Thursday Night Movie Club
Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks
star rating graphicstar rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: 14 November 2016

Director: Christopher Barry
Patrick Troughton
Anneke Wills
Michael Craze
Pamela Ann Davy
Peter Hawkins
Nicholas Hawtrey
Robert James
Richard Kane
Steven Scott
Dr. Who
Polly Wright
Ben Jackson
Dalek Voice
Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks movie poster Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks movie poster Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks movie poster
Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor in his first episode in Doctor Who: The Power of the DaleksFirst a little background on The Power of the Daleks. This is the first episode of the long-running Doctor Who series starring Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor. This episode was never broadcast in the U.S. Fans have been clamoring to see the first episode after The Doctor's regeneration.

Unfortunately, no original prints of the television episode remain. Through extensive research and an unbelievable outpouring of fan support, the BBC was able to find still photographs, storyboards, an original script with director's notes, a few surviving video clips, interviews with surviving cast and crew members, and a complete audio track.

In a massive restoration project, the end result is a "somewhat" restored version. Based on the wealth of found information, The Power of the Daleks was recreated as a 2D animated film. The final result is amazing for fans young and old, old and new fans.

The Doctor has regenerated which comes as a complete surprise for his two companions Polly Wright (Anneke Wills) and Ben Jackson (Michael Craze). This is not the curmudgeon old man they know. This man is a bit younger, has jet-black hair and a permanent scowl plastered on his lined face.

Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor in his first episode in Doctor Who: The Power of the DaleksThe Doctor is acting strangely. Not at all like himself, or maybe his acting like his old self, or his new old self or... Polly and Ben are thoroughly befuddled by this stranger.

The Doctors time capsule T.A.R.D.I.S. materializes on the planet Vulcan. The Doctor is anxious to explore. Polly and Ben don't think that is such a good idea. The Doctor discovers a dead body. Before he can make up an excuse, The Doctor is mistaken for the Examiner. The Examiner is from Earth and has carte blanche to go wherever he wants and inspect whatever he wants.

T.A.R.D.I.S. from Doctor Who: The Power of the DaleksThe Doctor has stumbled into a mine field of mystery and intrigue. The current planetary governor is very strict leading to a rebellion among the colonists. Spying, double-dealing, and mistrust abound. No one is sure if a friend or coworker is friend or foe.

Lurking in the shadows is the mysterious experiments by Lesterson (Robert James). He has been examining a strange capsule. There is no indication of where it came from, its purpose, and whether there is alien life aboard the ship. To his utter dismay, The Doctor discovers the true nature of the craft: The Daleks, the Doctor's nemesis. While Lesterson is programming the Daleks to serve the colonists, the Daleks are plotting the destruction of the colonists.

As usual in the Doctor Who series, the Doctor knows all too well the dangers the colonists face from the Daleks. His pleas fall on deaf ears. Only the Doctor can save the day. But did he arrive on the scene too late!

Doctor Who: The Power of the DaleksFirst off, The Power of the Daleks has a great story. Quite literally, no one knows who to trust. Some high-ranking officers and scientists are siding with the rebellion. Some will seize any opportunity to climb the corporate ladder. Those in power will do whatever they need to in order to stay in power. Quietly manipulating the humans from the shadows are the Daleks.

Fans of Doctor Who are well aware of the Daleks, what they are, where they are from and there ultimate goal: Exterminate! This installment in the series is one of the best renditions of the Daleks. There portrayal is very clever on the part of the writers. The Daleks seek conquest. They do not serve. Everyone else serves Them!

The Daleks from Doctor Who: The Power of the DaleksWhen the Daleks speak to the humans, they appear subservient. But every now and then, they are about to blurt out what they really think of the humans, they quickly catch their mistake, take a second to calm down, and then change the words they speak. The effect is unnerving. On one hand, the stuttering Daleks are funny. Fans who know their true intentions will feel the menace and terror of the Daleks. The Daleks are helping the humans build a source of immense energy. Secretly, the Daleks are building a series of power conduits which will help them move freely around the colony.

Patrick Troughton is in the same unenviable position as George Lazenby in the James Bond film franchise. How do you replace a beloved actor and keep the character intact? The BBC invented the Doctor's regeneration since the show was so hugely popular. With a new actor in the role, the character changes to fit the new actors talents.

William Hartnell, as the First Doctor, was a crusty old man who had very little patience. Troughton is a crusty old man with a permanent scowl on his face. Through most of his first episode as the Doctor, Troughton's vocalizations and facial expressions make it very difficult to tell if he is truly angry with his traveling companions and the colonists or if he is joking. This may be intentional. Keep the old crusty Doctor but have the character slowly evolve through the episode. By the end of the episode, Troughton is smiling and clearly making jests.

Anneke Wills, Patrick Troughtonand Michael Craze in Doctor Who: The Power of the DaleksThe rest of the cast is there to move the story along. Anneke Wills and Michael Craze are very good having the difficult task of explaining (to the home audience) the paradox of what has occurred. Is it the Doctor? He says he is the Doctor but he clearly isn't. If he isn't the Doctor, who is he? Worse yet, how do the two companions get home?

Highlighting the cast is Robert James as Lesterson. Lesterson found the capsule. He is under orders to not investigate the alien ship until the examiner arrives. Curiosity gets the better of him and he opens the capsule, discovers the Daleks, removes one of the inert beings and gradually restores this.

James is quite good. At first, Lesterson does everything he can to prevent anyone from interfering with his work, which he keeps to himself. He tells everyone he did not open the capsule. As the Doctor continually warns everyone do not trust the Daleks, Lesterson trusts the Daleks. After all, Lesterson restored the Daleks. Lesterson first communicated with the Daleks. Lesterson domesticated the Daleks. The Daleks pose no threat whatsoever.

One of Lesterson's experimants from Doctor Who: The Power of the DaleksThrough it all, James' performance changes subtly. At first, Lesterson is arrogant. When the Doctor arrives. Lesterson is suspicious. His ego will not allow for anyone to take away his discovery. His suspicions change from his fellow humans to wondering if the Daleks can be trusted. Lesterson slowly descends into paranoia and finally madness when he realizes exactly what he did. Lesterson thought he was in control. But he was never in control and now the power of the Daleks is out. People are dying. Throughout it all, James gives a chilling performance.

The tricky part of The Power of the Daleks is the film has been completely remade as a 2D animated film. The animators are not animating fictional characters like Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. They are attempting to recreate the live actions of actual actors in order to make this recreation.

T.A.R.D.I.S. from Doctor Who: The Power of the DaleksThe animation alone is worth the price of admission. After a few minutes, the film does not "seem" animated but stylized. The animators have done a masterful job recreating the subtle movements of each actor/character. Facial expressions bring life into the animation. Simple movements such as walking and hand gestures are natural. Set lighting changes depending on where the action takes place. Shadows on faces reveals inner depth of each character.

The Power of the Daleks is a very good film for fans as well as those who do not know much about the Doctor's adventures. The atmosphere is suspenseful, thick, heavy, foreboding. The dangers are real. The intrigue alone can doom the colonists. On top of all the human elements causing conflict among the humans, enter the Daleks. Man vs. Man and Daleks against all!

Patrick Troughton, the original director, and the entire cast and crew would be very proud of this loving recreation. The whole world benefits from the efforts of the BBC. Well done. What's next?