With Peter Cushing as "Dr. Who",
Roberta Tovey, Bernard Cribbins,
Jill Curzon, Andrew Keir.
Screenplay by Milton Subotsky,
from the original BBC serial by Terry Nation.
Produced by Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg,
Directed by Gordon Flemyng.
|Synopsis: Earth is an eerie and sinister place in 2150 AD. Subjected to a ferocious Dalek invasion, it has been bombarded with meteorites and cosmic rays. Its cities have been smashed and human beings turned into living dead men -- Robomen -- able to act only on radioed instructions from their masters. Only a small group of resistance fighters hold out in London. But then a brilliant scientist, Dr. Who, is transported into the future by a time and space machine. He arrives determined to destroy the Daleks.|
A Review by Stuart Gutteridge 13/12/98
Unfortunately, the second of the two Dalek films doesn`t live up to the expectations that Dr Who And The Daleks set.
Peter Cushing and Roberta Tovey return to reprise their roles, and while they portray them excellently, they fail to bring anything new to their characters. Jill Curzon as Dr Who`s niece Louise plays the part well, but the only thing memorable about her character is her great dress sense. Bernard Cribbens as PC Tom Campbell is also another failure here; the character seems to be there for comic effect and nothing else. The only believable and memorable character is the black marketeer, Brockley, wonderfully brought to life by Philip Madoc.
A lot of the problems with Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. could have been avoided. There is a lot of padding, particularly aboard the Dalek Saucer, where Tom is forced to disguise himself as a Roboman. The interior scenes appear to have been neglected, and the Dalek control room looks cramped and to some extent gaudy. That said, however, the exterior scenes are superb: the depiction of London ravaged by the Daleks is a joy to behold, and the sight of the Dalek Saucer in flight is particularly memorable. Add to this several action scenes, let down only by the accompanying music, and you have some tense moments, in viewing terms.
Although Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. has aged badly, it is impossible to believe that the setting is the twenty second century, given the appearance of the humans. It also makes the mistake of putting effects before drama: if this had been reversed, this film would have been a winner. As it is, Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. is watchable at best.
"Attention Robomen...attack the Daleks!" by Joe Ford 2/6/02
I was waltzing through HMV recently and spotted the Peter Cushing double feature cassette. Tip-toeing up and down the aisle I checked to see that nobody was about before picking it up to read the back cover. Some part of me, that childish, adventure seeking part desperately wanted me to buy it. But how could I? It had a huge technicolour picture of a Dalek on the front! I would be laughed out of the shop! Fortunately my partner Simon was there so I waited outside whilst he took it to the counter. Bless him.
After watching Dr Who and the Daleks (and quite impressed by the ability to squeeze all the best bits into ninety minutes!) I kept watching. You see The Dalek Invasion of Earth isn't one of my favourite stories… aside from some impressive location work over Westminster I find the production hard to merit so I was intruiged to see how this big screen version matched up.
Oh come on, it is just GREAT! It exposes the padding that fills so much of the series by filling the ninety minutes with excitement and action, retaining exactly the same plot but without any of the plodding 'character' work. This film reminds me why it's so great to be a kid, explosions, guns, Daleks attacking en masse… who gives a shit if Susan isn't half as developed when you have a van crashing through a dozen Daleks in the street or the Daleks attacking a tool shed with a traitor inside and blowing it to smitherines!
Peter Cushing makes a very sweet Doctor and although he is pretty much as shallow as the film itself he still makes quite an impression and makes me wonder just how he would have handled the series' role. It's probably blasphemy to say this (especially considering that terrible but catchy song she released!) but I find Robert Tovey's Susan (in both films) far more engaging then Carole Ann Ford's. She might be younger but she doesn't do all that shrieking and wailing and she is inquisitve and educated. How refreshing. Benard Cribbins does a fine job with the Tom character but he is so lazily scripted (c'mon he accepts within minutes he has travelled through time!) it's not really an issue.
You get the idea, no one cared much about the characterisation they just wanted to get to the major selling point of the films... Daleks! Daleks! Daleks! They look great in this film! Shots of them patrolling around the shadowy streets or zooming around their huge mountain hide-away are terrific. Against a realistic back drop like this they make absolutely terrifying opponents.
