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Illumination "G.Smith" (Beds, UK)

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Doctor Who: Silver Nemesis
Doctor Who: Silver Nemesis
VHS

4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth tracking down., June 30 2004
I'd say from reviews of this story that Silver Nemesis is one of those Dr Who tales you either love or hate. For the record, the story involves a living metal which was sent into orbit by the Doctor, but which crashes to Earth in the late twentieth century. Its arrival heralds the appearance of the Fourth Reich, the time-travelling medieval Lady Peinforte, and the Cybermen. Okay, so this episode has some pretty silly concepts (anything orbitting the Earth with a decaying orbit would not take 25 years to go round, the Cybermen are too weedy for words - military weapons fail to penetrate their armour, yet a gold-headed arrow can do so easily (gold being a soft metal) and the way the Doctor escapes the guards in the castle just defies camp comedy). But why can't people just enjoy this for what it is - three episodes of entertaining, sci-fi escapism. The action is fast-paced, the story is filled with interesting characters, there are plenty of humorous touches and the music is great. This video also contains the making of Silver Nemesis, which is a bonus.

The Valley of Gwangi
The Valley of Gwangi
DVD ~ James Franciscus
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 55.26
8 used & new from CDN$ 37.18

5.0 out of 5 stars An under-rated classic looking better than ever., Feb. 20 2004
This review is from: The Valley of Gwangi (DVD)
When Ray Harryhausen was looking for new ideas, he came across an old script - intended for a never-made film - written by Willis O'Brien (creator and animator of RKO's 'King Kong'). Wth a little re-writing, this film came into being. I remember seeing this film as a kid. Personally, I think it's still as good now as it was then. Ray Harryhausen's special effects are, as always, first-rate. The story is both interesting and exciting, contains barely a dull moment. Scenes of the cowboys riding into the forbidden valley, the little horse in its miniature stable, and the roping of the titular allosaur had stuck in my mind since I first saw this film. Combining a western with a dinosaur movie was certainly a master-stroke. The human characters are interesting, as are the dinosaurs - you really do feel sympathy for Gwangi at the finale. The soundtrack is excellent, and the backgrounds are atmospheric and dramatic. Besides this film, now looking better than ever, this DVD also contains an interesting look at the making of Gwangi, including interviews with Ray Harryhausen himself. This is recommended whether you're a fan of dinosaurs or monster movies in general.

Doctor Who: Warriors of The Deep
Doctor Who: Warriors of The Deep
VHS

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the cynical., Feb. 20 2004
This story has a lot to attract viewers. Despite its dramatic-sounding name, it heralds the return of the Silurians and Sea Devils, and is set in a not-too-distant future of political tension between two super-powers. The problems lie in its execution. The Silurians now talk like Cybermen, have flashing light-bulbs in their foreheads and are actors in baggy ill-fitting costumes complete with flares (!?) The Sea Devils are now parrot-faced beanpoles with stiff necks. And why do they call themselves Silurians and Sea Devils, when these were inaccurate names coined by humans? These faults might be forgiven if it weren't for the story itself. The Doctor spends this tale telling everyone how they should respect the reptiles. But the Silurians and Sea Devils have been reduced to bog-standard 'evil monsters', who are characterless clones, think of nothing but killing and destroying others. The humans are a dull lot, and the base never gives the impression of being underwater. With its bright lights, there's nowhere anything nasty could be lurking. Thing go from bad to worse, with the appearance of the Myrka. This is Dobbin the pantomime horse disguised as I-don't-know-quite-what, seems to be wearing washing-up gloves with claws (they even hired the two men who operated Dobbin in 'Rentaghost'). Scenes of the 'tough lady' kung-fu fighting the Myrka, and of actors trying desperately to make it look like obviously-fake rubber doors are actually very heavy, are in the realms of the spoof. In fact, if the Myrka had starting doing a funny dance, accompanied by jolly music, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised. The only good set is the interior of the Silurian ship, which is quite dark and looks genuinely sinister. If only all the sets had been like this. Despite the above, I'm giving this story three stars, as I actually quite enjoyed it. Fans of serious science-fiction, however, would be better off with the seventies 'Dr Who and the Silurians' and 'The Sea Devils', which are much better. In fact, 'Silurians' is an all-time classic. Shame nobody involved with the making of 'Warriors' watched it properly.

