Resurrection Of The Daleks REVIEWS
From the meteor scored surface of distant Frontios to time troubled 1984 Earth and the a prison /dalek ship in the far flung future.
Have fond memories of Resurrection Of The Daleks, first saw it as one of those Saturday afternoon movie compilations in the late '80's and have loved it ever since. Yeah it's is full of weird bits of illogic logic but reckon most things are explainable but Resurrection Of The Daleks is such a cracker of a story, fast paced, full of tension and atmosphere that the small slip up's really don't upset the over all flow of the episodes. Plus Resurrection Of The Daleks is the one story with a higher body count than either of the first two Terminator films, even an old guy witnessing a massacre and a lone bloke with a metal detector cop it but the main new bad guy is the only guest cast member to get away!
Basically the daleks are up shit creek, they've lost the war with the Movellans because those crafty disco 'bots came up with a virus that turns dalek tissue into shaving foam. So on the run and in tatters they decide to nick a few canisters of the virus as a way of using that to find a cure from it and hide them on on the nearest planet they're time corridor could reach and go off and find Davros who they would've used last time if not for those pesky ex -prisoners from Earth handing him over to be tried and convicted. Now 90 years is a long time to be locked up in a space station prison and one can assume that Davros would've been unfrozen for his trial, maybe had some modifications put into his chair like a syntheziser or that little hypno ray thing in -between freezings and was then bundled off to be re-frozen out in the depths of space.
Suppose the Earth authorities got pretty lax with security (fuck if the daleks haven't shown up yet, doubt they will after 90 odd years, why bother upgrading anything?) Which a lot of the crew of that station, particularly the new security boy Mercer, complain about. The Daleks need a bit of help due to depleted numbers so they capture and duplicate as many humans as they can lay their suckers on, thinking their duplicates will be really loyal after the 'dalek conditioning on the run' but because its done on the cheap - it doesn't work. Pretty much all this is explained in the dialogue if you look for it but due to the pace of Resurrection Of The Daleks it does take careful listening. The only thing that doesn't make sense is why they suddenly decided to knock up a 5th Doctor with companions at the last minute and thought they'd just get them to go off and kill the Time Lord high council.
Davison is on top form as the Doctor finally getting to face his arch enemies for the first and only time while wearing celery. Tegan has some nice moments but unfortunately isn't given enough to do being bed ridden for the better of part 2 and Turlough doesn't get locked up for once but spends his time wandering around the prison ship or the dalek ship and being threatened by his quickly formed ally, Mercer and offering what appears to be cowardly but sensible advice.
Not surprising the Tardis crew have not too much to do in Resurrection Of The Daleks but be swept up in events as there are a high number of supporting cast members. The distrusting and cynical Mercer, the even more cynical, sarcastic and resourceful Dr. Styles played by Rula Lenska. The stony faced schemer and strategist Dalek Commander Lytton and Rodney Bewes cowardly double agent Stein were all excellent. The bomb squad were good too, Colonel Archer, sergeant Calder and the rest were perfect from going from bewildered and friendly to cold and brutal so well confusing both Tegan and that whining professor (she was a let down) They confused me though with their OTT deaths at the hands of the daleks at the end...
Also special mention to Terry Molley, way better than Gooderson but not up there with Micheal Wisher (who was asked back to play the part but couldn't get scheduling right. But he really makes the role his own, ok he rants a lot more but when you look that way why not rant? Love how the camera without fail does a zoom in close up every time he has a good 'ol rant! Plus for once he tells the Dr. what he thinks of him, basically that the 'ol doc has no back bone when the latter has him at gun point and is threatening to execute him. The good thing about Resurrection Of The Daleks is the dialogue is rich and well delivered and combined with the pace of director Matthew Robinson you really get dragged along by the scruff of the neck.
