Doctor Who: The Enemy Within DVD
(NB: The DVD cover gives the title "Doctor Who The Movie")
"I love humans. They always see patterns in things that aren't there."
Made to re-launch television's most famous time traveller, Doctor Who: The Enemy Within is an expensive feature-length episode, which attempts to continue the classic series and work as a stand-alone film.
Transporting the remains of the Master, Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor is diverted to San Francisco in 1999. Regenerating in the form of Paul McGann, the Doctor gains a new companion in heart surgeon Dr Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook) and must stop the Master from destroying the world. A fun, action filled return for Doctor Who. The script for this is a bit on the simplistic side but it makes sense that it was, considering the show was trying to draw a new market. At any rate, the positives far outweigh the negatives in this fast paced romp.
Paul McGann is splendid as the Doctor and instantly makes the role his own - something it occasionally took the TV Doctors a few episodes to fully achieve. Sylvester McCoy as the outgoing Doctor is flawless. Solitary, a bit more serious and melancholy in appearance and urgent and insistent in his heartrending final moments in the operating room. This scene is one of the most emotionally charged scenes in all of Whodom and certainly makes for one of the most intense regenerations of the Doctor's centuries-spanning existence! The new set design for the interior of the TARDIS is breathtaking in all its dark pre-Raphaelite/Gothic/Victorian splendour and the supporting roles, filled by Daphne Ashbrook, Yee Jee Tso and Eric Roberts (as the Master), are top notch. Even minor roles like that of the morgue attendant, played by MADtv's Will Sasso, are good. The locations are also standout and there is some very nice dialogue between the Doctor and Grace Holloway (played by Ashbrook) and some fun moments where Roberts really gets to ham it up! It was very disappointing that this pilot never led to a new Fox series but this movie is a real treat. Don't let the somewhat simplistic plot detract from an otherwise wonderful production.
There are two BBC trailers and a Fox promo "introducing the Doctor" to American audiences. The interview section features Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Eric Roberts, Daphne Ashbrook, director Geoffrey Sax and executive producer Philip Segal, twice. The main interviews are on-set promotional sound-bites. However, Segal's second interview was filmed in 2001 and finds him spending 10 minutes explaining why the programme turned out as it did. He also offers a two-minute tour of the new Tardis set. Alongside a gallery of 50 promotional stills is a four-minute compilation of behind-the-scenes "making of" footage. There are alternative versions of two scenes. As usual with Doctor Who DVDs there are optional production subtitles and these offer a wealth of background information. Four songs used in the film are available as separate audio tracks, and John Debney's musical score can be listened to in isolation. Finally there is a commentary track by Geoffrey Sax, which contains some interesting material but does tend to state the obvious a lot. The sound is very strong stereo and the 4:3 picture is excellent with only the slightest grain.
- Picture format: 4:3 Non-Anamorphic PAL
- Region: 2
- Soundtrack(s): English Dolby Digital 2.0
Review by Alec Deacon
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