Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Saturday, December 4, 2010

'The Time Monster' is a 'Doctor Who' classic

Doctor Who: The Time Monster (1972)
Starring: Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Roger Delgado, and Ingrid Pitt
Director: Robert Sloman
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

The time-traveling alien known as the Doctor (Pertwee) and UNIT operative Jo Grant (Manning) find themselves squaring off against their old nemesis, the Master (Delgado). The Master's latest scheme for domination of all of time and space involves harnessing the might of Chronos, the creature that brought low the mighty land of Atlantis.

"The Time Monster" is a film that originally aired as 30-minute segments as part of the long-running and very popular BBC sci-fi/fantasy television series "Doctor Who". It is one of my all-time favorite storylines from the show, as it features an equal blend of sci-fi, fantasy, social commentary, and nifty actions with plenty of cool story twists. It's fun the way the story moves easily from the 1970s Earth setting with the Master conducting mad science experiments with interdimensional physics, to the purely sci-fi environment of time-travel machines and the Doctor and Master matching wits and testing each other's nerve, and to a pure fantasy environment with an evil and duplicitous Atlantean queen (played by the sexy Ingrid Pitt) who would have been perfectly at home in one of those Italian Hercules movies. The film is further enhanced by multi-faceted minor villains and by the way the personalities of the Master and the Doctor are compared and contrasted as the story unfolds.

This is a classic "Doctor Who" storyline that has stood up well to the passage of time. The effects can't hold a candle to what we've gotten with the revival of the series in recent years, and the acting might be a little hokey at times, but the storyline and the characterization of the Doctor and the Master fit right in with the "Drums of War" story line from a few seasons back. (In fact, watching "The Time Monster" before watching "The Drums of War" and "The Last Timelord" will make those modern episodes feel all the more impactful, because the love/hate relationship of the Doctor and the Master is so well defined in this film... and because Roger Delgado plays a GREAT Master.)

"Doctor Who: The Time Monster" is worth seeking out by fans of both the new and classic series.

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