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Doctor Who: The War Games (Story 50)
Doctor Who The War Games
Story 50
Actors: Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury
Genres: Television, Cult Movies
NR     2009     4hr 4min

The TARDIS arrives on a planet where a race known only as the Aliens have gathered soldiers from a number of different wars in history, brainwashed them and put them to battle. Their aim is to form an invincible army from ...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury
Genres: Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 11/03/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 4hr 4min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaDVD Credits: 3
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 19
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The end of an era
C. R. Swanson | Phoenix | 08/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are so few Patrick Troughton episodes out there. His stories were ravaged by the BBC many years ago, and only a handful have been recovered. The first story is missing, important episodes like "The Highlanders" and "The Enemy of the World" are gone. Even episodes with popular villains such as the Daleks and Cybermen are missing.

Thankfully one of the few stories still intact is the last story. The ten part masterpiece, "The War Games", is the swansong for the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. It also introduces the Time Lords as a group, shows us a rival Time Lord to the Doctor in the form of the War Chief, and has a nice, epic feel to it that hasn't really been captured in too many other stories. It was also the last of the black and white stories.

There are certain problems with the story. For one, it's quite well-padded and redundant in parts. Truth be told, it could've been done as a four-part story and worked every bit as well, but that's a minor gripe.

Special features on this three-disc collection include such things as commentaries, features on the Target novels and the comic strip, and much more!

Overall this is a heck of a story and a great collection. Worth every penny!"
Who did Epic before ther was Epic
A. Shapiro | Fl | 10/13/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Dr. Who was doing epic storylines befre they were en vogue. This was the most ambitious of the Who stories at the time, and was only eclipsed(not in quality mind you) by the Trial of a Timelord storyline. The story can get a bit repetitive at times, but it is a good yarn, well worth watching. You just knew watching the parts that something huge was going to happen! Troughton was so amazing in the role, and so many don't "know" him as well as the other actors who played the lead role because so many of his episodes, including some of the most famous episodes are lost for all time. This one is monumental in terms of what happemns.
One of the best parts of this story is the treatment of the timelords and Gallifrey(though neither term is sued here). Both were used sparingly to great effect. We are given morsels, tidbits of where the Doctor is from and the power of "his people." Though I loved the stories that followed about Gallifrey and the Timelords, it was nice not to know a lot about the Doctirs past or where he came from. The inclusion of backstory added a lot to the character, but in the process, removed some of the mystery and aura surrounding the character. This is really must see Who. Pity none of the characters introduced here, especially what seems to be another timelord(the Master anyone?!?) never returend. Perhaps with the popularity of the new sereis, that can be rectified. This really is monumental Who, but it is best viewed in chunks and not in one showing, or the repetitive parts will begin to annoy."
Swan Song, So Long
A. Shapiro | 05/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Okay. So its 10 episodes long. So what! Watch the tapes in intervals. If you do, this serial is really enjoyable. Watch Doctor Who the way it was meant to be!This is the only Troughton tape that I gave five stars to. It really was a wonderful farwell piece to the second doctor as well as his companions. This serial also marks the end of the black-and-white era for Doctor Who. It is a wonderful work and is by no means boring in any way. Any Doctor Who fan will love this story."
"No! No! No! No! No!"
Jason A. Miller | New York, New York USA | 11/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Everyone remembers the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) as the jolly, happy little fellow who always looked frazzled but never defeated. His character always managed to escape the angst that seemed to afflict, say, the Fifth and Ninth Doctors on a regular basis, or the Tenth Doctor in every series finale.

However, even 40 years later, the ordeal to which the Second Doctor is subjected in his swan song is kind of shocking. "The War Games" opens with an iconic image, of the Doctor and his loyal companions Jamie and Zoe (well-played by Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury) standing giggling in a mud puddle in the middle of No-Man's Land. By the end of that week's episode, far from giggling in the mud, they've been captured, escaped, captured, court-martialed, and sentenced to death. The World War I firing squad which the Doctor faces in the story's first cliffhanger is one of the grimmest fates his incarnation ever had to face. While "The War Games" has been accused of being slow and padded, Episode One at least is nearly perfect in its pacing and increasingly downbeat tone.

The writers (Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke, two of "Doctor Who"'s best scribes) slowly reveal the mystery over the course of the first several episodes. In the opening act we see an anachronistic TV screen behind British lines. In Episode Two we see the Doctor abruptly drive from France into Ancient Rome, and in Episode Three he's captured by an out-of-place TARDIS. In Episode Four the Doctor is terrified to recognize one of the aliens responsible for manipulating the war zones, and by Episode Six we learn that the both the Doctor and the War Chief are members of the same race -- the Time Lords. While it's inevitable that in a "Doctor Who" story of such length there are bound to be dull spots (here, Episodes Five and Six seem to be the most padded), overall the progression of "The War Games" is fast and unflinching.

In the final two episodes, the Docttor learns that he can only defeat the War Chief and his allies by calling on the Time Lords for help -- but in so doing the audience learns, for the first time in the show's then six-year history, that the Doctor has been on the run from the Time Lords, and that to call them is to invite his own arrest. The entirety of Episode Ten is devoted to the Doctor's capture and trial. The inexorable nature of the Doctor's fate mirrors the grim World War I sequences, and the imposition of the Doctor's sentence in the closing moments is both terrifying and poignant.

"The War Games" is treated to one of the best jobs the Restoration Team has done in their near-decade on the job. This 3-disc set features not only a pristine video restoration, but also an informative text commentary track and a very busy audio commentary booth. The bonus disc is full of documentaries: a lengthy making-of feature, a historical piece on the various wars encountered in the story (although oddly no American professor is interviewed about the American Civil War), and a retrospective look at the Doctor's first nine regenerations (featuring side-splitting observations by various show writers). We also get installments in the ongoing set of features about "Doctor Who" novelizations and comic strips.

Take your time with "The War Games" DVD. Overall this story is "Doctor Who" at the height of its power to both entertain and frighten, and after 40 years may be the "Who" story that has aged better than any other."