Monday, 27 September 2021

Evil of the Daleks - an animated review

The animated The Evil of the Daleks was released today, and I have just watched it, along with its Extras. The 3 disc set comprises the B&W version (with the option to watch the surviving Episode Two in place of the animated one) or the colour version, with the third dis containing bonus material.
I elected to watch Disc 2 - the colour version.
Compared to the abomination which was the animated The Web of Fear Part Three, this reverts to good old fashioned 2D work. The animation is fine, with some goof likenesses - though the quality is nowhere near as good as the special edition of the other Troughton Dalek story. Figures are slightly more basic.
I spotted a couple of Easter Eggs, though more may have slipped past. The ones I saw were an image of Maaga (from Galaxy 4, the next story to be animated) on a poster in Episode One; candlesticks shaped like Weeping Angels in Maxtible's sitting room; and the names of Doctor actors on some heraldic shields (Baker, Eccleston and Whitaker). These latter were rather prominent, so very easy to spot.
The daytime sequences in Maxtible's home are over-lit and somewhat gaudy - though that was the mid-Victorian style after all. Much more atmospheric are the scenes of Jamie's mission to rescue Victoria, along with Kemel, in the darkened, candle-lit parts of the house. The sequences on Skaro, are also most effective, with the exterior bathed in reddish light, whilst the interior of the city is lit a cold blue colour.
The Daleks don't bother with bright light, as they seem to use their eye-stalks as torches.
One change which I felt was quite unnecessary was the very last scene. In the original TV broadcast, it is a light in the body of the Emperor which gives a sign that they might survive, but the animation has one of those eyestalk torches light up on an ordinary Dalek. A stupid and pointless change, especially when you consider that Tim Combe specifically refers to this scene in the story's "Making Of" documentary. This doc is called "The Dalek Factor", and interviews a number of people involved with the production at its Grims Dyke House location, including Combe, Frazer Hines and the daughter of director Derek Martinus. There is also a 15 minute interview with Chris Thompson, who was the designer on the show. The VFX footage known as "The Last Dalek" is included. This had appeared on several earlier Troughton DVDs as an extra. The TV version of the Dalek city does not match the animated version.
One other extra worth mentioning is the audiobook of the story, as read by Tom Baker back in the 1990's.
As for the story itself, I still think there's too much padding in the middle, with the characters of Ruth, Arthur, Mollie and Toby all surplus to requirements. I also suspect that the climactic battle scenes would have been a bit of an anti-climax - every time Louis Marx toy Daleks have been used in the series, they have looked like Louis Marx toy Daleks.
This release means that there are now only two stories from Season 4 not on DVD - the two historical stories.

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