I can understand why people wouldn't like this film. It goes against one of the fundermental principles of the TV series, putting flashy set pieces and action ahead of the plot and characterisation but I find it a refreshing change. Just ninety minutes of mindless fun that takes you back to when you were six/seven going round the house screaming 'Dar-licks!' 'Dar-licks!" and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Mind you I could never excuse that seriously over dramaticised score which renders any drama void. I suggest you don't have the volume too loud on this one.
The best Doctor Who movie ever... by default! by Tim Roll-Pickering 4/2/03
The second Dalek movie initially causes fear that it will have all the failings of Dr. Who and the Daleks but it is clear that the writers and producers have decided to enhance this one. This time the film is an adaptation of the television story The Dalek Invasion of Earth (or World's End if we must play that game) with some additional material reintroducing Dr. Who and his family as they meet policeman Tom Campbell. The characters of Ian and Barbara have been replaced by Tom and Dr. Who's niece Louise and whilst the latter is completely redundant to the film, contributing nothing whatsoever to the plot, the former is a significant improvement over his predecessor. The only overtly humorous moment comes in the scene where Tom is disguised as a Roboman and is trying to hide himself during an eating session. This scene works since it in no way diminishes the character by making him look foolish.
Elsewhere the movie is a clear improvement on its predecessor due to a change of emphasis. Although it is now difficult to view the fashions and architecture seen as being futuristic (unless the Dalek invasion followed a period of retroactive nostalgia), the film does generally do well in showing a devastated London as well as the impressive sets aboard the Dalek saucer and in their Bedford base. The Daleks have a new colour scheme, with their silver and blue casings appearing far more harsh than the earlier turquoise design. Combined with their greater mobility and many more actions scenes they come across as far more deadly than ever before. The Dalek saucer is perhaps the single most impressive feature of the movie, bringing a true sense of dread as it moves through the skies.
Greater liberties have been taken with the story, with several prominent characters from the television story such as Jenny, Larry and Phil all being eliminated, although others such as Brockley (formerly Ashton) and Wells are given more to do. There is a redistribution of several of the roles in the story with the result that the whole story feels a lot fresher than a more straightforward adaptation. Some of the more moving moments are lost, most obviously the romance between Susie/Susan and David but also Larry's quest to find his brother, but there are additions such as Brockley's cold treatment of Dr. Who and David and later his attempt to do a deal with the Daleks going hideously wrong. The climax of the movie is changed with the result that it is much easier to understand as well as being extremely impressive visually.
Although the characterisation is not the greatest several of the characters stand out and shine such as Wyler and Brockly as well as Dr. Who and Tom. But this is primarily an action movie aimed at the younger audience and given the greater budget available it is able to devote more attention to special effects than the television series. Although this results in less priority being given to the script and charecterisation the movie is enjoyable to watch. The acting is fortunate in that most of the well written parts in the movie are played by the better half of the cast, so Peter Cushing (Dr. Who), Bernard Cribbens (Tom), Andrew Keir (Wyler) Ray Brooks (David) and especially Philip Madoc (Brockly) all make their scenes a joy, though other actors such as Godfrey Quigley (Dortmun) are less effective. In general this is easily the better of the two Dalek movies and leaves one wishing that another one had been made to get things even better. 6/10
A Review by Richard Radcliffe 26/3/04
When the first Dalek film had exploded onto our screens one Saturday afternoon, I had been pretty impressed. I was keen therefore to watch the next one. And so one Sunday evening the second multicoloured Dalek film assaulted our senses.
My wife enjoyed the first one better. I enjoyed this one slightly better, but they are both terrific films, and hugely entertaining.
The second Film benefits from that common Doctor Who ingredient - the unfamiliar in a familiar environment. This distinguishes it from its predecessor and makes it a better film in my eyes. Seeing a smashed up London brings out a sense of wonder in me. Like many sci-fi shows (Survivors being one of the best) the struggle for survival that results from a planetwide catastrophe really brings the characters to the fore. You are left wondering what you would do in such a situation. I know this is fantasy, but plenty of people in bygone years have struggled just to LIVE, and that's fascinating to see how they did it.