Superman II (Widescreen)
Superman II (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Gene Hackman
Offered by gabysbookscanada
Price: CDN$ 5.49
34 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great film, rubbish DVD, Jan. 22 2004
This review is from: Superman II (Widescreen) (DVD)
This is one of the best of the Superman films. In fact, I'd put it on a par with the original. Superman faces the twin conflicts of his love interest with Lois, and a trio of super-crooks who have escaped Krypton and are released from their prison by Earthly weapons. It is therefore unfortunate that this DVD has been put out without care or interest. Not only is the picture untidy, but I now have two versions of this DVD, and neither work properly. In both cases, the screen kept freezing and jumping several minutes. I then get an error message saying the DVD player can't read the DVD. Do yourself a favour a buy this on cassette.

Ratchet & Clank 2 Going Commando - PlayStation 2
Ratchet & Clank 2 Going Commando - PlayStation 2
9 used & new from CDN$ 6.79

2.0 out of 5 stars The typical sequal., Jan. 4 2004
When the first Ratchet and Clank came out I was totally blown away. The engaging characters, the addictive gameplay, the imaginative settings, the amazing graphics. It was as though a whole new universe of fun had been created.
I can't quite say Going Commando had the same effect on me. For a start, there's the storyline. The original R&C involved a race against time to save the galaxy from an evil power-hungry dictator and his army of killer robots. Going Commando sees Ratchet and Clank pottering along trying to track down some gormless inventor. Nothing really dramatic happens. It all just seems to plod on. Though the game is playable, looks nice and provides short-term entertainment, it isn't really anything different. It has to be said that the weapons in this game are pretty feeble compared to those in the original. You spend forever saving up enough bolts to be able to afford some super-duper-blow-em-up-whatever, only to find that all it seems to do is irritate the enemies. The shoot-em-up sections are frustrating and utterly tedious. It's not always clear what you're meant to be shooting at anyway. I spent several evenings being shot at by a load of invisible enemies, using up a huge arsenal of weapons just to dent one of the big ships I was meant to be destroying, whilst a voice cackled at me. Then I spent a few more evenings stuck on the same few levels. This game seems to expand upon the (few) problems in the far superior original. There is a huge increase in pointless, mind-numbing sub-games. There are far too many enemies on the screen at once - what do you do if you're surrounded by hundreds of yetis or robots and blue furry things? You spend half your time going over and over and over levels you've already done, just to save up enough bolts for the Latest Big Gun. Then you discover all it does is fondles the enemy's botty. The boss sequences are long-winded, and the enemy's dialogue is obnoxious and irritating.
The cartoon sequences, it has to be said, are funny and entertaining. Shame about the rest of the game really. This is one to rent rather than buy. Okay, so it caught the Christmas bandwagon, but I'd prefer to wait longer for a game that's more rewarding to play. Still, there's always Part 3, advertised in a crude piece of merchandising within this game.

Return to Lost World [Import]
Return to Lost World [Import]
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 18.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Why was this film made?, Jan. 4 2004
I can only assume the producers had some spare film left over, thought they might as well use it up, squeeze a few extra coins out of the franchise. This is quite the worst excuse for a dinosaur film I can remember seeing. The early scenes, involving a lump of rubber which is supposed to be an armoured dinosaur, should be enough to put anyone off. If it isn't, then prepare to be bored. Though the plot starts off interestingly enough, combining Conan Doyle's characters with eco-awareness, it soon descends into a tedious copy of its predecessor, with a far-too-large cast stranded in the lost world. Virtually nothing happens for most of the film. The dinosaurs are barely seen, but as the special effects are so lamentably bad, maybe that's for the best. Once again, a well-cast Challenger and Summerlee are completely wasted.

