Friday, 6 March 2009

March 2009, Week 9: Planet Of The Giants


  1. Right.
    My last review was a bit of a rant. So I'll be more gentle this time round.

    Planet Of the Giants is all right. It's a watchable run around about the crew being shrunken down into microscopic size, after a bizarre accident in the Tardis.
    Message to other TimeLords. Don't open the bloody doors when you're landing. It's a right old pickle.

    The crew land amid a story involving insecticide and espionage and murder and all that sort of caper.
    At times it's quite interesting, but mostly it's rather dull, especially by Episode three where the narrative runs out of steam that it's reduced to people talking on the telephone with a hanky over it.
    The good stuff is with the giant size insects like ants and fly's and what not. they look terrific.
    The sets are pretty cool too, and fr teh time are very believable.

    The crew themselves are pretty much okay. except for Barbara who goes a bit loopy and decides to hide the fact she touches insecticide, rather than get help to sort it out. the plot does fall on its bottom there, rather.
    By episode 3, the crew are just looking to get back to the Tradis, and this drives the whole episode/ frankly I was cheering them on, so it could be over and I could get to Daleks invading Earth.

    My review is flippant, a bit like the episode.
    Again. not really my idea of Doctor Who, but it's all right. i won't be itching to watch it again.


    What's good?

    Barbara's arse - over ian's shoulder.

    What's bad?

    William Hartnell not fluffing lines. hey! I've grown to love that. What's with this remembering lines business. hmmm?

    What's silly?

    That very small and camp pistol.

  2. Planet of Giants. The title promises a lot. And on the visual side it really delivers. There are some great sets in the garden and in the lab and the giant insects are particularly superb. The fly standing behind Barbara and licking its legs is absolutely wondrous and the 1964 audience must have been totally blown away. There are not enough superlatives for the achievement.
    Unfortunately, the story that the effects are attached to is really rather dull. There are some boring rather stereotyped characters- unscrupulous businessman, misguided and obsessive scientist- that seem to think they can get away with murder and make money from their faulty insecticide without anyone noticing at any point that it kills everything. Tosh. The performances are really uninteresting and poor too.
    The regulars are all quite good though I don't understand why Barbara just doesn't say "I touched it Ian. I'm going to die". That would have at least injected some urgency and fitted more with the Barbara I have come to know and love.
    The story overall just doesn't live up to the eerie threatening opening and the visuals. A rather subdued start to season two for me.

  3. As has been pointed out, the special effects in this are really rather excellent. From the giant sets - the sink in particular standing out - to the great pull-back revealing that the maze of twisty passages (all alike) is in fact a path of crazy paving.

    An odd thing about this one is that there are two parallel stories going on - the story of our chums trying to get back to the Tardis, and the story of those naughty big-business-science-types who murder for profit, and are accessories-after-the-fact for science. But the two stories don't really interact.

    Although our heroes do blind the murderer by blowing up a flammable aerosol in his face (don't try this at home, kids!) completely by accident a policeman comes through the door to apprehend him a moment afterwards. So it wasn't really by our heroes' plan that the villains were foiled.

    Also notable is the fact that the plan to attract attention to the murderers is via the medium of arson. I'm not sure they really thought that one through, either.

    This show also has one of the all-time great cliff-hanger resolutions. It's not obvious how our heroes escape, but when you see it, it makes perfect sense.

    To avoid being flushed down the plughole, our pocket-sized protagonists hide in the overflow pipe.

    Every sink has one. Lovely solution. Makes perfect sense. Didn't occur to me at all.

    The Doctor gets all the best lines in this one from the start, apologising to Barbara with "My Dear Barbara - was I rude to you just now? So sorry... I always forget the niceties under pressure" to his sheer glee at the coming explosion of pressurised gas: "Can't be long now... Hoo-hoo!"

    When everyone needs to read some notes left by our resident Evil (Or At The Very Least Seriously Misguided) Scientist, but can't because they're too small, the Doctor says: "We shall have to make a map!" Some pacing later, they've got a smaller version of the notes that they can read. It's another lovely moment in a story full of them.

    And, yes, I take the point that Barbara's not telling everyone about touching the DEADLY POISON is just dumb, but nevertheless - I thought this was a nice little story.

    Ah-ha. Ah-ha. I slay me.

  4. I’ll keep this brief or risk repeating a lot of what has been said. I’m not keen on Planet of the Giants. It’s boring, the eco-thriller plot doesn’t really feel very Doctor Who and fails to really connect with the series regulars.

    And yet it’s stuffed full of lovely effects and some really great ideas. This story would have been improved a hundred fold if they had minimised the... uh... Big People plot and just done more with the perils of travelling across a garden and house when you’re an inch tall. We know this cast can mesmerise the viewer with a decent script and no extra actors or sets so why bother feeding us all this guff about insecticide? Bah.

    Can you believe this was intended to be a four parter? What a lucky escape.

    I didn’t like it. Irwin Allen must have though.

    Better than – Nothing, this is even worse than Marinus.

    Not as good as – The Keys of Marinus!