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Doctor Who: The Movie (Special Edition)

Paul McGann , Eric Roberts , Geoffrey Sax    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better Than You Would Expect It To Be Nov. 23 2012
By Trytek TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This movie represents the failed attempt to revive Doctor Who in the 1990s by an American TV Network. The fact that it was not picked up for a full series would suggest an unmitigated failiure. Not so. There's a lot to enjoy here, even if it doesn't all come together seamlessly.

First of all, Paul McGann makes an excellent eighth incarnation of the Doctor. His audio work for Big Finish further confirms this, but he finds his feet remarkably quickly and is totally believable in the part. It is also good to see Sylvester McCoy back in his former role as the seventh Doctor and his presence is a calming influence at the beginning of the film.

The TARDIS, too, looks amazing. The steam punk style a major advancement on the old BBC sets of the 60s to 80s, and lighting the way for the TARDIS designs of the 2005 renewed series.

Eric Roberts, sadly, doesn't quite convince as the Master, and the plot makes little to no sense, but as a piece of entertainment, and for the introduction of the McGann Doctor, this movie is well worth its place in the Doctor Who canon.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A not so bad mish-mash Oct. 24 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Okay, this is a film that is guaranteed to cause reactions with Doctor Who fans. First time, I saw it was horrified. But with a rewatch, I was not as horrified. From first to second impressions, Paul McGann makes an amazing Doctor. Eric Roberts, makes a bad Master. But now knowing some of the history of the evolution of the movie, it's not his fault.

For me, rewatching the movie, I started to see the attempt to "grow up" Doctor Who. Many people, at the time, were horrified with the Doctor and Grace. But that was something Doctor Who needed. Even in the first viewing, I loved that the Doctor had a kiss. There was a hint of romance. About time. My problem, which stays to this day, is the complete moving away of canon. The Doctor is not half-human. But all in all, I would not rate this film as bad as other Doctor Who fans have. There are some amazing stuff in here.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Movietime March 14 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie is worth watching, although I think it would have been better if it had been made in GB. Hollywood tried but didn't quite bring it off.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  136 reviews
142 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PAUL McGANN'S TV MOVIE FOR NORTH AMERICA!!! Nov. 8 2010
By Phil Benfield - Published on Amazon.com
Well, as Amazon does not give us the info on what we need to know about this wonderful Doctor Who DVD. I have posted the info here from the know all, and see all on Doctor Who DVD's. Here is Steve Manfred's info on Doctor Who - The Movie - Special Edition.
LINK: [...]
Over 14 years after its production and broadcast, the Doctor Who TV Movie starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor will finally see release in North America!!!

This 2-disc release will be on Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 for the suggested retail price of $34.98, under the title: Doctor Who - The Movie - Special Edition. 2entertain's Commissioning Editor Dan Hall revealed this surprise news on the "Hoo on Who" podcast (available on iTunes) on August 25. He was successful in negotiating release rights for this production outside of the UK that had previously been held by the co-producers of the TV Movie, Universal Television. This clears the way for a release in North America by BBC Worldwide Americas.

The version that will see release is a new edition that was made available in the UK in October as part of what they're calling the Revisitations Box Set, where three previously available titles were re-released together with boosted extra features. The McGann TV Movie is one of them. The others will see release in North America later in 2011.

For those of you who don't know, "the TV Movie" as it is called was a one-off attempt to revive Doctor Who in 1996 as a "back door pilot" for the Fox Network in the U.S. It was a co-production by Universal Television, BBC Worldwide Americas, and Fox.

In it, we see the Seventh Doctor regenerate into the Eighth, and embark on an adventure to save the Earth from being destroyed by the TARDIS after the Master opens its power source, on the eve of the new millennium. Ratings on Fox were not strong enough to warrant a series, and nothing else happened with the TV rights until 2005, although the McGann Eighth Doctor continued on in the spinoff fiction of original novels, audio dramas, and comic strips, all of which will be highlighted in the extra features on the upcoming DVD:

Disc 1

· 86 minute movie with stereo audio.

· Commentary 1 (2001) - original DVD release solo commentary by director Geoffrey Sax.

