TV/Movie/World Culture Event Review – “The Day of the Doctor”

People have expressed concern that this would be a celebration of the last 8 years and not the last 50 years. To them I say: don’t worry.

Cast and Crew Information

No roles this time: too many spoilers. Just names. Some filmed live, and others are archival. I’m not saying which are which.

Matt Smith
David Tennant
John Hurt
Jenna Louise Coleman
Billie Piper
Joanna Page
Jemma Redgrave
Ingrid Oliver
Ken Bones
Orlando Jones
Nicholas Briggs
Christopher Eccelston
Paul McGann
Sylvester McCoy
Colin Baker
Peter Davison
Tom Baker
Patrick Troughton
William Hartnell
Peter Capaldi

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Nick Hurran

Availability Information

This is available in a “season pass” with bonus features from iTunes: US, CAN. It will be available on DVD (Format: US, CAN) and 3D Blu-Ray (Format: US, CAN) on December 10.

Premise

Something very unusual has happened in the Tower of London, and something even stranger is going on in England in 1562. There’s something a previous regeneration would need to see.

High Point

It’s very, very difficult to pick a specific moment. I’ll instead say this: I missed 13 lines of dialogue because they were drowned out by the sound of a Whovian audience cheering and applauding. It must be watched again.

Low Point

Why the Hell did Eccelston make that choice? I love his work on the show, but I’m not sure how he could have walked away from the role offered him in this story.

The Review

This feels original. The Daleks had to be here, but they aren’t the main threat, and even then, the main threat has an entirely new approach to the attack. They promised a new direction for the series, and we’re getting it. I give it 6 out of 6.

The effects were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. The use of 3D here actually adds to the experience, which is something that can be said all too rarely. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story doesn’t dawdle. In fact, the story does a whole lot of running. Seriously, there is an outrageous amount of running. We get thrown into it immediately following a wonderful nod to “An Unearthly Child,” and we do not stop. It paves new roads, gives us all of the callbacks we want, and does so with enough skill that those who only know the new series won’t necessarily realize what they’ve seen if they’re watching alone. I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting was brilliant. Smith and Tennant both have their characters down, and they work incredibly well together. The big surprise for me was how quickly and easily John Hurt completely overshadowed both of them. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production has only one nit I can pick: there’s an extreme close up that needed to be an extreme close up for practical reasons, but a more distant shot would have been better. Sadly, that would entail spoilers. (In fact, it would spoil decisions which probably haven’t been made yet.) I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response was excellent. I went from laughing to trembling to outright excitement. It took all of my restraint to watch the last 10 minutes sitting down; I wanted to jump and clap and cheer. Or was it the last 15 minutes? Things got all timey wimey; I lose track sometimes. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, they nailed it. They absolutely nailed it. A beautiful tribute. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, The Day of the Doctor receives 42 out of 42.

23 replies on “TV/Movie/World Culture Event Review – “The Day of the Doctor””

  1. The Google+ Hangout to discuss the episode has launched. To join, follow us and I’ll add you to the Hangout, or send a message to us via https://plus.google.com/+Bureau42dotcom.

  2. Vulch says:

    Also, don’t miss “The Five-ish Doctors” which followed on the Red Button in the UK, and will no doubt appear on various other places shortly. Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoys tribute (along with many others) to the anniversary.

  3. Also, don’t miss this deleted scene (but don’t watch it until after you’ve seen the episode): http://www.bbcamerica.com/doctor-who/videos/the-day-of-the-doctor-deleted-scene/.

  4. JD DeLuzio says:

    I’m glad they’ve brought back Gallifrey. I never liked the hoary cliche of “the last of his kind” being imposed on the Doctor, nor did I like the idea of him as a character who committed genocide

    Uber-nerdy technicality: So, back when the fourth Doctor fell in Logopolis, somehow, as he merged with the Watcher, he blipped to the museum, where he lived a life as a curator, and then returned to regenerate? Or does the fourth Doctor’s appearance occur during some other time in his timeline? Or are we not supposed to ask because, the Doctor?

    • I couldn’t hear it clearly over all of the applause, but I think he said something about “wearing an old favorite.” Think story 104, Destiny of the Daleks.

      • Matt says:

        He said he’d be revisiting some old favourites. The implications are pretty obvious, I thought.

        Seems there were some advantages to watching at home with the cat. He doesn’t care who’s on the screen as long as he can sleep on my lap.

        • zocalo says:

          Yeah, that was pretty much my take too. I don’t think they mucked with the timeline of that particular incarnation, more like when The Doctor finally “retires” there will be some handwavium to allow him to spend some or, more likely, a lot of time as some of his previous incarnations. I was kind of expecting him to proffer a certain something to eat, but it was still a great moment and worked well without the extra second or two that would have taken.

          Definitely going to be rewatching it a few times, the BBC iPlayer is going to be busy this week, I suspect. :)

  5. I just watched it.

    It had everything that I wanted, and then one more. And then even more of it. 42 out of 42 is accurate.

  6. J_W_W says:

    I agree with the low point. How could Eccelston read the script an not enthusiastically sign on to be in the show. John Hurt was great, but Eccelston really wiffed on this one.

    And the Curator was AWESOME!

  7. Jethro says:

    The GF and I watched it last night at the theatre. It was noisy and crowded and neither of us enjoy tat experience, yet somehow in HER head that doesn’t translate to “Lets get a big 3D TV set”. I just don’t understand…

    The 3D was hit-or-miss for me. Yeah, it did add a lot in some scenes (the paintings especially) but there were times where people looked like they were 18 feet tall, and the helicopter flying the TARDIS around looked like a toy RC helicopter. That happens a lot with 3D, sadly – things with a very large scale look like toys.

    Other than that, though, I loved it.

    People who went to the theatre – did you have people dress up? I saw a few doctors and one girl who was dressed as a Weeping Angel. Complete with gigantic wings. How she was going to fit those in the seat is beyond me…

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      I saw it at home, but I talked to someone who saw it in the theatre, and we apparently had some cosplayers.

    • Kiersten says:

      I saw it in the theater with a full room of Whovians.
      It was AMAZING!!! :)
      I love Whovians!!!!!

    • The Saturday screening here had about 30 people in costume and about 50 sonic screwdrivers. The manager on the floor was awesome in that he dug up free passes for people and hosted an impromptu costume contest. This was amusing in its own right: he openly admitted he had no idea what he was looking at. When he asked people for applause to vote and who their favorite was, many people shouted “number eight!” and he started counting off eight people from the left. Then they shouted out “no, DOCTOR number eight!” to which he responded “I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!”

      Still, not only did he do the contest, he helped us pass the 3.5 hours between when the theater opened for seating and when the show started. It may have involved (hypothetically, of course, since any such real activity could result in fines for the theatre) getting an iPad-to-HDMI cable from a local Best Buy and (hypothetically) hooking up a (hypothetical) customer’s iPad to the theater’s (hypothetical) input and (hypothetically) watching “Nightmare in Silver” and “The Name of the Doctor” on the giant screen before the actual presentation started. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

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