Doctor Who: The Invasion of Time
Doctor Who: The Invasion of Time
VHS

3.0 out of 5 stars First 4 episodes interesting, last 2 are just ridiculous., June 29 2003
The Doctor returns to Gallifrey and declares himself President, seems to be hell-bent on assisting a sinister alien takeover. What follows is an intriguing look at the Time Lord society in decay. The fact that the Doctor can stroll in and become president on a technicality shows flaws have developed in their legal system, and there are now bands of outsiders who have abandoned life in the cities and now live as savages. Indeed, some of the best scenes are out in the wilds, a never-before-seen part of Gallifrey. Tom Baker is good as an almost sinister Doctor, and his Presidential Office is an unusual design. Though the first four episodes are sometimes a little on the slow side, if the story had finished at the end of Episode Four it would probably have been remembered as a fairly good adventure. What really lets the story down is the contrived arrival of the Sontarans. A far cry from Kevin Lindsay's intelligent warrior, these Sontarans are comedy stormtroopers. They spend two pointless episodes blundering about the corridors of Gallifrey's city, and an abandoned hospital (?) which seems to exist inside the Tardis. It's very tricky to take them seriously, especially as their leader has a cockney accent, and they have cardboard helmets with cut-out eye-holes that look like they were made for a school play. This story might be worth a look if you're interested in Time Lord society, but fans of Sontarans would be better off tracking down 'Time Warrior' or 'Sontaran Experiment'.

Doctor Who: Image of the Fendahl
Doctor Who: Image of the Fendahl
VHS

5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable story., June 29 2003
Though the idea of mankind's destiny being manipulated by aliens has been used several times in the series' history, this is still a first-rate and highly entertaining story. What really sets it apart are the interesting ideas - the last survivor from the 'fifth planet' which once existed between Mars and Jupiter, the creepy settings and the top-notch final episode. The transformation scenes in a giant pentagram, accompanied by haunting music, really do stick in the mind. The story's monsters, the Fendahleen (a cross between a hooded cobra and a giant slug) look suitably dramatic and well-designed, and Tom Baker, whether he is being witty, brooding, clever or wild, gives a good performance. The rest of the cast are also strong characters, and the bonus is a complete absense of that stupid childish metal dog.

Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock
Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock
VHS

5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock-style suspence at its best., June 29 2003
The Doctor and Leela arrive at a lighthouse which, unknown to the keepers, has already received a visitor. Before long, a ship lost in the fog runs aground on the rocks and its survivors are marooned on the island. A creature with electrical powers is stalking the shadows. And, fittingly, it's at the dawn of the twentieth century, an era when there was fear concerning the invention of electricity. All in all, this is one of the most tense and suspenceful stories in the show's history. The isolated lighthouse, enshrouded in both legend and in fog, makes an ideal setting. The characters are all very well-thought-out, the dialogue is first-rate, the Doctor and Leela are just as they should be. Tom Baker is at his best here, his character shifting perfectly between brooding stranger and rolling-eyed madman. There is barely a dull moment.

Doctor Who: Doctor Who and The Silurians
Doctor Who: Doctor Who and The Silurians
VHS

5.0 out of 5 stars A real Dr Who classic, April 15 2003
The Doctor and his companions at UNIT are called to a search centre to deal with unexplained power loss and nervous breakdowns among the staff. Before long they have uncovered a race of people who once ruled the Earth but were driven into suspended animation by some predicted global disaster.
This is Dr Who at its best. The storyline is intelligent and well-thought-out, the characters are strong (Pertwee is a likeable eccentric/gentleman version of the central character), there are some great pieces of dialogue (the 'house of rats' analogy, for example), and despite the length of the story (7 episodes) there is no padding to speak of. The incidental music sometimes borders on the idiotic, but that minor detail doesn't detract from this fine tale.

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