Doctor Who: Dragonfire
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Doctor Who: Dragonfire
In the bowels of an ice planet/interstellar supermarket, ruled over by a murderous master of cold, arrives time-and-space traveler the Doctor (the Seventh, played by Sylvester McCoy) and his sunny companion Mel (Bonnie Langford) with her abundant ginger curls. In no time at all they're on a dragon hunt, accompanied by a sketchy space rogue (Tony Selby) and a spirited girl from Earth, Ace (Sophie Aldred--who, at the end of the three-episode serial, becomes the Doctor's new companion). Dragonfire is a particularly frustrating Doctor Who story; it has moments that are smart, surprising, and intriguing… and moments that are flabbergastingly dumb. (It doesn't help that the sets and costumes combine cheapness and extravagance as only the 1980s could.) The extensive extras--including a making-of featurette and detailed trivia notes--suggest that this narrative schizophrenia is mostly due to an interesting script being poorly translated into production. But the script has its own problems, which are cheerfully pointed out in another extra, with three clever Brits discussing Dragonfire in depth, savaging its failings but also appreciating its virtues. These unusually frank bonus features make this DVD package much more engaging than the story would be on its own. McCoy's Doctor is lackluster, with enjoyable moments of whimsy but lacking any gravitas. Fortunately, Aldred delights; her charisma makes her the center of the story from her first appearance, outshining the bland Langford. Another plus is the supporting performance of Patricia Quinn (from cult movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show) as a rebellious underling. --Bret Fetzer
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Simply put, I can't help to note how times have changed as this program is now being compared to the new series! Granted, it is only reasonable that some would compare these old series stories to the new ones. And yet, there are a plethora of Doctor Who stories that I watched decades ago, and much to the satisfaction of my memory, as they are being released on DVD, and I love them just as much as I did then.
Dragonfire didn't quite hit that mark.
Setting the story aside, which I never recap since most people reading these reviews should already know the story, and if they don't, most other reviewers recapped that more times than I can count, I want to focus on what makes this DVD something you may wish to spend you hard-earned money on.
Mel departs as the Doctor's companion at the end of this story and Ace takes her place.
Well, that pretty much covers it.
I feel that the commentary was more entertaining than the show itself. The participants of the commentary are, Sophie Aldred / Ace, Edward Peel / Kane, Andrew Cartmel, / Script Editor, Chris Clough / Director, and Ian Briggs / Director. Several of these contributors are in only one or two of the three episodes. Personally, I feel that if a person can't contribute something to all of the episodes, then they shouldn't be included. Miss Foster trimmed the fat for the Adapose, I think it's time 2|entertain did the same. And why no Sylvester McCoy or Bonnie Langford as participants in this commentary!?!
Other features of note are:
"Fire and Ice" - This 35 minute feature features Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Andrew Cartmel, Ian Briggs, and others as they talk about the making of this story. I usually find these type of features interesting, and this one was, but not as much as others have been in prior releases.
"The Doctor's Strange Love" is a 16 minute discussion between three people who have NO INVOLVEMENT in the show expressing their opinions. Frankly, I find this insulting. Would any of you buy a DVD of me expressing my opinions of a Doctor Who show? I think not. I didn't even bother to watch this to the end.
"The Big Bang Theory" is a 12 ½ minute long feature with new series special effects director, Danny Hargreaves. He talks about the way some explosions were done in the original series, as well as how they are done today. I personally found this to be very interesting. But then again, I sleep with a can of nitro 9 under my pillow.
After these features, there are some deleted and extended scenes, which is where it begins to fizzle. Realistically, putting aside the obligatory commentary track, "Fire and Ice" and "The Big Bang Theory" are the only real "bonus" features. So I have to say that 2|enterain gives VERY LITTLE to make this worth your money. I feel that instead of allowing 2|entertain to symbolically defecate on us consumers, we should just go to their corporate office, and literally do it to them.
My BOTTOM LINE is, Dragonfire is something to "Possibly Consider" if you are a true fan of McCoy and Aldred. But if you're the type who prefers to spend their hard-earned cash on something that will give you a bit more satisfaction, in my opinion, I regret to say that this may not be for you. I would even go so far as to say that it was a good "kids" story back in its day, but while some "kids stories" have withstood the test of time, this isn't one of them.
I hope that this review was helpful to you, and please feel free to express your opinion(s) as well as post any questions on this review so that I can hopefully improve upon this one, as well as future ones. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and hopefully, consider my humble opinion(s).
Yet, the story suffers from often being incomprehensible. There are moments like the literal cliffhanger at the end of Part One that has the Doctor lowering himself over a precipise via umbrella for no good reason. There's Glitz and the Doctor's attempt to steal back Glitz's spaceship and the Doctor suddenly abandoning the idea. ANd then there's that little girl running around. She's cute. Okay. What's she doing here. It's a confused mess of a story that still manges to be fun most of the time in spite of itself.