Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Doctor Who Warriors of the Deep |
Actors: Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson
Director: Pennant Roberts
Genres: Television, Cult Movies
"These human beings will die as they have lived-in a sea of their own blood!" The year is 2084, and two power-blocs are poised on the brink of war. Using a series of undersea complexes and deep-space satellites, each bloc ... more »
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"There should have been another way..."
Kevin J. Loria | New Orleans, LA USA | 03/21/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Warriors of the Deep was part of Peter Davison's 3rd and final season as the young & vulnerable 5th incarnation of the Doctor. Final down to a mere two companions, Davison's run as the Doctor had it's fair share of returning classic foes, this time was a double dip. The Sea Devils and the Silurians, both from Jon Pertwee's run as the third Doctor, are really a natural pairing as they are both prehistoric-sea species of Earth, it is almost astonishing that it hadn't been done earlier. Although the earlier incarnation of the Doctor could very easily been inserted in the place of the actual incumbent, most of the dialogue could have come from that era, down to the Doctor's thinly veiled distain for the destroyer / conqueror side of Humanity, thus his classic closing quote draws in sharp relief the return of the love/hate attitude that was in so much the third Doctor's lines, "there should have been another way..." This time the monsters are indigenous Earth prehistoric creatures so the humans are already the invaders in the scenario. Last time the Doctor faced the Silurians he made some hard choices of conscience bordering on treason (in UNIT's eyes) to do the right thing, as it were. This time that moral convection kind seems worn and thin, admittedly inspite of his young appearance this is an older Doctor, and in this story, a usually pessimistic Doctor.
This the 131st story or the six-hundredth and third episode of the 21st season aired in 1984. This was really a golden-age for the series (much like now with the 2005 return of the show). Of course, Tom Baker, like most Americans my age was "my Doctor," but having followed the show through the reworking of the series by executive producer John-Nathan Turner (much like Russell T. Davies reworking for the 21st cen. ) I was as invested in Davison's portrayal as Baker's. This particular season was maybe the darkest of the series history (up `til then, see the Attack of the Cybermen with the 6th Doctor), with dark stories like Resurrection of the Daleks and the Caves of Androzani following this one, all with high body counts. "Warriors of the Deep" is set, like many of this era in the futuristic twenty-first century where a deep undersea base is under attack. Unlike most stories in Doctor Who's history the returning reptilians are unceremoniously revealed seconds into the show, as opposed to the traditional monster reveal at the closing minutes of the 1st part. Anyway, minus the loss of suspense, the creatures, like all returning monsters are all "80ed" up with body armor and latex. Another mystery revealed early is the entire plan of the baddies, followed by the Doctor's discovery of an obvious story resolution minutes upon boarding the base. This discovery is the Hexachromite gas which is serendipitously deadly to all reptile life.
The human characters aren't particularly likeable (maybe it's the eye shadow), partly by design to make us more sympathetic towards the oppressed sea species, very much the voice of the 80's, if only Sting had arrived in time to perform a benefit concert for them.
Unfortunately the "monster" characters are no more likeable, between the Sea Devils and the Silurians weird voices their lines are hard to understand and all that costume and latex remove all opportunity for any facial expressions from the characters. But, the Doctor's companions aren't free of blame, Tegan and Turlough (who are both intolerable at the best of times) immediately leave the Doctor for dead deciding he's drowned instantly because his fallen in some water at the episode's cliffhanger. Turlough does counter this later by melodramatically offering that Tegan save herself while he scurries toward eminent danger (which just seem contradictory, really.) Speaking of companions...where is Kamelion, the shape-shifting robot, who will serve as a plot device in "Planet of Fire?"
Are his batteries low?
One major complaint about this one is on the technical side, the Silurians secret weapon is an oversized sea monster which sets Doctor Who back decades! In what is a pretty good story arc, with the return of some classic monsters, we have the "WORST CREATURE" presentation in I would dare to say the series multi-decade history (20 years at the point this was aired.) Bar none. The Myrka, as it is called looks like a scale pantomime lizard-horse, which is precisely what it is. Obviously, a couple of actors shuffling down halls, really well-light halls I might add. But to add insult to injury one character sees fit to disbatch this embarrassing creature in the most embarrassing manner, ninja-kick to the lizard gut!!! Pity considering the underwater base is one of the best sets of the season.
Over all this one just mixes too many genres to work effectively. It seems unsure of weather it wants to be a stylized action adventure or meaty drama with true emotional impact, resulting in flatly achieving neither. I love the 5th Doctor's final season but this one was poorly handled, even if it does round off a trilogy of prehistoric monster stories including: "The Silurians" and "The Sea Devils." Both of those should be released along with this DVD. Watch for Doctor Who - Beneath The Surface (Doctor Who And The Silurians / The Sea Devils / Warriors Of The Deep)the boxed set.
