Syfy fans around the globe can rejoice because Studio Canal has beautifully restored two absolute gems of British Science Fiction Pop Culture Dr. Who and the Daleks / Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. Before I jump into this, anyone who is religious about Dr. Who Canon, may want to accept that these two films exist outside of Canon, but are still very enjoyable. It is best to think of them as alternative What-if scenarios. But on the flip side of things if like me you are not massively up to date on your Dr. Who knowledge these may be a great place to jump in.
Dr. Who and the Daleks
The first film is Dr. Who and the Daleks and this movie is a remake of the original six episodes, black and white, arc that aired in 1964. It stars Peter Cushing as the Dr and in this adaptation, he is a regular human who has invented the Tardis as a transportation device. The film sees the Dr, his two granddaughters Susan and Barbara, and Barbara’s boyfriend Ian get transported to a mysterious Alien Planet. The planet turns out to be the homeworld of the Daleks and their enemies The Thals. The Dr and his team are taken prisoner by the Daleks and are then forced to team up with the Thals to defeat their newfound foe.
I won’t say too much about the plot because I really do not want to spoil the fun for any of you. But I will say this, I was absolutely surprised by this movie. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a Dr Who Fan, but I am a fan of Peter Cushing so I thought I would give the film a watch and I was completely sucked in. To begin with, the film was shot in technicolor and there is something special about movies like these, they just have a certain charm to them and the 4K rerelease just makes everything look stunning.
As for the cast well, Peter Cushing is the perfect mix of grandfatherly and endearing. He may not be the modern Dr. But he does a fantastic job in this film. The next big standout was Roy Castle as Ian Chesterton, who brings some fun slapstick chops to the role and is very enjoyable in every scene. the film was produced on a budget of £180,000, which would be approximately £3.5 Million today, And it shows, yes the sets look ridiculous but by 1960s standards they are pretty good. In a time when science fiction was yet to be taken seriously, this film really did go all out. Another fact that I liked was the prevalence of Nuclear War and Nuclear Fall out, do not forget that this was two decades after the first nuclear weapons had been used, the fear of nuclear destruction would be fresh inside everyone’s minds, so using it as part of the plot was quite a marvelous idea.
Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D
The follow-up to Dr. Who and the Daleks, this is still the alternate Dr. Who and not a part of the main series. Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D SEE’S Dr. Who and his companions arrive on Earth in the year 2150 AD, only to discover that the planet has been invaded and its population enslaved by the terrifying Daleks.
Interestingly enough this was the first-ever Dr. Who program I have ever seen. It was a rerun being shown on a Sunday afternoon and I had been grounded for playing a prank on my sister, little did my parents know that I had found an old black and white Tv in are attic and got it working under my bed, So instead of sitting in my room and thinking about what I did I watched Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. After all these years I was very happy to revisit this film and finally understand what is going on. It is the weaker of the two mostly due to the recasting of Ian and the massively reduced budget.
But that does not stop it from being a fun science fiction story, in fact, I would argue that it is a better story and one that the British population could easily relate to. Again this is a post-World War 2 UK and they avoided an invasion by Nazi Germany, but the concept of an Alien Invasion in London with human collaborators in black uniforms, well it is hard not to see the Nazi parallels there. An interesting fact about this film is that it was sponsored by the cereal Sugar Puffs and due to that fact you will see billboards for the cereal all over London in the movie, not important just a random fact.
So if you are a hardcore Whovian or a casual viewer who would want to check out an awesome piece of cinema history then I would advise you to grab yourself a copy of these films as soon as possible.