C071 Invasion of the Dinosaurs



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Dinosaurs in London, another literal sub-plot and the debut of the Whomobile!



The Third Doctor and not-officially-the-new-companion-yet, Sarah Jane Smith, return to London after their medieval jaunt only to find it overrun with dinosaurs. Big scary dinosaurs. From the past!

Our heroes then spend a chunk of this serial under arrest, escaping, getting caught again and hanging out with UNIT, while mad scientists and a government and military cabal conspire to reset the entire human race. No biggie.

4 Responses to “C071 Invasion of the Dinosaurs”

  1. Trenton Bless | @trentonbless

    Alright, let’s get to the elephant in the room right away: the Dinosaurs look crap. I mean, the idea was there, but on a mid 70’s BBC budget, how else could you do it? It really doesn’t hamper the story much, seeing I like this serial for the story, not the effects. If there was a story that could use a CGI remastered version, it’s this one. Anyways, on to the review.

    Invasion of the Dinosaurs is a wonderful story and very ambitious for the time. Even though the dinosaurs are crap, the story is good enough that it really doesn’t matter. Pertwee is on form again in this six part adventure. It has everything you could ask for in a Pertwee story: UNIT, a mystery to unravel, a great villain with an unusual plan, great action and dinosaurs. And Capt. Yates’ betrayal was so out of left field and surprised me greatly. But, with Yates being controlled by that BOSS computer in The Green Death, it did make sense that he could be controlled by others.

    If I had one other issue with this story is that it’s a bit long. I really enjoyed it, but you won’t watch it twice in one week, will you? It’s a great story but I don’t see me watching it quite a ton. Maybe every so often, but not too much. It has a bit of filler here and there, but with long stories like this, it’s pretty unavoidable.

    Though it’s one of my favorite Pertwee stories, that’s all I really like about it: the story. The story is what carries this serial through the bad effects and all that. Mac Hulke delivered yet another cracking script and it shows. The will for this story to succeed was there, it’s just the ambition was too great. 3.4/5 is the best this story gets from me. It would get a high 3 or even a 4 if it wasn’t for the crappy dinosaurs.

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  2. Peter Zunitch

    Dinosaurs in London, explosions, secret rooms, subversion, betrayal, space travel, street thugs, what’s not to like about this episode? Honestly, do we punish this story for the hokey dinos? I’m sorry I just can’t do it. Partially because part of me thinks that given their limited resources of the time they actually did a pretty decent job. Granted you need to use your imagination quite a bit to fill in the blanks. That said, I would not use this story to introduce someone used to modern special effects to vintage Who. If there’s ever a serial that could benefit from modern effects it would be this one hands down.

    This story also features one of the most violent plot twists, the likes of which we have not seen since “Enemy of the World”, and sadly will never really experience in Who again. Okay the twist is foiled less than a full episode later but the first time you experience this moment it’s such a shock. It was a great idea and the foil was necessary.

    I have a weird retro-rewrite this time, mainly because it involves the very basis of the story. The weakest part of this series is the idea of using dinosaurs to scare the populous out of London. Nothing like calling attention to yourselves to ruin your evil scheme. Why didn’t they just set up shop in the middle of nowhere?

    It’s truly an ambitious story and in my eyes they did okay. It earns a Jurassic, “your future’s as daft as that T-Rex”, 3.7.

    Reply
  3. Paul Fauber | @wordsmithpaul

    With “Invasion of the Dinosaurs,” DOCTOR WHO combated pollution again in a well constructed story writer Malcolm Hulke novelized for Target Books. The moody, black and white presentation of the first episode’s mystery stems from it’s title comprising only the word “Invasion”. Withholding the invaders’ identity confused the BBC as they wiped old serials and assumed the color episode was part of the Patrick Troughton, Cybermen epic, “The Invasion”.

    The solution to the story’s mystery involved a conspiracy which duped true believers into voluntary captivity while dinosaurs cleared London. The captive survivors would live there after the rest of humanity was wiped out. After rejoining UNIT and learning what was happening, the Doctor wanted to study rather than shoot at the dinosaurs. Two machines and his new car, the Whomobile, helped him track the power source enabling the creatures to come to modern London. He also fought looters, prisoners, UNIT soldiers, and environmentalist wacko conspirators pursuing their unthinkable scheme. Building his first machine, the Doctor endured constant, humorous interruptions as character after character asked questions or tried to help. In a familiar set piece, he busied himself simultaneously with several things while listening to Sarah Jane until she suddenly said something compelling him to give her his undivided attention after she started over.

    She was a wild card of whom neither the Doctor nor the Brigadier were fully aware. Journalism brought her to the Doctor and let her use her London contacts to track unregistered, nuclear power sources in town and identify, as well as investigate, time travel expert Whitaker, the bad guy played by actor Peter Miles, best known for playing Davros’ henchman, Nyder, in “Genesis of the Daleks.” Sarah Jane’s profession also let her identify the elders aboard the conspirators’ spaceship.

    One of Sarah Janes’ contacts, Sir Charles Grover, gave Whitaker necessary resources while both General Finch and Captain Yates marginalized UNIT’s effectiveness, tying the Brigadier in red tape and sabotaging the Doctor’s efforts. As the only high ranking person in London uninvolved with the conspiracy, the Brigadier could rightly complain about being left out of the loop. His loyalty to the Doctor was unshakable as he did his best to work within the military structure. His most effective subordinate was Sergeant Benton, who overpowered superiors and was overpowered himself to keep from carrying out detrimental orders.

    For viewers, the realization of the dinosaurs hurt the story. The plot; pace; and characterization, though, stand up well enough to be entertaining. As chilling as the conspirators’ impossible plan is, I find their need to “correct” Sarah Jane’s corrupting ideas Orwellian and the most chilling aspect of this story.

    Reply
  4. Michael Ridgway

    Invasion of the Dinosaurs – mini collection of reactions.

    Episode 1

    • The creepy-ass opening and the gory mauled looter brings back nightmares of BBC 1980s nuclear horror Threads. This is still a kids show right?
    • Loving the dinosaurs. I’ll take plasticine T Rex over dodgy CGI Slitheen any day.
    • I bet the writers created Sarah’s surname just for the Doctor’s “no relation” joke.

    Episode 2

    • Bloke from the past is a missed opportunity to have a cameo from IRONGRON!
    • The great betrayal. YATES! YOU BROKE MY HEART!
    • A “rope and a net” to capture a 3 ton stegosaurus? Are you f@@king kidding me?
    • Starting to see a pattern in the cliffhangers.

    Episode 3

    • A bicycle chain to hold a 7 ton T Rex? Are you f@@king kidding me?

    Episode 4

    • Ah. The old fake spaceship full of intellectuals (morons) trick.
    • Ah. The old elevator-switch-disguised-as-coat-hook trick.
    • Shockingly quick escalation by Edith from ‘Ello Ello’ to murder Sarah.

    Episode 5

    • Sarah’s airlock discovery: the spaceship people are TOTAL morons!
    • Imagine how much better the dinosaurs would be if they hadn’t have blown the budget on the helicopter.

    Episode 6

    • Funniest line: moron spaceship guy’s indignation at being told the spaceship is fake, “I sold my house!”
    • Beef: not seeing the mad scientist and Minister try surviving dinosaur times.

    Rating: 2.1/5 combined IQs of the spaceship people.

    Reply

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