Saturday, 8 September 2012

KKLAK! (A Dinosaurs... Review)

Kklak! That's the noise Pterodons make, in case you're wondering - at least according to Chris Achilleos' original cover art for the Target novelisation of The Invasion of the Dinosaurs...
Yes, I toyed with 'Jurassic Lark', 'Jurassic Dark' and then 'Jurassic Ark', but thought they'd all be a bit too obvious.
So New Who finally does dinosaurs - and does them very well indeed. Those ghosts I mentioned in the last post have certainly been put to rest. Of course, having the creatures in a contemporary setting was never going to happen - due  to the 1974 story and the recent 'Primeval' series. Moffat, rather than Chibnall, elected to put them on a spaceship.
This was a tense, exciting story which fairly rattled along. It will obviously suffer a little from having to follow last week's Dalek-fest. The wonder of Doctor Who is that every week can be something totally different - a weekly reset button. Had this been a lesser series, a big blockbuster episode would have been followed by a smaller, more intimate story. Doctor Who can just power on, week after week - if it wants to of course.

I was initially worried about the "gang" - too many characters cluttering up the storyline. By splitting the group in two, this proved not to be the case. I'd certainly like to see Riddell again, (maybe not Nefi - a bit too Liz 10) and we know Brian Williams will be back in The Power of Three. Williams pere is the new Wilf Mott - an ordinary bloke dragged into the weird and fantastical and who quickly takes it all in his stride. Nice to see his encounter with the Doctor engendered a wanderlust in him (shades of the uptight dad in 'Amelie').
Amy really does become a surrogate Doctor for her group, demonstrating everything she's observed about him. There was a chill when she talked about him maybe outliving her - foreshadowing, or red herring?
Some previews intimated that Rory didn't have a lot to do in this. It didn't feel like that. He even got a snog from the Doctor, for heaven's sake.

David Bradley played one of the nastiest villains of recent years - a heartless bastard whose only motivation is money. I'm sure kids across the country booed when he killed the Triceratops - before bursting into tears, naturally. (For me the aforesaid Triceratops was a bit of cuteness too far).
His cold-blooded, systematic destruction of the Silurian crew had him marked down for a suitable arse-kicking by the time 45 minutes were up.

Silurians - hmmm. Once again Chris Chibnall plays fast and loose with their mythology. They were the most obvious creators of the ship, but the idea of them being space-faring jars with what we already know about them. I would have preferred to have seen another ancient race - this being part of the Daemon experiment for instance.
One thing that really did annoy was the "shared gene-pool" cop out. The ship will only respond to two people with shared genes - and guess what? That was a bit of lazy plotting. Couldn't Brian have just been along for the ride?
If you're the sort of person who gives stories marks out of 5 or 10, don't judge this in relation to last week's episode (i.e. I gave that top marks but this wasn't quite so special...). Treat it on its own merits. Me? I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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