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The British
Appraise The Titanic
DOCTOR WHO
Christmas Special!!

I am – Hercules!! “ApocalypseGuy” calls it a fabulous premise wasted:
Hey Herc, First off, hope you and Harry and co. are all having a great Christmas and that you all have a prosperous 2008! And now down to business. Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned… Oh, Russell T. Davies. Why do you do this to yourself? You manage to come up with yet another fabulous premise and then waste it on churning out yet another average piece of television. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of good stuff in here, but for everything that was good there was something that was truly average. Take the CGI for example. Absolutely breathtaking, some of the best stuff that's ever graced the face of British TV, never mind Who itself… and then towards the end there were two shots that looked like the CG guys couldn't be arsed with finishing them (I'm talking about the two shots just before the ship entered the atmosphere). They need to start making this stuff more consistent and not up and down all over the place like it has been recently. Just because Doctor Who has a reputation for looking corny it's not an excuse to let things slip. Which brings me nicely on to the production design. I don't understand why the design appears to have so little money thrown at it on this show. The show was supposed to be set on the Titanic, but other than the exterior I didn't see anything on the inside that reminded me of it. No grand staircase or anything like that. I wasn't expecting anything on par with James Cameron's last outing but it would have been nice to have acknowledged it a little. And where was the obligatory scene of the Doctor and Kylie walking on the deck under the stars looking out at the Earth from the bow of the ship? A missed opportunity perhaps. What the production design did remind me of was… a lot of other Doctor Who episodes. The interiors looked as generic as we usually get, with most of the sets looking exactly the same as the flying aircraft carrier from last year's finale. And don't even get me started on the bridge. The first aid box was the most exciting piece of production design in the place, I actually thought it was going to turn out to be important. The same goes for Kylie Minogue, I reckon. She was very under utilized and, unfortunately, I don't think her character will prove to be very memorable. If you're going to get a big name, big budget guest star, at least give them something decent to do rather than just give them a teary exit. Kylie seemed to have as much screen time as the rest of the guest cast, whose acting ranged from average to absolutely terrible. (Except the little midget robot thingy. Fantastic.) I guess this happened because they blew the casting budget paying Tennant's and Minogue's wages. Speaking of David Tennant, even he seemed to be struggling with some of what he'd been given this time round, although he was still the best thing about the show by far and away. (Although I really could have done without that montage towards the end. It looked like a small child had just discovered the dissolve feature on their Dad's copy of iMovie!) On to the plot itself. Robots, robots, robots. Has there been a Doctor Who Christmas special over the last three years that hasn't had some evil robots in it? For goodness sake, Davies, move on! At least this time you gave them a reason for being robots, but never-the-less, if those bastard things had DINGED and revealed some information to me one more time… In terms of the show as a whole it all felt like one overly long set piece. There was nothing as exciting as the Tardis car chase from last year; the main set piece, a fight across a catwalk, lacked energy and by the time the Doctor inevitably saved the day at the end of the episode, the thing had been going on for so long my attention had started to wander. The running time was around an hour and ten minutes if I'm not mistaken but it didn't feel like it needed to be. I'm struggling to think how they managed to drag the show out for so long. A lot of the characters were quite forgettable and nothing seemed to be quite urgent enough. The shipman on the bridge got shot towards the beginning but miraculously clung on to life through the entire episode and I didn't really care enough about the Earthologist, or whatever he was called, or anyone else for that matter, to care whether they were dead or alive by the end of the show. And one other little thing that really irritated me… they couldn't work a certain piece of equipment that could have saved Astrid but they could use it to send the Doctor down to Earth? Why?! Every time I write one of these things for Doctor Who, I find myself feeling quite bad about how harsh I've been as it does mildly entertain me before I start whinging about it after it's finished. Davies's dialogue is for the most part sharp and amusing, the premise was ambitious and different, Tennant's acting is always top notch and for the most part the CG was incredible. All of this and I'm still left with the jarring thought: DING! Information: Decidedly average on all accounts. Call me ApocalypseGuy please!
