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Doctor Who: Planet of Evil (Story 81)
Doctor Who Planet of Evil
Story 81
Actors: Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Ian Marter
Director: David Maloney
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
NR     2008     1hr 34min

When a distress call draws the Doctor and Sarah Jane to a scientific outpost at the end of the Universe, the Doctor suspects dark planetary forces are behind a series of sinister deaths.DVD Features: — Audio Commentary — DVD...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Ian Marter
Director: David Maloney
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Drama, Science Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Video / Warner Bros.
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/04/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 34min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

The Moody Planet.
Armchair Pundit | Durham City, England. | 01/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Season 13.
Zeta Minor is a planet on the periphery of the known universe.
But what is not known about it, is, it's also a gateway to the anti-matter universe!
(Nothing is ever simple in the Whoniverse!)
En route to London the TARDIS picks up a SOS call from Zeta Minor, the Doctor immediately changes course and land's there. (circa, 37,166)
Trudging through this densely jungled world the Doctor and Sarah come upon a Morestran military squad, searching for a geological expedition that has ceased transmitting.
The Morestran's are extremely suspicious of the Doctor and Sarahs explainations as to why they are there, but their conflict is about to be seriously interrupted when the anti matter world makes it's presence known to them.
And an infected killer starts to stalk the ships corridors...
Behind the scenes.
The real star of this story, for me, is not a Human character but the magnificient alien jungle set, designed by Roger Murray Leech. Later to design for feature films.
He suggested it should be shot on film at the BBC owned Ealing film studios, and not videotaped, to give it greater depth and realism, and it works for me. The shots in the TV studio have a noticeable drop in visual impact.
These scenes set in the Zeta Minor jungle have to be the most eerie and suspenseful in the shows long history.
DVD Special Features.
"Commentary" - With actors Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Prentis Hancock, producer Philip Hinchcliffe.
"A Darker Side" - a 25 minute "making of" feature. With producer Philip Hinchcliffe, writer Louis Marks, designer Roger Murray-Leach, director David Maloney, actors Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Prentis Hancock.
"Planetary Performance" -(13 minutes) A look at the making of the story from an actor's perspective. With actors Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Prentis Hancock, Tony McEwan and Graham Weston.
"Studio Scene" - the only surviving behind-the-scenes footage from the story.
"Continuities" - continuity announcements and repeat trailer.
"Photo Gallery" - production, design and publicity photos from the story.
"Coming Soon" trailer.
"Easter Egg".
Trivia:~ Ello, ello, ello what's all this then? Doctors aboard the USS Enterprise,well yes, kind of, check this out.
In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Neutral Zone, as Dianna Troi helps a woman from the past search for living family members the computer screen flashes up a family tree with the names William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker.
Maybe some Trek writers were closet Whovians?

As the BBC showed this story, ITV were showing the much more expensive; "Space 1999", but it was Doctor Who that won the ratings battle.
Airdate:~ 27/9/75-18/10/75."
Dr. Who at its finest
Mark T. Mccullough | Raleigh, NC USA | 01/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Dr. Who was in its golden age when PLANET OF EVIL was broadcast in the mid-70s. Tom Baker had assumed his iconic role as the good Doctor and, now in his second season, he was really on form. PLANET OF EVIL was one of those great Dr. Who stories which was haunting, scary, well acted, well written, well produced and well realized. It was in short the classic hide behind the sofa story.

The Doctor and Sarah have materialized on Zeta Minor at the edge of the known universe. They arrive to find the skeletal remains of a human; all the life having been sucked out of him. Of course, the Doctor and Sarah are blamed. As it turns out, Zeta Minor is something of a gateway between the universes of matter and anti-matter. The creature responsible for sucking the lives out of people is something of a hybrid creature which lives in an abyss between the two universes and who is attacking people it seems because a researcher is intent on removing hybrid crystals from the planet for use as fuel in the human colonies. The Doctor returns the crystals, makes the creature happy and all is well again.

This episode is fantastic for anyone, hard core fan and casual observer alike. The BBC effects department did a fantastic job on the jungle for this story (it was done entirely in studio!). The story also featured three of the best guest actors in the series' history, Prentice Hancock as Commander Salamar, Frederick Jaeger as Sorenson and Ewan Solon as Vishinsky. I don't give 5-star ratings lightly - get this DVD!"
Thomas E. O'Sullivan | Knoxville, Maryland United States | 03/08/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"PLANET OF EVIL is one of those DOCTOR WHO stories that is often better remembered for being better than what it is, and a large part of those good feelings and happy memories have to be laid at the door of some of the best set design ever to grace the series. A real planet seems to have been created here in this story. It's vibrant, colorful, alive, packed with every type of plant pulled directly from the imagination. It's got mist, it's got water, it's got madmen, it's got a monster (and a monster soundtrack, listen to it on the PHOTO GALLERY extra and turn the lights down low... very creepy) and the Doctor and Sarah are in the thick of it.

