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Doctor Who: The Web Planet (Story 13)
Doctor Who The Web Planet
Story 13
Actors: William Hartnell, Jacqueline Hill, William Russell, Maureen O'Brien
Director: Richard Martin
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
NR     2006     2hr 26min

"Somewhere, somehow we are being slowly dragged down!" When Doctor and his friends stray from their astral plane and the Tardis materializes in eerie alien surroundings, a mysterious force prevents them from leaving. Is it...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: William Hartnell, Jacqueline Hill, William Russell, Maureen O'Brien
Director: Richard Martin
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 - Black and White,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/05/2006
Original Release Date: 09/29/1975
Theatrical Release Date: 09/29/1975
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 26min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 19
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Planet of the Giant Ants?
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 03/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

""What have we got? Echoes, interference, gold, and now acid. Yes, similar properties to formic acid. It's strange, isn't it?" says the Doctor on the planet Vortis, on which the TARDIS has been forced to land. It's a dark and forbidding place, dotted with mesas and plateaus.The Zarbi, gigantic ants, with larvae guns, sowbug-looking creatures with a long snout that shoot lethal bolts of electricity, terrorize the Doctor and his friends. Trying to regain their planet are the Menoptera, gentle butterfly-like creatures. Controlling the Zarbi is the Animus, whose deep, malevolent female voice, is one of the well-realized aspects of the show. The Doctor is forced to discover the plans of the Menopteran invasion force so the Zarbi can defeat them. Young Vicki helps him and her actions here, unintended or not, shows her to be more resourceful compared to his wimpy granddaughter Susan. One piece of dialogue that'll make one either cringe or laugh is the Doctor's demand to the Animus re its ceiling-built tube-like communication unit: "Drop down this hairdryer or whatever it is."The reason why some may consider this story to be one of the worst is the realization of the Zarbi, but these steel and fibreglass-constructed insects are great, unless you have to be one. The rearmost legs, closest to the tail, are the actors, and John Scott Martin, who played one of them, said that one couldn't stand upright because the tail was longer than the actor. The only way to stand upright was to get on a one-foot riser block and place the tail over the block's end. The subterranean grub-like Optera are clearly laughable, the actors jumping up and down and grunting away, but their pale makeup indicate their time spent underground, and the hopping showing their evolutionary regression.But the Menoptera costumes are simply wonderful, black bodysuits with strips of yellow fur, and wings with the veins painted black that could flap a full five feet from wingtip to wingtip with a hidden mechanism. The actors playing the Menoptera adapt mime-like hand gestures hinting at a more feeling aspect of the race.In looking at the name of the giant insectoids, it's clear the storywriting team looked to entomology. There are the Zarbi, who are giant ants, the Menoptera, who look like butterflies, but have bee-like stripes, and then their subterranean evolutionary offshoot, the Optera. Well, ants and bees are all under the insect order Hymenoptera.Another interesting aspect is the name of the enemy. It's called the Animus, which means bitter hostility or hatred. However, the Menoptera see it more medical terms, by calling its headquarters the Carcinome. Vrestin tells Ian that the Animus appeared and grew like a fungus. In other words, they see it as a malignant cancer on the world of Vortis. And the Living Cell Destructor, or Isop Tope, is analogous to an isotope that kills cancer.For people raised on Star Wars or Jurassic Park, the visuals may seem lame, but as an experimental story, it works wonders. One of the most imaginative stories, and an attempt to see how weird Dr. Who could get. Ratings for this story averaged 12.5 million viewers, and Episode 1 charted at #7, the lowest-rating one at #14, so not bad at all!"
World wide web indeed!
