Doctor Who: The Snowmen (2012) – 8/10 science fiction adventure TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Jenna-Louise Coleman: Clara
Writer and Executive Producer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Director: Saul Metzstein
Richard E. Grant: Dr Simeon
Catrin Stewart: Jenny
Neve McIntosh: Madame Vastra
Dan Starkey: Strax
Ian McKellen: Voice of the Great Intelligence

Doctor Who The Snowmen (2012)

Hiding in the clouds above Victorian London, The Doctor has withdrawn from the hero business after going through the emotional wringer with the Ponds some time ago. An encounter with a perky barmaid, Clara, and an instantly appearing snowman made of some kind of memory snow or something isn’t quite enough to pull him out of his exile. Clara’s going to have to try a bit harder.

8/10

This is a great episode and probably the best seasonal special in the 21st century run. It’s simply tremendous fun and jam-packed with fun (santaran), scary (man-eating snowmen), imaginative (memory worm), surprising (do not read spoilers for this one), brain-tickling (one word answers) goodies which doesn’t have quite enough time for it’s monster-of-the-week story. If the finalé had had any emotional impact, this would have been near-perfect. The crux of the episode is The Doctor and the invigorating Clara and that’s all we want to see. And now we want to see more.

This Doctor Who episode contains inferred extreme violence, unpleasant and scary scenes.

Links

Doctor Who S34E05 The Angels Take Manhattan (2012) – 8/10 science fiction adventure TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill: Rory Williams
Writer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Director: Nick Hurran
Alex Kingston: River Song
Michael McShane: Grayle
Executive Producer: Steven Moffat

Doctor Who S34E05 The Angels Take Manhattan (2012)

A day trip to New York turns out badly when the book the Doctor is reading – starring Melody Malone – makes a reference to Rory getting them coffee as Rory is getting them coffee. The Doctor realises that the book is a history book sent back in time to help him avert yet another disaster but then Rory is kidnapped and taken through time to somewhere the TARDIS can’t go.

8/10

When you’ve got characters who are statues, it makes jolly good sense to go to the place with the most famous statue in the world – New York City – and this episode gets off to a good start with their big reveal. The return of the intensely unlikable and irritating River Song (a typically unconvincing eye-rolling Alex Kingston) is a problem but it’s the only one worth mentioning. The episode is otherwise tense and atmospheric and, critically, it connects emotionally. Marketed as the Pond’s farewell (though I swear they already did that last season), certain events aren’t, therefore, surprising but they are touching. It makes me wish I could share a love like this; it’s very nice. This time the logo has the Statue of Liberty behind it; subtle and rewarding to spot.

This Doctor Who episode contains scary scenes.

Links

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011) – 7/10 Steven Spielberg action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Steven Spielberg
Jamie Bell: Tintin
Andy Serkis: Haddock
Daniel Craig: Sakharine, Red Rackham
Writer: Steven Moffat
Writer: Joe Cornish
Writer: Edgar Wright
Writer: Hergé

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of The Unicorn (2011)

Gun-wielding baby-faced bequiffed ginger reporter (!) Tintin innocently buys a model ship of The Unicorn but finds himself violently targeted by treasure-hunters eager to unravel the Unicorn’s secrets.

7/10

Steven Spielberg’s bash at performance capture movie-making looks great from the get-go but, as with many CG animated movies, it’s not consistently involving and has little emotional connection. Tintin is an oddly blank and anachronistic hero (he looks like a teenager but behaves as an adult and impassively shoots baddies). The movie also races through it’s plot without momentum; it’s going fast but not necessarily because the plot demands it. On the plus side it goes on to offer some funny moments, more stunning visuals, and a couple of top-drawer action sequences (an extended pirate ship attack and a single-shot motorcycle chase, impressive in 3D).

This movie contains violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Doctor Who S34E01 Asylum of the Daleks (2012) – 6/10 science fiction adventure television review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill: Rory Williams
Writer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Director: Nick Hurran
Jenna-Louise Coleman: Oswin
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Daleks: Terry Nation

Doctor Who S34E01 Asylum of the Daleks (2012)

The Daleks capture The Doctor, Amy and Rory and take them into orbit around a planet they use for keeping all the Daleks which are a bit too psychotic for the mainstream population. The planet has stopped responding but the Daleks are too scared to go in themselves and disable the forcefield that prevents them from destroying the planet and exterminating the problem.

6/10

Just enough. There’s just enough fun ("I can see you."), clever moments ("Doctor Who?") and irresistible charm and cuteness (Jenna-Louise Coleman) to outweigh the Williams’ and Daleks unwanted presence, the Williams’ unwanted marital discord and the unconvincing plot setup (I thought all the Daleks were dead). I wonder if there’s some significance to the new Doctor Who logo being covered in Dalek zits.

This Doctor Who episode contains unpleasant scenes.

Links

Doctor Who: The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe (2011) – 7/10 WWII period science fiction adventure Christmas special TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Claire Skinner: Madge Arwell
Writer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Director: Farren Blackburn

Doctor Who The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe (2011)

World War II: After being helped by Marge Arwell one night, the Doctor offers to return the favour anytime she wishes. When she does call him in, well, nothing the Doctor does ever goes to plan, does it?

7/10

A welcome return to form following the dismal 2011 season finalé which has plenty of energy and connects emotionally. There’s a great start and a lovely finish and there are wonderful concept, character and visual ideas in-, the somewhat predictable, between. Matt Smith is, once more, incredible as the Doctor. He showcases his comic abilities in the spaceman suit, delivers abundant energy in his physicality, machine guns his lines out with pinpoint clarity and then, backed up by Murray Gold’s quality score, cements a viscerally emotive climax. It’s easy to forget that anyone else has ever been the Doctor. That said, it’s disheartening to see planet-wide doom wheeled out once more and one wishes that Doctor Who would deliver some episodes without peril. He doesn’t need it.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Doctor Who S33E13 The Wedding of River Song (2011) – 1/10 science fiction adventure TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill: Rory Williams
Writer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Director: Jeremy Webb

Doctor Who S33E13 Wedding of River Song, The (2011)

The Doctor travels to Lake Silencio to meet his death.

1/10

Absolutely dreadful series climax completely broken in concept and execution. What should be emotional is embarrassing as actors pour their hearts into performances but haven’t connected with the audience first. There’s not even the hope that future Who won’t have Amy, Rory and Melody in it. Elevated steam trains provide the only highlight and this is, by some margin, the worst episode of all six series and is to be avoided.

This Doctor Who episode contains violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

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Doctor Who 33.08 Let’s Kill Hitler (2011) – 6/10 science fiction adventure TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill: Rory Williams
Writer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Director: Richard Senior

Doctor Who 33.08 Let’s Kill Hitler (2011)

The Doctor, Amy, Rory and the TARDIS are kidnapped at gunpoint and taken to 1938 Berlin where they inadvertently interrupt the assassination of Adolf Hitler.

6/10

How had there not been an Seventies exploitation movie with this title? While the episode story is too jarring to convince (especially regarding a brainwashed assassin who suddenly isn’t when the plot needs it) and repeatedly putting a principal character’s life in danger works to undermine it’s potential drama, there’s just too much fun spread around to keep complaining. When you’ve got lines like “Take Hitler and put him in that cupboard”, the rest of the episode gets a pass.

This Doctor Who episode contains unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

This blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.