The story is the same as Dalek Invasion of Earth. My wife was disappointed that they had just simply copied TV shows - she knew what was coming and this spoilt the whole thing for her. I can see totally why they copied TV episodes (lots didn't have a TV in the early 60s after all) but I know what she means. The characters are quite different. The settings look very different, but the story is pretty much as before. It is easy though to want new Who, after all we are used to that much these days.
The TARDIS crew are great in this. Peter Cushing is a understated, mild-mannered inventor. He's human, and this interesting twist on the legend makes the whole thing feel like The Time Machine Film, rather than Doctor Who - the TV show. Roberta Tovey is back as the likeable child Susie. She is possibly even better second time around too - and my view that this Susan would have been better than the Susan we had was further justified.
Ian and Barbara have gone. Instead we have Louise and Tom. Louise is lovely - she isn't as wet as The Daleks' Barbara. You really believe she can survive and help the Doctor out of trouble. Tom is great. Bernard Cribbins is a fine comedian, and he really gives the whole picture a fun feel to it.
The Daleks are impressive amongst the rubble of London and the Bedfordshire mines. There's more of them for a start, and they look much more impressive in colour. These two films really put the Daleks to the fore. They were really so much better this way in widescreen.
Terry Nation's story is a good one. Dalek Invasion of Earth (TV version) is one of the best early stories, and it translates extremely well to the big screen. There are dozens of great set pieces. The truck driving over the Daleks. The magnetized Daleks being sucked towards the centre of the complex. The flying saucer over the London rubble.
There's a lot to like about this second Dalek film. Its source material was great in virtually every regard. Impressive. 7/10
A Review by Finn Clark 15/5/06
I never liked this film when I was young. Compared with the first Cushing Dalek movie, it's meandering and cheerless, but watching it alongside the Hartnell TV original gave me a new perspective. Dalek Invasion of Earth is meant to be bleak, nasty and soul-destroying! The TV story is a masterpiece of atmosphere for precisely that reason. Watching the two versions back-to-back makes the Cushing movie seem almost jolly, with daft music, exciting fight scenes and comedy with Bernard Cribbins pretending to be a Roboman. In places it's still surprisingly grim, but for the first time I actually enjoyed this movie.
Terry Nation's original scripts have been cleverly tweaked. This "escaping from the Dalek cell" scene makes more sense, Susan's message to the Doctor provides irony and of course the Daleks are now destroyed by magnetism instead of just an explosion. ("Why are you afraid to dig your own mine?" says Cushing, in a scene that Hartnell would have loved.) Okay, it's silly science, but we're talking about David Whitaker here. By his standards it's practically Nobel Prize-winning physics... and it makes good movie logic. It's a plausible weakness for metal monsters and the resulting Dalek death scenes are so good that one's memory cheats and tries to insert them into the TV version too.
However again the visuals are inferior to TV! There are some lovely panorama shots and of course better special effects (albeit with some surprisingly dodgy model work), but the BBC original had all that location shooting and was more atmospheric. It also had the huge advantage of black-and-white. This movie is for those who prefer something more colourful and upbeat.
The Robomen are a good example of this. The TV Robomen were like proto-Cybermen two years before The Tenth Planet, chilling and zombie-like. In contrast the movie's Robomen are just thugs in shiny black leather, with biker's helmets and delicate little whips. They're more convincing in a fight, but less sinister.
The acting is surprisingly good. It doesn't measure up to the original's brutal realism, but it gets much closer than I'd expected. The biggest improvement is Ray Brooks, who blows the rather wet Peter Fraser out of the water as David. Philip Madoc is of course incomparable as the black-marketeer Brockley, though I liked Patrick O'Connell's Ashton too. (Yes, they are the same character. There are several random name changes, the most bizarre being Bernard Cribbins's policeman getting the surname Campbell.) On the other hand, Andrew Keir, despite being a pretty big name in British films, doesn't measure up to Bernard Kay for me... Andrew Keir brings his trademark Scottish gruffness to the role of Wyler/Tyler, but Bernard Kay is just scary. Incidentally the latter would return to Doctor Who several times as part of a busy and impressive acting career.
