Dr. Who and the Daleks - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dr. Who and the Daleks Reviews

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August 20, 2011
Non-canonical big screen version of Dr. Who. This is essentially a remake of the original story that introduced the Daleks on the series. There are many differences, most notably that the title character is not a time lord, just a crackpot old inventor. Ultimately, the original TV version is better, but this is still worth a look.
April 13, 2011
I could see how this was probably better as a TV serial. Mostly fun, though. Wish someone would have come up with an alternative to all those long literally monotonous scenes of the Daleks spouting robotic exposition, for sure.
April 10, 2011
Fun and light. Beautiful color pops and story moves quickly! Entertaining and free right now on Hulu.
½ February 13, 2011
Colourful and exciting movie version of the first Dalek story from Dr Who. Very sixties indeed!
½ January 23, 2011
Not long after Doctor Who began to air in 1963, it reached such heights of popularity that a movie was made. It was about the Daleks, which is unsurprising given that they were a big part of the show's success. Gordon Flemyng's film is a loose adaptation of the first episode to feature them, and it is often entertaining, especially if you haven't seen the actual episode - or really, any Doctor Who at all. Which sort of makes you wonder who this is aimed at.

I admit it: I'm a lifelong Doctor Who fan, and it is very hard to watch this without bearing that in mind. As a Doctor Who film, it's rubbish. The characters are wrong, the story isn't very well-written, and any real elements of drama and terror are omitted. It just doesn't work the way that original black-and-white story did.

It is an adaptation, so it doesn't have to be spot-on identical. This is understandable. But some of the changes are enormous. The Doctor (Peter Cushing) is now called Dr. Who - it's his actual name, which is just bizarre. He is no longer an alien. He is a kindly old scientist living with his two (not one) granddaughters, and he just so happens to have invented a time machine in his back garden. (There is now no reason for it to resemble a police box, but it still does.) Anyway, he shows young Susan (Roberta Tovey), Barbara (Jennie Linden) and her boyfriend Ian (Roy Castle) around the TARDIS - sorry, that's just "TARDIS" now, no "the" - and Ian accidentally leans on the giant control lever, and off they go through time and space. It is no longer the case that Ian and Barbara are inadvertently kidnapped by the Doctor, who wishes to keep his, Susan and the TARDIS's existence a secret. The TARDIS is no longer impossible to pilot, and hence can return them home as soon as they're ready. No one seems to mind visiting a scary alien planet, and besides a little fussing, no one is tremendously bothered about going home.

Now, changing elements of the story is one thing, and can actually lead to improvements. (It doesn't in this case, but still.) Changing what makes the characters work is another. The Doctor - nyeargh, that's Dr. Who, probably Archibald Who or something - is not mysterious, nor sinister. Peter Cushing plays him as every loveable granddad archetype you can think of, rolled into one. I half expected him to pop Susan on his knee and open a bag of Werther's Originals. He is loveable to the point of being preposterous, and needless to say, he carries none of the unpredictability and irascibility that William Hartnell brought to the role. Ian is no longer a brave, outraged hero - he doesn't need to be, as their journey has been an honest mistake and not any kind of kidnapping. Roy Castle has fun in the role, but is purely there for comic relief, and spends all his time falling over and breaking things. His defining moment in the story, encouraging one of the peaceful Thals to stand up against the Daleks by threatening his beloved, is given instead to Dr. Who, which makes virtually no sense as the old man has been nothing but benevolent throughout the story.

Meanwhile Susan, eight years old now instead of a girl on the verge of womanhood, is precoscious to the point of rudeness, and her close relationship with her grandfather renders Barbara - who is now just the other granddaughter - completely pointless. Barbara does nothing of note in the whole film. Her only purpose is to be old enough to require a boyfriend, which makes way for Ian. But since all Ian does is muck up the Doctor's plans, there's barely any need for him either. The four of them make up a boring, undramatic unit, and the story neglects to tell us anything useful about any of them, so we never get to know them. We're flying through time and space long before ten minutes of the film - credits and all - have elapsed, so there isn't time.

