Sunday, 16 April 2017

Doctor Huh?

Before I get into the meat and gravy of this post, just a quick warning that this post does contain spoilers regarding the first episode of the latest season of Doctor Who that aired last night. If you're a fan, and haven't watched it yet; come back later.

Still here?

Okay. Normally I like to try and keep things positive here. The way I see it, being critical and tearing down the work of others is both easy and cheap. So, I'll start by giving the episode in question credit where credit is due by saying that the story was pretty solid and well paced. The concept behind the alien of the week was also not too bad.

Where it fell down for me however, was with what the effects department tried to pass off as the shape-shifting alien at certain points. One such "effect" being no more than a bucket of water being tossed down a flight of stone stairs; that the audience is supposed to believe is the alien in a liquid form pursuing The Doctor and his companions.

I'm sorry, but no. Just no!

Now personally I prefer practical effects over special effects, but they have to be done well; and this shoddy effort ejected me rudely from a moment I was immersed in. True there probably aren't many other ways that they could have generated the footage for this scene, but it should have been apparent at the editing stage that what they had just wasn't working.

If it'd been me, I would have cut it; and found some other more dramatic way for alien to make an entrance.

On the subject of effects, I also want to talk about some of the special effects that were included in the episode too. Particularly one scene, where the alien rises from a pool of liquid to take human form in the basement of the university. This is an effect that can look amazing when done well. Robert Patrick as the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day for example.

What the BBC opted for in last nights episode however was a much clunkier, and so poorly rendered that even 10 years ago it would have been relegated to B-Movies. It was like something straight out of the VR world of The Lawnmower Man.

This is a real shame as the trailer that they showed at the end of the episode, showing a lot of the action to come actually looked pretty impressive. Not in a big budget way, but certainly realistic enough so as to not jolt the viewer from the fantasy world of Doctor Who and whatever alien world he's visiting that week.

In summary, last nights episode wasn't bad at all when taken as a whole, but some of the poor choices that were made by the effects department did drag it down in my opinion.

What are your thoughts?
If you're a fan of The Doctor, how did you feel about the episode?
Did you notice the "effects"?

Comments and feedback are always welcome.

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