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Doctor Who: The Claws of Axos

Jon Pertwee , Katy Manning    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.74
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A podlike spacecraft is on an intercept course for Earth, and nervous humans' first instinct is to shoot first and ask questions later. Instead, they discover a race of golden, beautiful aliens asking for help and offering an unlimited source of energy--with a catch. Originally this 1971 adventure was to be called "The Vampire from Space," but that was too obvious, particularly when the villainous Master (Roger Delgado) is really behind this latest threat to Earth. Can the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) discover the awful truth about Axos in time, or will his desire to free himself from the planet overcome his better judgment?

A fabulous sense of Englishness permeates this era of the series, with pretentious bureaucrats, overzealous army officers, and comic poachers among others reacting to aliens in their own backyard. And despite being the Doctor's main adversary at the time, the Master gets all the best lines, including his comment about the repairs to the TARDIS being a "botch up," and suggesting to the nervous Englishmen that "putting sticky tape on the windows" might be a good defense against a nuclear explosion. Watch for an early appearance by Tim Piggot-Smith (The Jewel in the Crown) as an army officer, as well as a sudden snowstorm during filming that is explained away as "freak weather conditions" caused by the aliens! Episodes 2 and 3 appear a bit murky due to the original British copies having to be remastered. With lots of monsters, action, and high-tech sets, stories like this were the backbone that Doctor Who's reputation in the 1970s rests on. --Ryan K. Johnson


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Instant nostalgia - even in 1971! July 17 2006
Format:DVD
The Claws of Axos is a decent story but that's about it. If your a huge Pertwee UNIT era fan it's something you would buy simply because there are few stories from that era out on DVD at this time. It has UNIT, the Master and and an alien invasion. If you were to make a pastiche of this era of the series this would be the story you'd come up with. It's not really bad but not particularily good either and the over-all story just doesn't come together.

The main reason for it's release was to test the RSC (Reverse Standards Conversion) process whereby tapes of the show that were recovered from North America in the NTSC standard could be reprocessed back to the PAL standard and be of higher picture quality for DVD release. This disc of course is in NTSC but the picture will be higher quality then if they had used the original NTSC picture. The best thing about this release is that it paved the way for Inferno on DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychedelic Spaghetti Monsters-a-Go-Go! Nov. 24 2005
Format:DVD
How can anybody not fall in love with this psychedelic Who classic? It's got gooey spaghetti monsters in it! A must have for any Who fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All that glitters is not gold Oct. 9 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This is an intersting Third Doctor tale starring Jon Pertwee first broadcast between 13 March and April 3 1971.
Beware of Greeks bearing Gifts is the old saying, but in this case it is the Autons, with a material called Axonite which brings with it the promise of solving all the earth's problems of food shortages.
Before you know it of course, there is more to it than that and soon the Axon plot is uncovered. The Master too, has a role to play as the two-faced, double-crossing, Timelord wriggles from his situation as a captive of the Axons and ultimately makes good his escape.
The Axons, similar to the Autons as part of a single entity are looking for an energy source and earth just fits the bill. The story highlights the fact that appearances can be deceptive as the Axons adopt a beautiful gold form which transfixes their human hosts and undermines their natural hostility and suspicion. The other human trait of greed, particularly when confronted with getting something for nothing, is also highlighted by this story as well as the ruthlessness which humans adopt when trying to get what they want.
However, the adage of all that being glitters is not gold holds up when eventually the humans find that they have been sold a pup. Almost too late, they fight to defeat the Axons who have reverted to their natural form with more than a little bit of help from the Doctor.
The moral of the story clearly is that we can get by without a little bit of help from our friends (or otherwise).
My only complaint about this story is the way in which this, and other third doctor stories, is another one of those 'the biggest threat to the human race than the world has ever seen'. Other than that it is a preety good well worth watching adventure.
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Format:VHS Tape
The key to enjoying the classic and high-energy CLAWS OF AXOS is to get hold of the reality that it's cheaply made British SF from the early 70's, and its storyline focuses on the disaster of solid, unimaginative, middle-class British civil servants trying to deal with an invasion from outer space.
One of the best loved stories from Doctor Who, AXOS must be watched with appreciation for the classic "Running around, getting captured, and escaping" subplots, the incredibly psychedelic sets with the semi-nude Axon humanoids (who look like spray painted refugees from 1970-era San Francisco), and the emphasis on classic SF crisis situations (an opportunity to end world hunger, really big nuclear plants, army involvement vs. personal freedom) all being handled by a man whose entire life has been spent trying to secure himself in a civil service job and perhaps get a promotion for himself.
This is the situation that the Doctor and UNIT must face, and even our favorite timelord resorts to some duplicity and deception as he seems to turn against his friends--all in order to save them, of course.
CLAWS OF AXOS is a tremendous romp through cheesy TV-SF, and it is best watched from a bean bag chair with the lava lamp going, all the lights off, and everybody equipped with Smith's Nut Brown Ale. If you put expectations on it, you'll be disappointed, but if you remember that a lot of us grew up on this stuff and had a great time with it, you should enjoy it.
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