Some Drinking games for Warriors of the Deep:
--Someone or something dies
--camera cuts to someone wearing too much make-up
---the flashy thing on the Silurian's head flashes
--you lament your purchase
"I sometimes wonder why I like the people of this miserable
Crazy Fox | Chicago, IL USA | 06/14/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Over the many decades of its existence, Doctor Who has always been a show full of ideas--almost endlessly inventive and creative. "Warriors of the Deep" is no different. What a fantastic idea, bringing back the Silurians and the Sea Devils! The basic concept of this story brims with excellent potential and fantastic possibilities. All of which gets tanked like the Titanic by inept realization and shoddy production, sad to say.
What could've gone wrong? The Silurians and the Sea Devils, reptilian Earthlings from before the age of humankind who want their planet back, definitely count as some of the more intriguingly original and complex foes (one can't really say villains per se) from the era of the Third Doctor. Now more than a decade and two Doctors later, surely their tale can be developed in new ways. And to some degree "Warriors of the Deep" does indeed manage gestures in this direction, giving them individual names and personalities, revealing little aspects of their society and politics, and alluding to their ethical systems and life philosophies. On a different level, furthermore, those subtle but vaguely noticeable hints of a Cold War allegory wafting about before in the Silurian/Sea Devil stories by Malcolm Hulke are here cleverly brought vividly to the foreground by Johnny Byrne. He rephrases the conflict as that between two (wisely unnamed) competing human power-blocs in 2084, a conflict the reptilians intend to capitalize upon by hijacking an undersea station and provoking both sides to destroy each other, leaving the Earth all for themselves again. In 1984 such a "mutually assured destruction" premise was sure to get a viewer's attention, no doubt about it. And it still has something to say yet.
But whenever you bring back old foes there's always the risk of diminishing returns, and that's what happens here. All the moral complexity of the human/reptilian conflict is glossed over rather than actually portrayed and explored as it was before. It's taken for granted, really, and you have the Doctor ranting about how nice and civilized the Silurians are to his companions and the other (realistically unlikable) humans on the military sea-base, but so far all this story has in actuality shown them doing is being sneaky, mean, and nasty. In a misplaced attempt at continuity, the Silurians claim that twice before they offered the hand of peace to the humans and aren't inclined to do so again. This is a gross misrepresentation and oversimplification of the prior two stories that we are apparently meant to take at face value--a vast proportion of those stories' greatness owes itself to the fact that inevitable tragedy was brought about by aggressive and narrow-minded individuals on BOTH sides. To put all the blame on the humans and absolve the reptilians sounds sophisticated at first but in the end vastly mutes the intriguing moral dilemma involved (as well as being just factually wrong). To add insult to injury, the Silurians' ethical justification for triggering genocide is the most laughably contorted heap of mendacious sophistry imaginable, but again we're clearly meant to take it seriously--the Doctor, our compass of right and wrong here, listens to it all without so much as a blink or sarcastically wry smile. In short, the whole conflict driving the plot is unsatisfying and unconvincing, sinking the overall story like lead. Clunk.
A million other things go wrong with the actual production, and it would try the patience of this reviewer and any hapless readers to list them all. The extras go into them in hilarious detail, anyway. An important point key to the story though would be the actual costumes for the Silurians and Sea Devils: they look cooler and more realistic, and even have some animatronic eyelids, but something about their design is obviously more hindering than the earlier ones in the 1970's so that the reptilian characters come across as far less agile and realistic in their actual movements, making the battle scenes almost embarrassingly laughable--don't expect one of these Sea Devils to die with a back flip like in 1972. Anyway, and speaking of Cold Wars, Karl Marx might as well have been referring to "Warriors of the Deep" when he quipped that history repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce.
P.S. I know, I know, I keep referring to the two prior stories featuring Silurians & Sea Devils ad nauseum, but those classics and this DVD can all be obtained in one conveniently nifty package: Doctor Who - Beneath The Surface (Doctor Who And The Silurians / The Sea Devils / Warriors Of The Deep)."
"Oh dear. The Myrka."
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 08/03/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I hadn't seen WARRIORS OF THE DEEP for years. Apart from the over lit sets I didn't remember anything particular about it. So while I wasn't expecting any great things, I was actually surprised by this dislike I had for this and how shallow and flimsy it seemed after viewing the other two items in the Silurians and Sea Devils DVD box set. Where DOCTOR WHO AND THE SILURIANS had an involving and twisting story-line and THE SEA DEVILS had great action/adventure sequences, WARRIORS lacks both a well-written script and exciting direction, and instead replaces them with nothing.
Set in 2084 (one hundred years after the production date), the location is an undersea missile launching base. Two large power blocs have consolidated their hold over Earth and tensions are rising. We aren't told anything about the two power blocs. From what is shown on screen, one can only deduce that one bloc is dignified and sensible, with reasonable security precautions and with only minute amounts of eyeliner distributed to their populous... while we're stuck in the other one. Meanwhile, both sets of Earth Reptiles are back and they have decided to invade this base for their own purposes.
It's difficult to know where to begin when discussing this serial's problems. The DVD extras make much out of the fact that an unexpected Parliamentary election meant that the crew lost two weeks of rehearsal, pre-production and production time (the news division of the BBC required the studio space). This lack of preparation time is very evident.