Junglies | Morrisville, NC United States | 07/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This story was originally broadcast between 13 February and 20 March 1965 and is renowned for being one of the most scary Doctor Who stories.Not since 'Them' which postulated giant ants careering around the desert in Nevada had a story involving insects generated so much excitement in Britain at least. No-one likes bugs, which is one of the reasons audiences cheered at 'Starship Troopers', but our hostility is directed at small ones. We know that ants in particular, are highly intelligent creatures but that does not mean that they have to be our friends.This story is one where the idea of a central, superior intelligence is again utilised. It is a device which was used quite a lot throughout the Doctor's travels and hear it appears as a metaphor for big government. Doctor Who has always been an anti-authoritarian, libertarian figure and this story is one which draws those characteristics into sharp relief. The Zarbi are controlled by the intelligence as unlike earth ants they are described originally as peaceful, mindless creatures. Transformed by the intelligence into mindless drones they capture and enslave through the use of a thought control device and tearing the wings of the Menoptra. Clearly they represent government forces while the Menoptra, thrust into a warlike role in order to regain their planet from the forces of darkness represent the light. Butterflies are the beloved of nature. We admire their light wing structure and the varieated colours. They stand for liberty and creativity, of arts and intellectual persuits.Despite their weapons being no match for those of the Zarbi and the intelligence the Menoptra engage the enemy and with the Doctor's help overcome.The story has some surreal moments and is slower paced but we should not forget that this is drama after all. Unlike some of the Pertwee stories where there is a case for more ruthless editing, in this case the pace is used to establish and build on the concept of the passage of time and to help create a bigger scale than the studio dimensions would allow.I believe that the passage of time since these shows were broadcast has not been good to them. It is hard to understand their impact on viewers who were young at the time and had no prior knowledge of some of the special effects. Also, I believe that most of us have been so exposed to second by second action and a dizzying array of special effects over the last twenty years or so, that they have become almost like a drug such that we crave them all the time, and slower paced action shows do not meet the need.For it's time this was an excellent Hartnell story and a favourite for many of the viewers at the time."
Some people don't understand
John Liosatos | Crook County, IL United States | 03/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"To judge a story made 40 years ago using today's standards is absoluely unfair. Some people are clueless. Of course it's gonna look inferior. It was made in 1966. They didn't have the artsy effects that they currently have. DUH!!! The truth is that Web Planet was considered ground-breaking at the time. The effects used had never been tried before. Had it come out today, it would be labeled innovative and win many Sundance movie awards for independent film making, or whatever it is they call that festival. The preceding rant was brought to you by me. If you don't like it dial 5477-69-277 on your phone pad (or simply click on the "no" button). I've stated this in a previous review but here it is again. If the story is bad, that is one thing, but to knock a 1960s story for using the special effects of the 1960s is utterly ridiculous. The Web Planet will keep the viewer enthralled throughout."
Gotta' Give an "A" for Effort
Tim Miner (tim_miner@charlottecvb.o | Charlotte, NC | 10/25/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As you can see from the entries below, "The Web Planet," is one of the most debated Dr. Who episodes of all time, evoking a true "love it or leave it" feeling with all who see it. William Hartnell is one of my favorite Doctors and his adventures have always been a great deal of fun to watch. If you love Hartnell, along with Ian and Barbara, buy this video. If you hate this'll hate her even more.The story, although very strange and 2 episodes too long, is commendable for the lengths it tries to go to to create more than just an ugly, evil alien species on an "Earth-Normal" world. One of the series' greatest faults is that it too often made you hate the 2-D monster. Here, seriously constrained by production vaulues and the f/x of the time, the author tries very hard to paint the picture of a 3-D world with interacting species who are trying to survive. The Zarbi are not bent on world conquest...they are mindless slaves. The Menoptera and the Optera are silly, but interesting allies for the TARDIS crew. The Menoptera dancing always comes under attack. I think that this movement was an attempt to come up with a style and cultre that was alien to Earth...that was odd and off-putting. It succeeds. When you watch this it in the spirit with which it was presented. Think about the ideas they are trying to convey and the scope they tried to embrace. If you do'll have fun and enjoy it.If you want it all to be wrapped up in a pretty picture with incredible effects and superb may want to reevaluate whether or Doctor Who is for'll never quite get that."