The 5-Star rating is for the quality and value of the DVD. Superb job as is typical of the Doctor Who Restoration Team in their production of Classic Era Doctor Who DVD's.
INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS
Story # 71
Season 11's Second Story
Third Doctor, Jon Perwee Era, final season 1973-74
Second Classic Sarah Jane Smith story
OVERALL STORY RATING 8/10
INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS is a 10/10 story pulled down to 8/10 solely due to poor dinosaur special effects. If the viewer is willing to put forth a tiny bit of effort and engage their imagination when the dinosaurs are onscreen, the reward will be a truly superb story well worth the watching. It is truly sad that such an excellent story is pulled so low by a single problem. Were it not for the poor dinosaur special effects, INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS would likely rate among the finest WHO stories of all time, possibly even in the top 25.
Essential for SARAH JANE ADVENTURES fans, and highly recommended for Whovians, both veteran and novice .
STORY & SCRIPT 10/10
Excellent Malcolm Hulke script. Many twists, turns and surprises for the viewer. Great dialog, impressive and creative story idea, believable and intriguing idealists as not-evil-just-misguided-villians. All elements combined make for an impressive, intelligent well-above-average-WHO story that will engage the viewer mentally and emotionally.
Superb performances across the board for main cast, UNIT and guest cast. Jon Pertwee's "Third Doctor" is one of the best and most unique in WHO history, and he and Elisabeth Sladen have an entertaining, very watchable closeness and rapport making the Pertwee/Sladen companionship one of WHO's best-ever pairings. INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS looks much like an early test run for SARAH JANE ADVENTURES, as Elisabeth Sladen again lights up the screen in only her second story. Her portrayal of the serious-but-warm, girl-next-door, "Sarah Jane" pulls the viewer effortlessly into the story with her, and is a strong, capable, intelligent companion, whose actions move much of the story. The UNIT team regulars are very impressive as detailed below. The large guest cast is superb across the board with every performance engaging, believable and spotlessly done. One of the few WHO stories that can genuinely be rated "flawless" in all across-the-board performances. Veteran Whovians will recognize the incredible Peter Miles(Professor Whitaker) and excellent John Bennett (General Finch) from superb performances each will give in two WHO masterpiece stories to come in Seasons 12 and 14.
PRODUCTION QUALITY 10/10
The sets are so well built, effectively filmed and believable overall, that even a minor wobble here-and-there, does not detract from the viewer's overall belief in the scenes and story. Paddy Russell's imaginative direction is every bit as impressive in overlooked, underrated INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS as it is in the highly respected and recognized PYRAMIDS OF MARS, and HORROR OF FANG ROCK.
SPECIAL EFFECTS 2/10
The dinosaurs are so poorly realized onscreen that the score is pulled down to a "2/10" "far below average" even though other special effects are very well done. Minus the poorly realized dinosaur special effects, this story has superb producton values. Paddy Russell's filming of deserted London is particularly spooky, disturbing and chilling, giving the viewer a strong sense that something is terribly wrong. The "Time Eddy" presentation onscreen is very well done, even by today's standards, a surprisingly good achievement considering the limitations of mid-1970's CSO technology.
STORY IMPORTANCE 9/10
One of the best stories for the UNIT Team. The Brigadier, Yates, and Benton each get their chance to shine, and they and the stunt UNIT regulars are in great form, acting and looking like a genuine military organization, and pull off a few major surprises for the viewer, which helps bump this story up considerably from a normal "5/10" average "Importance" rating. It is definitely one of the finest and most ambitious Pertwee-era stories and that is saying a lot, as there are some genuinely GREAT stories during Jon Pertwee's run as the Third Doctor, Season 7-through-11.
DVD EXTRAS 9/10
Excellent across the board except as noted in the following remarks. The excellent PEOPLE, POWER AND PUPPETRY documentary truly gets to the heart of what makes INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS such a superb story. The on-screen text information by David Brunt is also excellent. However, the commentary is a bit disappointing for once. The commentary is excellent in Parts 2, 3 & 6, but gets off-topic in Parts 1,4 & 5, where director Paddy Russell and moderator Toby Hadoke are the only participants and Russell's career outside of WHO is discussed as much or more than INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS. It is very disappointing that the commentary isn't mostly as it is in Parts 2, 3 & 6, actually concerning the making of the story itself, and less about Paddy Russell's career in-and-outside WHO. I would have much preferred to listen to more observations and memories from Richard Franklin, Peter Miles, Terence Wilton and Terrance Dicks.
DOCTOR WHO STORIES: ELISABETH SLADEN PART 1 is a 14 minute interview from 2003 with Elisabeth Sladen, that is so delightful, that the poignancy hits extra hard on the realization that with her passing on April 19, 2011, the WHO world lost a genuine, irreplacable, treasure. Keep it running past the credits for a cute little surprise.
These wonderful DVD extras are what make Classic WHO DVD's such special treats, so DO NOT overlook them as you will be losing a tremendous portion of the enormous value of a Classic WHO DVD!
Toby Hadoke(Moderator) & Paddy Russell(Director) in Parts 1,4 & 5.
Parts 2,3 & 6 has varied participation with Toby Hadoke(Moderator), by Richard Franklin, Peter Miles, Terence Wilton(Actors), and Terrance Dicks(Script Editor); [special 10-minute solo commentary by John Levene(Actor, Sgt Benton) available on Part 5].
PEOPLE, POWER AND PUPPETRY Participants
Matthew Sweet(Presenter); John Pertwee-1993 Interview, Terence Wilton, Peter Miles(Actors); Barry Letts(Producer); Paddy Russell(Director); Terrance Dicks(Script Editor); Richard Morris(Designer).