The biggest problem is of course the regulars, who again aren't a patch on the TV versions. Bernard Cribbins and Jill Curzon are better than Roy Castle and Jenny Linden in the first film, but they don't get much time in the limelight. It helps that the physical gags have been cut back this time, although I suspect Bernard Cribbins might have done quite well with them. Roberta Tovey is again efficient as Susan and still one of my favourite things about the Cushing movies... she's underused this time, but the horror of seeing a little girl trapped in this ghastly world is one of the few ways in which the film scores over the TV series. I particularly adore the shot of Susan and Dortmun waiting in darkness for the raiding party to return from the Dalek saucer.
Apparently Peter Cushing only agreed to do this film if Roberta Tovey returned. Nice one, mate! They may have ditched half the regulars from the earlier film, but you hardly notice since Cushing and Tovey were always the important ones. When I was younger I didn't even realise that Curzon had replaced Linden!
Cushing is more Doctorish this time, mostly because he's separated from Susan. Whenever Cushing shares screen time with Roberta Tovey, his granddaughter is overwhelmingly for him the most important thing in the scene. He's a lovely affectionate grandad, but the results aren't my idea of the Doctor. However here he has some good facial expressions and a Troughtonish air at times. He can be extremely worried about his friends, to the point of visible fear, and I love his delivery of "Back in the cell?" However he's also tougher. After pausing for David to gun down two Robomen, he impertuably continues with, "As I was saying, about three miles." I wish we'd seen his face just then, though.
"He'll have to come with us" when kidnapping Bernard Cribbins at the beginning is also kinda scary if you think about it! He's still no William Hartnell, though. Nothing he does comes within light-years of "you poor pathetic creatures", a speech which is inexplicably missing from the movie, or indeed Carole Ann Ford's beautiful departure scene. Hartnell is the main reason to watch the original, which drags in the middle when he's absent.
The Daleks are fine, but perhaps surprisingly I preferred them in the first film. There they lied, manipulated and hatched plots to destroy all life on Skaro, while here they mostly just exterminate people. They're happy. They rule the Earth. However in a nod to the fanboys, they count down time in rels! Someone had been reading their 1960s Dalek hardbacks.
As a curious aside, the rebel hideout is Embankment station on the London Underground's Bakerloo and Northern Lines. The station originally known as Embankment had been renamed in 1914, so in reality in 1966 there was no station of that name. However in 1976, ten years after the movie was released, reality bowed to fiction and the station got its old name back.
Overall this film is much more intelligent and faithful than I'd expected. It even looks good, albeit in a different way to the BBC original. The Cushing Dalek extermination effect is my favourite from any medium, incidentally. My only real niggle is with the two women in the wood. On TV it's a poignant episode that makes you sympathise with women who'll betray our heroes to the Daleks, but in the movie Sheila Steafel plays it evil from the start and makes it cartoonish.
As in the first movie, the best stuff is in the first half and the ending is weak. There's a big fight and everything blows up. Gee. Compared with the TV version, the movie is colourful and past-paced... but by its own lights, it's a bit of a mish-mash. The Robomen may no longer be Tenth Planet Cybermen, but they're still a nasty idea. We have metaphorical Nazi occupation (the Bedfordshire mine is a prison camp, complete with searchlights) in a family film. The results have integrity, but not much fun. I respect this film more now, but I repeat that as a child I didn't like it.
In retrospect I think it's a shame that they never made a third Dalek movie based on The Chase. It would of course have been laughable rubbish, but its light-hearted tone could have been charming with Cushing & co. and it would have been a laugh to see the wackier fruits of Terry Nation's imagination realised on the big screen. (A movie also wouldn't be saddled with Richard Martin's direction, which by the time of the The Chase was bloody awful.) With hindsight, the second televised Dalek story was probably the least suitable candidate in all of Doctor Who for this kind of film adaptation. What Dalek stories would have been better? The Chase springs to mind, or maybe Destiny or Evil...