· Commentary 2 (2009) - new commentary with actors Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy, moderated by Nicholas Briggs.

· The Seven Year Hitch (dur. 53' 53") - This documentary looks at executive producer Philip Segal's seven-year quest to return Doctor Who to the screen, from his initial contact with the BBC shortly before its cancellation in 1989, through to the production and transmission of the movie in 1996. Featuring Philip Segal, BBC executive producer Jo Wright, BBC Head of Series Peter Cregeen, BBC1 controller Alan Yentob, writer Matthew Jacobs and Graeme Harper, the director of BBC Enterprises' abandoned Doctor Who movie. Narrated by Amanda Drew.

· The Doctor's Strange Love (dur. 17' 10") - writers Joe Lidster and Simon Guerrier discuss how they stopped worrying and learned to love the TV Movie with comedian Josie Long.

· Photo Gallery (dur.3' 46") - a selection of design and production photographs from the story.

· Isolated Music - option to view the movie with isolated music score.

· Music Tracks - four music tracks from the production presented in full: `In a Dream', `All Dressed Up', `Ride into the Moonlight' and `Auld Lang Syne'.

· Coming Soon (dur. approx 1' 00") - a trail for a forthcoming DVD release.

· PDF material - Radio Times listings in PDF format.

· Programme Subtitles

· Subtitle Production Notes

Disc 2 (DVD9)

· Pre-Production:

· Paul McGann Audition (dur. 7' 38") - Paul McGann's audition for the role.

· VFX Tests June 1994 (dur. 0' 50") - early video effects tests by Amblin Imaging in 1994, featuring the `Spider Dalek' design.

· VFX March 1996 (dur. 2' 32") - video effects build-ups presented as mute timecoded `work in progress' shots from the CGI effects department.

· Production:

· EPK (dur. 15' 36") - the Electronic Press Kit put out by Fox in 1996 included a short documentary and interview segments to allow other broadcasters to put together their own packages about the movie.

· Behind the Scenes (dur. 4' 47") - on set and on location during the filming of the movie.

· Philip Segal's Tour of the TARDIS Set (dur. 2'33") - executive producer Philip Segal shows us around the TARDIS control room set.

· Alternate Takes (dur. 1' 02") - two alternate versions of scenes from the movie.

· BBC Trails (dur. 1' 00") - BBC television trails for the movie.

· Who Peter 1989-2009 (dur. 26' 42") - since the birth of Doctor Who in the sixties, it has shared an almost symbiotic relationship with the long-running BBC children's magazine show `Blue Peter'. In the second part of this special documentary series, some of those involved look back over the history of that relationship in the `new series years'. With new series executive producer Russell T. Davies, Blue Peter editor Richard Marson, brand executive Edward Russell, writers Robert Shearman and Clayton Hickman and competition winners William Grantham and John Bell. Presented by Gethin Jones.

· The Wilderness Years (dur. 23' 29") - in the seven years between the end of the classic series and the broadcast of the TVM, Doctor Who survived in print, video and audio, kept alive by fans within those industries who were determined not to let it die. With BBC head of serials Peter Cregeen, former Doctor Who Magazine editor John Freeman and current editor Tom Spilsbury., Virgin Books editor Peter Darvill-Evans, BBC Books consultant Justin Richards, script editor Andrew Cartmel, video producers Keith Barnfather and Bill Baggs, director Kevin Davies and Big Finish producer Jason Haigh-Ellery. Narrated by Glen Allen.

· Stripped for Action - The Eighth Doctor (dur. 19' 45") - the final part of the series looking at the Doctor's adventures in comic-strip form. With writers Scott Gray, former Doctor Who Magazine editors Gary Russell, Alan Barnes and Clayton Hickman, artists Lee Sullivan, Martin Geraghty and Roger Langridge, author Paul Scoones, historian Jeremy Bentham.