The story borrows heavily from the classics and you'll know them straight away as they appear, but, this does not slow or dull the story. It's refreshing to follow such a single minded and driven idea to the very end... the quest for power to save a people and a planet, but not for ones own gain. The balance of power, between the matter and anti-matter universe (which brings up a continuty question... could Omega have returned to the WHO universe through Zeta - Minor instead of Amsterdam?), the struggle of command, between a eager young commander and a seasoned warrior. PLANET OF EVIL has it all, but, despite that "all", at four episodes it goes on far too long, takes too long to get to the point and ends up just switching one well crafted location for the next. So, there are moments that drag and the fine line between intellectual suspense and HAMMER HORROR blur as the final episode comes to a happy close.

As usual 2 ENTERTAIN goes the extra mile in extras. They're not as heavy as previous efforts, but they still make the grade. Commentary with Baker, Sladen, Hancock and Hinchcliffe is very relaxed and a lot of praise goes to the set design and the overall look of the production. Sladen and Baker still have that chemistry, but this commentary is far quieter and more surface than others, and you will find yourself wishing that 2 ENTERTAIN would hire someone with facts and questions at hand to sit in with these people and keep the stories coming when it starts to flag.

The two documentaries are what you've come to expect, people not quite looking into the camera talking about the experiences while images from the show roll behind them. There is one STUDIO SCENE featuring raw footage from studio filming and is, sadly, very short and the scene presented to us simply has Baker and Sladen looking scared at a monster that isn't even there. I love these looks inside the filming of WHO and other releases have had much longer and more detailed footage, so, why cut it so short here? Text commentary is tight and fast paced. You will need a remote as some passages zip by pretty quick.

Also, this is one of the few stories where the Doctor loses the scarf for a long period of time and you don't miss it. Plus, a word on the box art... just what is they under Baker's chin and couldn't they have done away with it? It's so strange, so centered in frame that you can't help but get a laugh as it, especially as it seems Sarah can't take her eyes off it.

PLANET OF EVIL is a good DOCTOR WHO story. A straight line from start to finish, loaded with ideas, good performances and killer set design that will draw you back again and again. A must for the collection."
"We buy our privilege to experiment at the cost of total res
Crazy Fox | Chicago, IL USA | 03/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In this compelling "Doctor Who" adventure at the edge of the known universe we have a perfect example of this show's gift for flirting with mediocrity only to come out shining. "Planet of Evil"--even the title sounds like a bad direct-to-video B movie. But don't let that fool you. Many a plot element shows visible traces of influence from prior tales in the genre, most noticeably "Doctor Jeckyll and Mister Hyde"--elements that with the slightest mishandling could end up as trite, corny, plagiaristic, and, well, plain dull. But worry not. They are carefully and subtly invoked, reworked, and integrated into a thrillingly original and well-written story with consummate creativity and flair, not to mention a bit of the alchemist's touch for turning lead into gold.

The story is given quite a bit of depth and atmosphere by its convincingly rendered bizarre setting: Zeta Minor, a dangerously remote planet on the furthest fringes of the known universe as of the 37000's AD, a spookily surreal jungle world that makes Yoda's Dagobah look like your average backyard garden in comparison, and right in the midst of this lies an abyss linking our familiar cosmos of matter and being with one of antimatter and non-being. Something not to be trifled with lightly, which is of course just what happens, setting the story in motion. Civilization has exhausted its energy sources and is near collapse, and so a geological expedition led by a certain Professor Sorenson has come to this uncanny place in hopes of harnessing the supposedly limitless power of antimatter, enraging a mostly invisible but monstrous being from the other side and poisoning Sorenson himself in the process. And into this devolving disaster are dragged both a military rescue ship and (of course) the Doctor and Sarah Jane in the Tardis.

Here again as is often the case the writers for "Doctor Who" show an unusual talent for painting the portrait of a whole society of the future in all of its complexity with only a few deft lines of dialogue woven unobtrusively and organically into the script. There is also inherent in this adventurous tale an understated but definite ecological fable examining the responsibilities of the scientific enterprise in a manner delightfully neither preachy nor burdensome. Sorenson himself is the very archetype of the obsessed mad scientist, but what could have been a tired stock character is brilliantly enlivened and fleshed out by fine acting of the very first order. This is mostly true of the rest of the supporting cast as well: the stern but increasingly unhinged commander of the rescue ship, his quietly professional but compassionate second-in-command, and the guy always grumbling on the job. As for the main character, Tom Baker is in his heyday here as the Doctor, juggling humor and seriousness perfectly and sucker-punching a man without giving the impression of violence, and his rapport with Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane is also at its peak--the wittily barbed yet friendly banter between them throughout the story is priceless. Finally, special effects are never a deciding factor in "Doctor Who" but the semi-invisible antimatter creatures and the make-up for the mutated version of Sorenson are cleverly rendered through good old fashioned professional craftsmanship without the benefit of CGI and hold up remarkably well still; as for the spaceship model, well, okay, you can tell they tried.

This is not a pivotal tale. Nobody regenerates, no companion joins or departs, there are no Dalek invasions nor revelations of Gallifrey. But in a way that's all for the better. Instead, "Planet of Evil" is a stellar example of just how enjoyable and entertaining "Doctor Who" can typically and reliably be on a regular basis."