But while the thin characters have trouble opening up, the Daleks barely stop talking. This is not only boring - Daleks talking to other Daleks was often a point of tedium in the series, and it's no different here - but clumsy. The frequently terrifying creatures are reduced to openly discussing the plot, dropping great info-dump bombs about what they're doing and why, purely for the benefit of the viewing audience. They also reveal things that ought to be kept a secret from our four heroes, and do bizarre things like feed their prisoners and allow them to keep medical supplies when we know they want them for themselves. At least they look great, colourful and just as sinister as they were on the small screen, but the dumb script does them very few favours.

Terry Nation's original storyline peeks through the mess, and it's still very strong, even if it has been mangled by screenwriter Milton Subutsky. A world stricken by nuclear fallout must have seemed a terrifying setting for a movie back in the mid-'60s, and it is well-realised. The music is catchy, and although the time period does invade to a certain degree - why, in the name of all that's logical, do the Daleks possess lava lamps? - it's in places a welcome change from the black-and-white pictures Doctor Who fans were used to.

But the story lumbers along rather stupidly, the characters don't make much sense or do anything interesting, and the whole scary, dramatic feel that's supposed to hang in the air just doesn't. This therefore makes a pretty entertaining science fiction movie for youngsters, offering a hint of H.G. Wells (or more specifically the Rod Taylor movie, The Time Machine) and of course, introducing them to the Daleks. But where it differs from the original tale, it unanimously mucks it up and makes it less effective, so really, I'd advise you seek out the (thankfully still freely available) original episodes.
½ December 14, 2010
Flash Gordon English style (and less money).
½ November 5, 2010
pretty good movie version, good story though not sure why they didnt use the actors from the series
October 23, 2010
Classic Big screen Dr Who.
August 11, 2010
Not in the continuity of the TV series, so that's why it gets so little attention from 'Who' fans. It's a harmless, cozy little movie, but nothing to write home about.
½ May 1, 2010
A bit creaky as a film but still loads of garish fun. Has a fairy-tale feel that the new show has taken up a little. Some of the forest sets are 60's pulp beautiful, on a low-budget.
April 20, 2010
i''ll see to to see johns obsesson
April 20, 2010
Now, I must be honest, I haven't actually seen any of the Dr. Who tv series or serials, but this film...makes me want to. Very Good Sci-Fi film. To be honest, the main reason I watched this was because Peter Cushing is in it. He's pretty good as The Doctor. The plot was good, and special effects are pretty awesome. Check it out.
½ March 9, 2010
Americans give Dr Who a go...and it's not actually that bad!
December 9, 2009
An okay movie, but I'll stick to the original William Hartnell story
August 1, 2009
The Doctor Played by Duration
First Doctor William Hartnell 1963??1966[42]
Second Doctor Patrick Troughton 1966??1969[42]
Third Doctor Jon Pertwee 1970??1974[42]
Fourth Doctor Tom Baker 1974??1981[42]
Fifth Doctor Peter Davison 1981??1984[42]
Sixth Doctor Colin Baker 1984??1986
Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy 1987??1989, 1996[43]
Eighth Doctor Paul McGann 1996
Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston 2005
Tenth Doctor David Tennant 2005??2010[6]
Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith 2010??[44]
July 25, 2009
i'm game, need to see it.
½ July 16, 2009
Sort of a big budget remake of the second serial to air in my favorite show, Doctor Who. The serial in question is The Daleks, which introduces the oldest and most recurring villain (the...uh...daleks). The film is sort of hit and miss. Personally, Peter Cushing isn't as entertaining for me as WIlliam Hartnell, his TV counterpart. This film on its own isn't all that special. The effects and color are stunning, and make the cheap old black and white originals pale in comparison...but the feel isn't quite as special as the series was from the start.
March 5, 2009
i just threw this in the mix bcuz i love Dr. Who and theres no recent movies

threw this in the mix cuz i love dr. who, but i like the newer stuff better and there isnt any recent movies
January 19, 2009
Camp and colourful big screen debut for everyone's favourite timelord - although this version has little to do with the TV version. It's okay in a sort of Saturday morning matinee way, but otherwise has not aged well at all - and the Dalek's seem even more cumbersome than ever!
September 1, 2008
It's Doctor Who. Of course I'm going to like it!
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