· Tomorrow's Times - The Eighth Doctor (dur. 10' 47") another in the series looking at Doctor Who's contemporary coverage in daily newspapers and other publications. Presented by Nicholas Courtney.
107 of 113 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak, but certainly not McGann's or Segal's fault March 21 2006
By Peter Vinton Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
As "Dark Angel" and "Firefly" fans well know, the talking heads at the FOX network have an uncanny knack for truly sticking it to the science fiction community and this mismash of eleventh-hour script rewrites is no exception. It's a glorious "What-Could-Have-Been" storyline that is brilliant in its first half, falls into incomprehensible mush for the second half, then rushes to an admittedly-satisfying ending. Visually it borrows heavily from elements of "X-Files" and "E.R.," up to and including the hospital-oriented dramatics, with a recurring theme of advancing clock hands/digital clock displays. The storyline might best be described as a fusion of Pertwee's "Spearhead From Space" and Tom Baker's "The Deadly Assassin" set in present-day San Fransisco.

First off: Paul McGann is brilliant. He adheres to the cardinal rule of "reinvent the Doctor the way YOU think he should be played" that has worked so well for every actor before him, and we get a charming, easily-distracted romantic with a hypnotic gaze. Eric Roberts likewise brings a great combination of sadism and quirky humour to the Master. Sylvester McCoy is back on form as the Doctor's seventh incarnation as if he never left, and Daphne Ashbrook manages to steal scenes even when the script has relegated her to the familiar "stand to the side and ask 'What's it all about, Doctor?'" routine. Mention should also be made of Yee Jee Tso's very good performance as the wayward teenager who becomes an unwitting pawn in the Master's plan to regain his physical Time Lord existence.

The TARDIS interior is unbelievable. You get the impression that this is what the series's original designers would have aimed for all along had they the budget. This TARDIS is truly a living entity, with its own personality traits and an architecture that combines Victorian decor with a Gothic cathedral and then dresses it all up in a Jules Verne wrapping. Many fundamental premises from the original series are preserved, including the TARDIS key, the contents of the TARDIS's tool kit and even the familiar materialization and "cloister bell" sound effects. Other passing cues include jelly babies, a weirdly long scarf, squawking Daleks in the background, and a "500 Year Diary."

What the fans haven't been able to accept are the out-of-nowhere plot changes that conflict with many established premises, of the type that seem to have been added to the script for the benefit of new audiences. Why would the Time Lords construct a time machine who's power source can only be opened by the retinal scan of an alien (human)? A motorcycle/ambulance chase scene does nothing to advance the plot, although the Doctor's interactions with secondary characters are at times touching, at times hilarious. There is also an over-reliance on CGI visual effects that, while dazzling to look at, don't really add to the story and end up looking pretty out-of-place (hey, this IS the series famous for its wobbly sets and lurching green bubble-wrap monsters). I need to also work in some praise here for John Debney and Louis Febre's beautifully composed orchestral soundtrack: there are a number of moments where the music carries the story --certainly a long way from Dudley Simpson's dull clarinet fanfares or Keff McCulloch's over-synthesized chase scenes.

Like it or hate it, this episode IS the only visual representation of the Doctor in his eighth incarnation (McGann would go on to broaden the role in audio adventures), and while it has been accepted as canon by the fan community, the acceptance is a bit grudging. Nevertheless there are enough definitive "that IS the Doctor" moments to offset the weak second-half script, good DOES triumph over evil at the last instant, and of course we all know... the Master WILL be back.
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One word of caution... Nov. 17 2010
By Matt MN - Published on Amazon.com
Like everyone else, I'm ecstatic that this title is finally getting an official North American DVD release. One word of caution, however - the Doctor Who Restoration Team has confirmed that the main feature on the DVD was taken from the PAL master, not the NTSC master.

What does that mean for US/Canada audiences? As the TV movie was originally shot and broadcast in North American using the NTSC standard, that means that this conversion is NTSC -> PAL -> and back to NTSC. The feature presentation will suffer from PAL-speed up, running about 4% faster than originally broadcast on Fox back in 1996. Perceptive viewers (who may have recorded this on VHS when it originally aired) will notice that everyone's voice is pitched slightly higher and that the movie runs faster (looking similar to how "time-compressed" airings of shows look on basic cable syndication).

