Doctor Who: The Claws of Axos
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Doctor Who: Claws of Axos, The (Episode 57) (DVD)
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Chinn, under the Emergency Powers Act, overrules the Brigadier in authority and in a petty show of power, calls in regular army troops and has the UNIT troops arrested. The captain is played by a young Tim Piggott-Smith.
The Master has led the Axons to Earth and acts as their agent to get the Axonite distributed throughout the world. This action gets Chinn in hot water and reduces his authority for the rest of the story. The Axons have the Master's TARDIS so he tries to steal the Doctor's, which gets him caught. The Master has the best lines. When he tries to fly the Doctor's TARDIS, he mutters, "Might as well try to fly a secondhand gas stove." During a time when he temporarily aids UNIT, Hardiman, the nuclear plant administrator, asks him if he intends to channel the Axons' power into a police box. To which the Master nods with a mocking smile on his face.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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.Published on Nov. 24 2005 by Jeremy Morrow
I will have my critics, but I just can't get enough of this Doctor Who adventure!
Ok, so it is flawed, but that does not stop this story being enjoyable. Read more
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