Red Scharlach (redscharlach) wrote,
Red Scharlach
redscharlach

Cushing and Cribbins, together at last!

It's time for my wobbly exploration of the Dr Who movies to draw to a close, with an in-depth reappraisal (hem hem) of The Second Weird Who Film With Peter Cushing In It, Plus Bonus Bernard Cribbins, more properly known as Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 AD!

D.I.E.T., to coin a silly acronym, is in fact a remake of The Dalek Invasion of Earth, but once again takes place in the non-canonical world of Movie Who, where Daleks are brightly coloured, grand-daughters are tiny, and names you recall are attached to people you've never met before. Lots of fun for everyone, then.


It's young Bernard Cribbins!

Meet Tom Campbell, Special Constabulary, K Division. You may notice that he looks suspiciously like Donna's granddad, Wilf, because both of them are really Bernard Cribbins. At the beginning of this film, Tom tries to stop a jewel robbery and gets a severe blow to the back of the head for his trouble. As he runs down the street after the getaway car, he spies a police box and thinks "Ah ha, I'll go in here for help!" You can probably guess that this turns out to be No Ordinary Police Box (TM).

By the way, if you'd like to try to fan-wank Tom into SEEKRITLY being the same person as Wilf, be my guest. I suppose you could start with some sort of concussion/amnesia (caused by the bang on the head), and madly handwave the rest, but I fear it might be a tad difficult to pull it off convincingly.

Inside TARDIS

As you can see, Dr Who has redecorated the TARDIS since the first film, because it's much neater now and isn't full of dangerous trailing cables. It's also got odd little bits of neon stuck around the place, like a 1980s nightclub. Movie!Susan is still perkily present and correct, and still isn't annoying, although disappointingly she has much less to do in this film than in the first one. Movie!Barbara, Dr Who's other grand-daughter has vanished, however, and has been replaced by Louise, who is Dr Who's niece! This fact made me think of dodgy old businessmen who are seen out with young ladies and try to pass them off as "nieces", hem hem. She also calls him "Doctor" rather than "Uncle", which adds to the suspicion if you ask me. Nevertheless, she is quite foxy, in an Emma-Peel-on-the-cheap sort of way, and wears a rather groovy tweed culotte suit with cool boots (visible in some of the pics below).

Rubble, rubble everywhere

Tom is gobsmacked by all this, but before he can figure out what's going on, the TARDIS turns up in the year 2150 AD, to find that most of London has been tragically replaced by a matte painting of some rubble! Of course, this is all the fault of the Daleks, and it's their spaceship that's hanging above the unconvincing skyline. Clearly the model ship was quite fancy and expensive to make, since it's used in loads of scenes, despite its rather visible strings.

Not bloody Sugar Puffs again!

Another tragic aspect of the future is that it has been taken over by product placement. Advertisements for Sugar Puffs seem particularly prevalent: it transpires that this is because the film was actually sponsored by Sugar Puffs. Perhaps more movies should be? Personally I'd like to see James Bond chowing down on a honey-coated bowlful: it'd make a change from all the Sony phones and Aston Martins.

A Dalek from the deep!

Gaze in wonder as technological terror rises from the Thames! Despite the fact that the London of the future is a mass of run-down rubble, you'll note that the Dalek looks pretty clean after its dip in the river. If one tried to do the same thing today, it'd probably come out covered in old plastic bags or with a shopping trolley wedged on its head.

The Daleks have landed

Dr Who describes this as "the vicinity of Sloane Square". Bloody hell, Knightsbridge has gone downmarket in the last 150 years, hasn't it?

Though we die, La Résistance lives on

Susan and Louise fall in with a rag-tag fugitive band of rebels who like to hide in disused Tube stations and listen to their Dalek overlords on the radio. They all look and sound like they've wandered out of a kitchen-sink drama of the 1960s, despite supposedly living in 2150 AD, but hey, at least they've got the comfort of Sugar Puffs to see them through.

Whip-crack-away!

The Daleks' dirty work is done mainly by Robomen: these are normal humans who've had their brains zapped with a big shiny brainzapping machine (see below). They wear transistor radios attached to the sides of their helmets (all the better to listen to Dalek FM), and have shiny plastic jumpsuits, wonky mirrored sunglasses, and silver whips. How terribly kinky of them.

This cupboard is positively distasteful

At one stage, Louise gets stuck aboard the Dalek ship and finds herself hiding in a cupboard full of the Robomen's suggestive equipment. Because she's a well-spoken young lady, she's trying hard not to look excited about it.

Dalek beauty parlour

This is where normal blokes get turned into Robomen. Note the scary Dalek technology, presumably salvaged from a hairdresser's on the King's Road.