The broody set piece as prisoners come spilling out onto the street only to be shot down by policemen with machine pistols is a nice opener. Followed up immediately by the Tardis crew going through some really heavy, "Tardis out of control" acting is a great start. The horror moments are high on impact such as the space prison crew members faces and limbs melting off with the gas the dalek troopers use against them and the first appearance of the daleks as they blow up the prison door and come in blazing gives them a menace not felt since genesis when combined with the moody lighting and great incidental score.
Speaking of which Malcolm Clarke does it again as with Enlightenment the year before, his eerie music heightens and compliments the visuals in a lot of scenes especially the warehouse scenes and the bit where Tegan gets chased down the docks by the 2 nasty dalek controlled policemen. Stein's death was well done too, think the first time someone has virtually given the finger to the daleks after being shot and he blows up everything!
The final battle was well staged too, duplicate soldiers vs. dalek troopers vs. daleks vs. Davros daleks & troopers vs. the Dr.; the first time we see daleks destroying daleks in battle! And in the end, yeah she really seen a lot of death do you really blame Tegan for getting out after the final body tally of this one? That was the only way she could go and it was a brief and brutal tear jeaker, Davison seemed particulary upset at her descision to leave after all the death and destruction and again points out, that despite the wonders of travel, this lifestyle continues to follow the Dr and affect those around him.
Yeah many fans don't like Resurrection Of the Daleks but for the instantly quotable dialogue, the breakneck direction and high production values for almost everything and the fact I managed to pull off showing this whole story to a bunch of non fans 20 years ago to which they all said that Dr Who was the best thing they'd ever seen action wise from the Brits, prompts me to give it a nostalgic 10/10....
One real issue I have is how the dalek supreme managed to tune himself into the Tardis scanner...what remote was he using?
Resurrection Of the Daleks is the Dalek equivalent of Earthshock. Tonnes of gunfire, chases, bullets, old enemies, flashbacks, a companion leaving, mercenaries, a disenchanted ship's crew, and a plot so twisted that it could be a french loaf. What the hell is going on here?
Resurrection Of The Daleks looks great at the start with the gun battle at the deserted warehouses and men in space suits dropping like flies. Then it goes up itself never to return. Okay, I wanna get (some of) the illogical plot out of the way first; Why does Stein (even though he is a dalek agent) still behave like a rebel when no one is around? If everyone is getting duplicated where are the originals ending up? How did the duplicates of the Doctor, Turlough and Tegan get created? If the Movellans won the war, where are they? Why are the cannisters on Earth? Why were they sent down the time corridor? Why is Davros in a prison ship that has virtually no security? How the hell are the daleks going to invade Gallifrey and assassinate the High Council? Why doesn't the Doctor remember Leela in the flashback sequence?
Now lets have more fun and look at where the writer pinched some of his IDEAS for Resurrection Of The Daleks; the opening sequence of humans under robotic dalek control is straight out of the Robomen from Dalek Invasion of Earth. The time corridor / chase scenario is from The Chase. Davros wants to change the daleks way of thinking plus the whole Dalek faction thing is from Evil of The Daleks. The Doctor strapped to the operating table with a mind probe and obligatory flashback is from Day of the Daleks. Davros (and the Doctor attempting genocide) is from Genesis of the Daleks. And then we have the Movellan thing from Destiny of the Daleks. Even names like Stein, Styles and Galloway are from previous Dalek stories. Oh, even though its not Dalek-related; scary robotic policemen - Terror of the Autons.
Now, on first viewing (when you're fourteen) Resurrection Of The Daleks is really cool cos there is tonnes of action and some great scenes like the Daleks bursting in and taking control of the prison ship. Plus there is the Dalek hunt in the warehouse and then the Dalek getting pushed out the window. And lots and lots of death. Was this the story that had more death than Terminator 2? You watch Resurrection Of The Daleks now and although it is still just as action packed I kind of end up scratching my head with a plot that seems so self-aware cos its got Daleks in it that I was wondering "God; what NOW?" When that line about exterminating the High Council came in I laughed. Then laughed again cos as soon as it was said it was forgotten again!