First of all, it's impossible for the sets to give any atmosphere to the story. The walls, the props, the doors, everything is bright white and garishly lit. There are no shadows for the monsters to lurk in. The harsh lights also reveal a lot of the other production flaws. Every prop looks extremely flimsy. The Sea Devils' heads appear in danger of falling off. The lighting really puts a giant exclamation mark on what is probably the worst realized monster ever seen on Doctor Who, the Myrka.
The biggest flaw in the story is the lack of any obvious ambiguity despite the repeated attempts by the Doctor to state that there is one. The Silurians act just like every other monster invader on Doctor Who. They're remorseless killers, placing no value in human life. In the earlier stories they had been portrayed as intelligent, thoughtful creatures capable of violence but also reason. This allowed the script to explore the morality involved with starting a war against such beings. But that doesn't work here because there simply isn't any reason for the audience to have sympathy with the invaders.
That said, there's no real reason to empathize with the humans on the base either. I couldn't name a single interesting or sympathetic character. Most of them are simply plot cyphers, frantically shouting their lines to convey the current state of the story, and then casually killed off when they're no longer needed. The most impressive things about the base commander are his eyebrows.
So, we lose the moral complexity of THE SILURIANS, and we also lose the great action sequences of THE SEA DEVILS. THE SEA DEVILS had some great stunt work done by the HAVOC team. Great battle sequences, some decent special effects (when used sparingly). But twelve years later, that aspect of the production looks far worse. The special effects are heavily based on the level of electronic effects that were state-of-the-art for the BBC in the 1980s. They therefore have aged far worse than the simple but effective explosive charges and physical special effects of the 1970s.
The choreography of the battle sequences also leaves something to be desired. That is to say, there isn't any. As Peter Davison points out in the DVD extras, the two opposing armies simple stand in a line and shoot at each other. It looks absolutely ridiculous. There's no tension. No menace from the monsters. The viewer simply has to wait for a battle to end before the next scene can begin.
These Doctor Who DVDs are always loaded with extras but apart from the great commentary track, even those extras seemed a little on the dull side. Unlike other DVD documentaries where the participants seem amused by some of the production flaws (such as portions of the documentary on the ARC OF INFINITY DVD concerning the design of the big chicken monster), everyone still seems to be a little stunned to realize that they were part of this story. There's no joy had in revisiting the past; they all just seem annoyed they had neither the time nor the budget to do the show properly.
That said, the DVD commentary track is great, partially because the static battle sequences and boring dialog on screen allows the participants to go off on interesting tangents. Peter Davison talks about his decision to leave the show after three years (the was the first story he made after that decision, and he probably felt vindicated). Janet Fielding, Peter Davison and script editor Eric Saward discuss some of the good and most of the bad things about producer John Nathan-Turner's approach to the show without sounding bitter or insulting. Visual effects designer Mat Irvine attempts to keep the focus on what's actually appearing on the screen, and then spends a lot of time explaining what exactly was up with the Myrka.
This serial was not well received when it was made and time has not been kind to it. As a sequel it completely fails to recapture what made the originals fun. What do you get if you take two previous stories and remove everything that was great about them? The answer is you get a lot of extras in the same type of rubber suits that came before, but not much else."
One of Peter Davison's Best Doctor Who Stories Released At L
Captain Hornblower | Orlando, Florida USA | 04/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Honestly, this Doctor Who story should have been one of the first of Peter Davison's Doctor Who's to be released to DVD. I rank this one right up there with Earthshock (which I think is his overall best story) and The Visitation.
The Silurians and Sea Devils, together, return in a future Earth time period for the magnificent Doctor Who story "Warriors of the Deep." Their previous experience with humans has taught them that the human race can not be trusted. They decide they have no alternative but to wipe out humanity once and for all in order to reclaim the world they once called home.
To do so, they assault and take over an undersea missile base to start a nuclear war that will destroy the "ape-primitives" with their own weapons. This compelling story gives Peter Davison a chance to shine as a dramatic actor, with the Doctor not sure who he is more angry with-the Silurians or the humans. Especially since in a sub-story, human agents from a rival power have also infiltraited the sea base and unleash murder and treachery even amongst the Silurian and Sea Devil onslaught.
I really liked the fact that many of the human characters in the story, even some of the so-called good guys, were not really all that likeable. They were cranky, irritable, stubborn, and very quick to threaten force on the Doctor and his friends to get them to cooperate. Which makes total sense for characters who have been stuck in an undersea military base for months on end and are now under attack by unknown forces.
I also really liked the sets in this story. It seems they really put a lot of time, energy, effort, and money into making the setting really look like a futuristic undersea base. Right down to large water tanks for reactor coolant, which they use quite well in the story.
Ultimately, the Doctor is forced to make a choice-either destroy the Silurians and Sea Devils or let them slaughter all of humanity? This is despite the fact that the Doctor sympathizes with the Silurians and knows the history of their disastrous encounters with humanity in the past. When the Doctor finally makes his choice, his feelings could best be summed up in the Doctor's own simple, yet heartbreakingly spoken words, "there should have been another way."