Alien hairdryers from hell!

Oh no, Dr Who and Tom are about to be turned into Robomen too! The Doc looks particularly startled, probably because his hair is quite bouffant enough without any unnecessary blowdrying. Tom/Wilf/Bernard looks like the smell of Dalek hair products is going to his head.

The Daleks gush all over each other

Fortunately, Dr Who and a rebel called David (played by Ray "Latterly Off EastEnders" Brooks) escape from the ship with the Daleks in hot pursuit. In the nick of time, they drop down a manhole and the Daleks end up squirting all over each other. The sight of Peter Cushing in a PVC suit must be more stimulating than you might have thought.

Robomen caught robonapping

Possibly the most memorable bit of this film, and certainly the scene that stayed with me from childhood, is the sequence in which Bernard Cribbins has to pretend to be a Roboman, obediently standing in file with their patrol, engaging in synchronized munching of jellybeans (the future's only alternative to Sugar Puffs!), and eventually having this slightly homoerotic nap on a bench. Bless him.

Was that escape good for you, darling?

Tom finally escapes from the Robopatrol and is reunited with Louise, who is no longer trapped in the cupboard full of bondage gear (more's the pity). They escape by sliding down a garbage chute. Here they are looking scenically dishevelled as they pop out the bottom. Little do they know, they have landed bang-splat in the middle of Bedfordshire, at the nerve centre of the Dalek's evil plan. Crikey.

Won't somebody think of the chickens?

Handily, Susan also escapes to Bedfordshire, in a red van driven by a kindly rebel bloke. Well, he's kind to Susan, but he's not very nice to chickens, taking the same approach to them as he does to Daleks and driving straight at them. Fortunately the chickens all seem to get out of the way. Let's hope they were all trained stunt chickens: the alternative is a little gruesome to contemplate.

GIVE. US. YOUR. SHED.

Even after the Dalek apocalypse, competition for attractive garden furniture remains positively cut-throat.

The Daleks have a big red bomb

Anyway, the Daleks drag Dr Who out of his shed, and tell him their Evil Plan (TM): they want to drop a big bomb down a mineshaft, in order to hollow out the centre of the Earth and turn it into a giant spaceship. You may recall that the plot of the previous Dalek movie also involved them having a big bomb, but since that one took place far in the future relative to this one, the Daleks don't yet know that big bombs make rubbish plotlines and won't work.

Tom in the shaft

Fortunately for the fate of human race, Tom/Wilf/Bernard is on the case! All he has to do is heroically move a few planks, and the bomb will slide down the wrong tunnel, setting off a huge burst of magnetism and sucking all the Daleks down the hole!

Irresistible magnetic power from Mother Earth herself!!

So he does precisely that, and this is what happens! It's rather like Doomsday, isn't it, only forty years earlier and on a much lower budget. There's also plenty of amusing footage of Daleks whizzing along backwards and speeded up as they get sucked towards the hole, although the fast-rewinding is hard to capture in a screencap.

You can't get the stuntmen these days...

But if you're worried about the fate of the Dalek race, don't be. As their base explodes, some of the Daleks seem to have sneakily escaped and left some unconvincing fake Daleks to die in their place. After all, how else can you explain this strangely shaped stunt Dalek that's about to messily burst into flames? It can't possibly be anything to do with budget concerns, can it?

Tom fights crime!

Anyway, the future of the Earth is saved for mankind. Since movie!Susan cannot leave to marry David the rebel (as she did in the original TV version of this story), mainly because she's only twelve, Team TARDIS have nothing left to do but to take Tom back home to the swinging 1960s. However, with one eye on personal gain (naughty Tom!), he asks to be taken back just before the jewel robbery, so he can save the day, and timelines can go swivel! Here he is, driving away in glee with the foiled robbers in the back of the car, and dreaming of the promotion to Detective Inspector that will now surely be his.

Bye bye, Team TARDIS!

Bye bye, Team TARDIS! It was a mildly entertaining adventure, but despite the fact that Bernard Cribbins is much cooler and more heroic than Roy Castle was in the first movie, the plot is rather more dreary and doesn't involve any lava lamps whatsoever, which can only be a bad thing.

By the way, there was an amusing article in the Guardian this week about how to know if you are watching an arthouse movie. Anyone who's ever handed over good money to sit through three hours of subtitled grimness should find something in it to smile wryly at. Note also that NONE of the listed criticisms can be leveled against either of the Dr Who movies -- well, unless you count Roy Castle as "unamusing humour". Personally, I prefer to think of him as a failure of the gravity stabilizers...
Tags: doctor who, movies
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