Writer Eric Saward wants to have another bite of the Earthshock cherry here so there is tonnes of crashing about and lots of death. Everyone snuffs it bar Lytton and his copper mates, plus the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough. Some better than others too - Colonel Archer writhes like a spastic in a washing machine and makes some very strange orgasmic noises, while others like Professor Styles just die gracefully. I think the director said "Make the most of your death scenes guys; its the only one you'll get!" Stein looks like he's table dancing when he gets it and then lunges across the console to hit the self destruct button.
I better mention the reason the Daleks are here; Davros. We've already had two actors portray him and now we have a third. I've read how passionate and dedicated Terry Molloy is to the part (and good on him too cos he has ALWAYS made himself available to reprise the part to the point of turning down other work) BUT he really isn't a patch on Michael Wisher. Davros just seems to have gone all ranty, senile and just plain OLD now. He carries on like a pensioner denied his free bus pass than an evil dictator. Also the redesign of him - which makes you wonder HOW did Davros redesign his chair when he's in stasis? - isn't very good. The mask is about one size to big, he's hunched over and that blue eye thing just doesn't work.
Couple of other things that grabbed my attention; a shaving cream fight!!! All hell breaks loose and the Daleks whip out the Brut and start spraying each other! Then there is (from the D-Generation's "Olden Days" soap opera a nice homage to Stupid Hat Day. Check out the endless displays of stupid hats; the McDonalds hats worn by the prison crew to those Dalek inspired ones worn by Lytton and the troops. Which begs the question; HOW DID THE DALEKS THINK THAT UP? Do they have a fashion expert in their ranks?
Oh; Tegan leaves (nearly forgot!). Quick and painless thankfully but I wonder WHY she left? The deaths in Resurrection of the daleks were just as horrific as in other ones and on top of that she was unconscious for most of it anyway! It actually suits Tegan to leave this abruptly cos she always was an impulsive character but I was wondering if when she returned to the warehouse was it cos she changed her mind (again) or was it cos she left her handbag, passport, money and clothes on board the Tardis?
Anyway, Resurrection Of The Daleks is a very complex, convoluted, twisted, contradictory story. Sure it all falls apart faster than a leper in a wind tunnel but Resurrection Of The Daleks is still really good if you switch your brain to neutral. 8/10. Why not?
I was given Resurrection Of The Daleks on DVD a few years ago - and I have to admit it wasn't on my list of "must haves" at the time. I remembered Resurrection Of The Daleks as being OK - not as good as Genesis, but a lot better than Destiny (considering I couldn't remember any of Destiny, that didn't mean much!). Then I re-watched Resurrection Of The Daleks and decided it was quality - and was glad it was part of the early stages of my collection. I've watched Resurrection Of The Daleks a couple of times since, and each time I think it gets better - however that could be because of it's main weakness.
Resurrection Of The Daleks is too complicated!
I'm generally a fan of Saward scripts, as usually there are no questions left unanswered... but I wonder if in this one he might have tried to bite off more than he can chew? That's not to say I don't enjoy it - as I said, each time I watch it I enjoy Resurrection Of The Daleks more and more - but as soon as you start getting rival Daleks it starts to get confusing... there are still a few questions I haven't quite answered - why earth? Why 1984? Why Lytton?
I think I've nearly got those queries answered though. It's Earth cos the Supreme Dalek wanted to capture the Doctor and he knows that the Doctor is always banging on about Earth, and setting the corridor to there will definitely trap him eventually. I don't know really why they need to store the Movellan virus there though... but that's pretty minor (as is the fact that Tegan can lift it no worries and even says how light it is... but it takes two of the Dalek guards to carry one canister!). The fact that it's 1984 is probably just a fluke - no big deal. I have no idea who Lytton is though. He's a good character - but how the hell is he involved? I don't think this is ever really explained. Given the way the story ends (he looks pretty pleased that the Daleks have all been destroyed), I'm thinking that he's from Earth and works for some kind of "Torchwood" like area, knew about the Daleks being in the warehouse, and used his two cops to infiltrate the Daleks and, his initial plan was to try and turn them against each other... maybe... in the end they all got killed so he went off with his two cops to get in with the Cybermen and the Cryons - of which I don't really remember much... so I'll re-watch that over the long weekend... maybe that'll give me more answers!
