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Doctor Who: Invasion of the Dinosaurs

"You're the nark, aren't you? It was you wot grassed on us."

Imagine if a bunch of school kids got together and suddenly decided to remake Jurassic Park using only their toys and a Polaroid camera. That would probably still look more impressive than 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs'.

Doctor Who is legendary for its low budget special effects. This is a show that once painted a pantomime horse green and called it a sea monster. Had its hero save one of his companions from giant clams. And who can forget the Mara's true form? More often than not, it is easy to look past the dire effects and enjoy the series' other attributes. But then you get a story like ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ where the special effects are so absolutely abysmal, they make it impossible for you to see anything else. Honestly, I bet I could've done better with a pair of sock puppets.

Atrocious dinosaur effects aside, ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ isn't really that bad. Yeah, it's too long, like most six-parters, and padded out with too much tedious filler material, notably the old capture/escape/capture/escape routine. But at the same time it is another reliable story from Malcolm Hulke that makes good use of the entire cast, even Richard Franklin.

It is a bit of a shock to learn that dependable Mike Yates is part of the conspiracy and working against his friends. The events of ‘The Green Death’ have had a lasting effect on Captain Yates. They’ve given him a personality and changed Franklin into something resembling a decent actor.

Sarah is fitting in nicely. I love that thing Liz Sladen does with her voice when Sarah gets really annoyed. She does all the usual companion stuff, like wandering off and getting into trouble, but she's a more resourceful character than her predecessor. While the Doctor and the Brigadier are off chasing dinos, she's the one who manages to track down those responsible all by herself. This whole story would've been half as long if they'd stopped being so patronising and listened to her.

Notes and Quotes

--The Doctor gets a new, more futuristic car, the Whomobile.

--All colour tapes of Episode 1 were deleted by the BBC.

--This story takes place right after 'The Time Warrior' and yet Sarah's hair is much shorter. Is there a salon onboard the TARDIS?

--The Doctor says that the Vandals were 'quite decent chaps'.

The Doctor: “There's no anything. No, nothing's moving. No bicycles, no pedestrians, no cars, nothing.”
Sarah Jane: “But why?”
The Doctor: “Maybe it's Sunday. Great Britain always closes on Sundays.”

The Doctor: "Look, I understand your ideals. In many ways I sympathise with them. But this is not the way to go about it, you know. You've got no right to take away the existence of generations of people."
Captain Yates: "There's no alternative."
The Doctor: "Yes there is. Take the world that you've got and try and make something of it. It's not too late."

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: "We've got company."
The Doctor: "Good grief, it's a triceratops! Look Brigadier, try and keep it occupied while I'm finishing this off, will you?"

The Doctor: "It's not the oil and the filth and the poisonous chemicals that are the real cause of pollution, Brigadier. It's simply greed."

Two and a half out of four socks painted green.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

1 comment:

  1. I noticed on my DVD of this, that episode 1's color was off, must be from them colorizing the B&W version they still had.

    This is a good one marred as you say, by the abysmal effects. Some of the worst for a show that is indeed, well known for poor special effects. I recall reading Elisabeth Sladen's autobiography and how disappointed the cast were at how wretched the effects were.

    Yates was well served here. Between the Green Death and this one, he reaches his peak. I get why many find him rather dull (because he often is), but he can be good as he shows there and here.

    Sarah gets to be smart and brave here as usual, although she gets dismissed too much by the Doctor and others. I do love Pertwee as the Doctor, but he does get a bit too patronizing like this. It was bad enough with Jo, who seemed more like she was supposed to be naive and in need of guidance, it's far worse with Sarah Jane. It wasn't just the Doctor, but it always irks me when the Doctor should know better than to get like that. And as you say here, the story would have been shorter had they given her better respect!

    Interesting adversaries here too. I do agree with the Doctor here in that the idea of what they stand for is solid, it's the method that doesn't sit well.


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