Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The UNIT Files: Invasion of the Dinosaurs: Extras. Review by James Hadwen

Doctor Who stories usually fall into one of two categories, completely overlooked or completely obsessed about. “Invasion of the Dinosaurs” falls into the later category because the traditional fan perception is that it’s so awful.

The main documentary in the extras, “People, Power and Puppetry” claims it’s going to be different from the usual talking heads style feature but only really achieves this by putting a rather smug front man in front of the camera. After the first few links I found my brain instinctively switching off, until the people actually involved in the story came back on screen. When they do, there’s little that’s outstandingly new given (though there’s one huge new bit of information in the production subtitles") but it’s presented exceptionally well by people who genuinely seem to care about the story.

The “Deleted Scenes” don’t really add much (especially as most of them have been seen many times in the past) and “Now and Then” is as informative as ever.

There’s the rather bizarre historical curio “Billy Smart’s Circus” where the aim was clearly to get the Whomobile on screen as much as possible before Jon Pertwee left and there’s an extra ten minutes worth of commentary on episode five from John Levine. If you’ve never heard a John Levine commentary before then be prepared as they’re a rather unique experience.

Highlight of the disc though is “Doctor Who Stories: Elisabeth Sladen Part 1”, a set of sequences filmed for the 2003 Anniversary documentary “The Story of Doctor Who”. Again, there’s nothing massively new in it but it’s just so fun to watch and listen to Elisabeth Sladen being so enthusiastic once more. Plus it has the BEST opening visuals I’ve seen on one of these discs for a long time, “Invasion of the Dinosaurs” buy it for the story, watch the colourised episode one and then stay for the extras, it’s what winter nights were made for.

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