Most American viewers probably won't even notice the changes but they are there nonetheless and the more perceptive (or pedantic) fans will notice. Still, with that said, the extras package looks great and I can forgive the PAL speed up (I'm used to it by now, having imported the Region 2 DVD release years ago).
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Jan. 13 2009
By Jero Briggs - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Due to complex copywrite issues, this film has never been released in the U.S. since its 1996 television premiere...until now! Finally, a DVD is going to be released in 2011. It has only been aired once in the U.S. and never been shown again nor has it ever been released on home video in the states before now. It is the only on-screen appearance of Eighth Doctor Paul McGann, and the only Dr. Who ever produced by an American company.

Now the story does have its problems, and doesn't quite deserve five stars, but it's still a great adventure that deserved to be released long before now which is why I'm giving this DVD release five stars. Some of the problems include some continuity errors in the story and some unanswered questions. But over all, it does have a great action-packed story with some great directing and performances. I still found it to be highly enjoyable.

The Plot:

The Master is executed on the Dalek planet Skaro. His last request was for his arhenemy, the Doctor, to take his remains back to their home planet of Gallifrey. As the Doctor put it "It was a request they should never have granted."

The Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy is on his way to Gallifrey with the Master's remains. But the Master has managed to somewhat regenerate into an oozing snake-like creature and sabotages the TARDIS, causing it to make an emergency landing on Earth in the year 1999.

Upon arrival, the Doctor gets caught in the crossfire of a gang shoot-out and gets shot forcing him to regenerate into Eighth Doctor Paul McGann. The Master has taken over the body of an ambulance driver played by Eric Roberts. But the body won't last long. With a quickly disintergrating body, the Master intends to take over the Doctor's body by opening and using the TARDIS's power source, the Eye of Harmony. But with the Eye opened, it threatens to suck the Earth through it. Now the Doctor and new companion Dr. Grace Holloway must race against time to save the planet.

Highly recommended!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but fun movie; great DVD Feb. 11 2011
By Little Roy Blue - Published on Amazon.com
This made-for-TV movie is a strange beast; the only episode of Doctor Who to be co-produced by Americans, it attempted (and failed) to relaunch the series for a multinational audience in 1996. Thus, many Doctor Who fans regard this movie as a weird aberration - America's lone, tacky contribution to the Doctor Who mythos, sandwiched uncomfortably between the original and relaunched British versions.

I don't quite share that negative view of this movie, however. As an American myself, I've always wanted to see Doctor Who take off in the U.S. - and this movie remains Who's only truly significant foray into the U.S. market. Such concerns aside, I also admire the movie for its slick production values and sense of fun. To me, this is still the best-looking Doctor Who production of all time, particularly in terms of sets (huge), extras (numerous), and direction (arty-farty).

Certainly, Matthew Jacobs' often-convoluted script needed some work; if you compare it to "Caves of Androzani" or "Midnight," you're bound to be disappointed. But I'd still rather watch this movie than, say, anything involving the Quarks or the Slitheen - if only for Paul McGann's charismatic performance as the Eighth Doctor, and his awesome TARDIS interior.

But even for fans who hate the Doctor Who TV Movie, there should be no denying that this is a first-rate DVD package. The remastered movie itself looks and sounds great (why no Blu-ray version, I wonder?) But the real attraction is the huge array of special features. The longest is a documentary called "The Seven Year Hitch" about the movie's epic production history; though a little dry, it offers some compelling glimpses into the workings (and thought processes) of the BBC.

Another standout feature (not listed on the back of the DVD, oddly enough) is Paul McGann's audition tapes; these are particularly interesting, because he reads from a totally different script from the one ultimately used for the movie. Other cool features include: special effects tests for CGI Daleks; a featurette on press coverage for the TV Movie; another featurette on how interest in post-cancellation Doctor Who was sustained by books, comics, and fan videos; and a fun roundtable discussion in which three nerdy fans talk about what they like (and dislike) in the movie.

Overall, this is easily one of the best Doctor Who DVD releases, putting many Hollywood releases to shame; so even if you're lukewarm or hostile toward the movie itself, I'd consider picking it up.
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