The only other small gripe I have is with Resurrection Of The Daleks is the genetically modified doubles. I like that they have them - but I don't really get why they need them... nor do I know how they got Tegan and Turlough ones? Unless maybe they're blank ones ready for the real Tegan and Turlough to be duplicated into them (via bubble wrap!). Maybe if they'd cut the Lytton sub-plot, and explained the doubles a bit more, this would have been a perfect story... but unfortunately for us the "unexplained and superfluous sub plots" are to be a blue print for the next season...
Back to this story - yes I think I'd love to have a bubble wrap bed.
And with the complications out of the way, the rest of Resurrection Of The Daleks is awesome! I guess there are similarities with this and Earthshock - not only does it bring back a big Monster, but it's also dark, fast moving and a lot of people get killed... probably the most ever (although I guess Logopolis lost a whole planet... and Pirate Planet lost numerous planets... maybe it's just the highest body count of characters with names!). Finally the Daleks seem to have gotten their shit together - a decent plan to get rid of the Doctor and the Time Lords (they finally realise that they're the ones that screw their plans all the time!), while at the same time they're going to wake up Davros and get him to cure the Movellan virus... this part of the story really gives Destiny a bit more of a purpose... it's still not very good, but it does set this up nicely. The Daleks have even recruited their own crack foot soldiers... complete with WTF helmets! Apparently JNT cracked it when he saw the helmets, but it was too late to redesign them..
Production wise Resurrection Of The Daleks is faultless. From the dreary docks of London, to the spiffy Dalek ship to the rustic prison ship, everything is perfect in this. Really, the production benefited from the industrial action that delayed it the previous year (although I believe Graeme Harper was going to direct originally? Either way, both he and Robinson were untried at the time...).
Everything is great - especially the incidental music (apparently the same guy that did Sea Devils) which is something I don't normally notice, stands out here. Performance wise, I can't fault anyone either. Wisher was going to return as Davros, but Molloy does just as well - infinitely better than Gooderson, while all the Daleks work well (voiced by Brian "Mr Sarah Jane Smith" Miller - OK, guess who watched this with production text on the screen last night!), and Lytton, although being confusing in presence, is exceptionally well played. I really like Stein too... he's given a couple of odd lines ("I can't stand confusion in my mind") but he does a great job of playing the double agent early on... first time I watched the DVD I was shocked by his turn. A strength of both his performance and his character is that you really care for him when he sacrifices himself to blow up the ship at the end.
Possibly the worst performance is the girl in the army crew... she used to host Play School in the UK... yep, I just wanted to mention her so I could use that fact!! All the regulars are once again in top form - Turlough is almost getting gung ho with all his heroics, the Doctor is brilliant - especially with his throw away at the end where he says "maybe I need to rethink my ways"... really gets to the heart of Dr Who. And Tegan saves her best for last - her farewell is touching... I'm going to say it's either 1st or 2nd in the original series (Jo being the other). When she runs back in and says "Brave heart Tegan - I'll miss you Doctor" it's real lump in the throat stuff...
You'd have to say that Tegan's farewell is an iconic moment - and such is the strength of this, there are probably 3 others... of course there's the Doctor holding Davros at gunpoint which is epic (and the "imbecile" moment afterwards is gold), and then there's also the Dalek getting pushed out of the warehouse and the return of the mutant... and the cat's cute...
So yes, there's a hell of a lot to love here... but I have to take something off for it's over complexity... but not too much, cos it has introduced me to the bubble wrap bed (well, Ark in Space introduced me, Resurrection Of The Daleks sold me!)
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