just doesn’t do the job for me and the horrible sound effect on the time eddy just becomes irritating. It’s a small moment of naff before the Brig is reunited with the Doctor at last.

It’s surprising that, when the Brig is filling in the Doctor on the problem, we don’t have a big info dump on the audience. A lot of information is related to us, but not in a clumsy or complicated manner. I think the reason for this is Hulke’s ability as a writer teamed with Pertwee’s simple action with tea and sugar plus Benton giving us a great line about his colour coded map of London.

We get a meeting between the Doctor and General Finch which doesn’t go down too well. Pertwee is great against these authority figures, but we’ve seen as far back as Spearhead From Space how unhelpful these ‘big wigs’ can be and, most of the time, they turn out to be behind the attacks, so keep an eye out for Finch because I think he’s gonna turn nasty!

I’m hoping we don’t get answers too quickly in this story, as we’ve got six episodes to fill. I’m always a bit wary of the six-parters, as they tend to have a ‘dragging’ segment near part four. I agree with JNT when he was against them and feel it was the smartest thing he brought to his era of the show. We’re still in the second part and I feel we could go a little longer, maybe to the end of the third part, before we get developments on a big scale as the storyline is that big. The whole of London deserted because of dinosaurs! How exciting is that idea to kids? We could go for ages on just that line of adventure and nobody would care! I don’t want to get bogged down with Peter Miles’ character because that should come in the final two parts rather than here. At the moment I just want more dinosaurs and scenes of Jon Pertwee being brilliant.

Just what I was saying I don’t want to happen is occurring now. We’re getting so many answers in this episode there won’t be enough left to make the following four episodes as strong. The Doctor has pretty much told us the entire plot but the most important and surprising fact is that Captain Yates is a bad guy! I think this was a wise decision and one that was played well here by giving us a bit of background to him being manipulated in The Green Death last year. If it had been Lethbridge-Stewart or Benton I wouldn’t have believed it, yet with Yates it works.

As we near the end of episode two, there’s a brilliant line of dialogue that I think goes a but unnoticed as the Brig orders “Get over here and bring the Doctors…that thing too” meaning his sonic weapon. Teamed with his new weapon, the Doctor attempts to measure the time distortion, but it doesn’t work due to Yates’ sabotage. I can’t help feeling Yates has made it too obvious in this episode, even running to get the Doctor’s weapon for him. He’s not exactly hiding is he?

The end of this episode is basically the same as the last one but ten times more exciting! The Doctor trapped by a T-Rex! I still agree with my points on the first part of this story; it’s fantastic! Too much has been given away too early though and I do think the next few instalments are going to suffer from this, but so far this is just top notch Who from one of it’s strongest eras and I love it.

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