“RolloTomassi” complains about the villains and the effects:
I’m not a regular contributor by any means (only one unused submission before now) but have just finished watching the Dr Who Christmas special and felt compelled to finally come off the fence and speak my mind. I’ve been a Who fan for as long as I can remember watching TV but that by no means pre-disposes me to the low standards of old. Since the shows resurrection as one of the BBC’s flagships I’ve attempted to hold it up to the litmus paper that are the top US TV ratings winners. I enjoyed the first (27th or whatever) season with Christopher Eccleston, and have enjoyed the Tennant period immensely. I like David Tennant’s Doctor. I really hope he stays for the foreseeable future. However, and I make no apologies for this, I’m no fan of Russell T. Davies. Yes, Queer As Folk was a great achievement, and in resurrecting a great British sci fi institution I can’t fault him, but dear God the man can’t write a decent episode to save his life. So, some background withstanding, I went into the 2007 Christmas Ep, “Voyage of the Damned” with not so much trepidation as the sense of a resounding ‘meh’. Warning: SPOILERS ahead. The episode follows on from the last ep of the previous season where the Titanic crashed into the side of the TARDIS. However, this isn’t quite the Titanic you’d expect as the Doctor reconstitutes his home and finds himself aboard an intergalactic cruise vessel. He meets Kylie Minogue’s waitress and after a brief trip to a deserted London (After the last two Christmas’ alien encounters everyone’s run off to the country) they’re back on the ship which is soon crippled by meteorites due to a suicidal dying captain. Cue an amalgam of the Poseidon Adventure, ‘Impossible Planet’ Ood Chase, and Jerry Bruckheimer supporting cast sensibilities (Don’t worry, I’ll give my life needlessly to save the hero!) Now, this isn’t the say there isn’t some good in all of it. Minogue has five times the charm, the depth and the warmth of Catherine Tate (Most Who fans I know are debating whether to tune in next series as she’s so incredibly annoying. “Am I bovered?” – Yes Miss Tate you should be as you’re the no talent, one joke equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.) Unfortunately, and obviously due to time commitments, we’re not going to be seeing the young pop princess after this, which is a real shame as she has a great deal of potential – Remember Billy Piper couldn’t really act to begin with either. Also, in Clive Swift there’s an intelligent, human character who hopefully will turn up in a future episode. It’s around these two characters that the two ‘endings’ revolve and both seem succinct. The Minogue one even approaches moving. However both are ruined by crappy special effects. Which would bring me onto the bad. The computer effects are once again pretty lowsy. Come on BBC, stump up the cash to bring it up to standard. Secondly, and unfortunately as expected, RTD’s script is predominantly flat and lifeless, with varying attempts at stirring drama that simply don’t work. And crucially, the villains are just a little bit wank. The robot angels are a shoddy amalgam of what have gone before – They’re simply not scary – and the ‘hidden’ big bad guy is apparently a piss poor Davros reference. With all the rumours surrounding what is happening in the future I can only hope that they are half true. Tennant should stay and Russell T should go. Give it to Steven Moffat (Blink, The Girl In The Fireplace, The Empty Child) or someone else who appreciates that to be truly memorable, we need to be forced back behind the sofa like a little kid. The preview of the next season isn’t promising with the return of the Ood, and Sarah Lancashire (2006’s Queen of the Raknos) turning up again in a different role – proving once and for all that the producer can’t work with anyone he hasn’t worked with before. Still, it’s Christmas Day so I must return to the lashings of food on offer. I await the rabid Russell T fans laying into me in the Talkbacks. Have a very merry Christmas.
“Celtican” found some parts good, others cringeworthy:
***Spoilers Ahead Captain*** Celtican here from Wales. Happy Christmas everybody! And so the most highly anticipated British tv show of the festive season has aired with mixed reviews. Voyage of the Damned is Douglas Adams's 'Starship Titanic' meets 'The Poseidon Adventure', part mystery, part action adventure and part love story; all the ingredients for a rip roaring Doctor Who Christmas special (well maybe not the love story). Anyway, the Doctor materialises on a cruise liner called Titanic after it crashes into the Tardis. Well I say liner it's more of a starship modelled on the ill fated S.S. Titanic that sunk in 1912. Anyway, the Doctor makes some pretty nifty repairs to the TARDIS and he's off on a new adventure. Don't you hate it when some 'reviewers' just repeat the plot verbatim? Well me too so I wont. On board the 'Titanic' the Doctor meets plucky waitress Astrid Peth (Kylie Minogue) and the passengers of this luxury space liner. Soon trouble brews and of course it's up to the Doctor (as usual) to save the day and the Earth (again). The special starts by introducing us to a reworked main title theme, the 'sound of drums' are more prevalent in the new arrangement and the whole things feels a lot more powerful. The rendering of the 'Titanic' is a plus point as is a brief cameo by the legend that is Mr. Bernard Cribbins, whose previous daliance with Doctor Who was in the 1960's big screen outing 'Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD' as well as being the voice of the Wombles and featuring in countless other much loved movies. Other notable guest stars include Geoffrey Palmer (Butterflies & As Time Goes By) as the ill fated Captain Hardaker, Clive Swift (Revelation of the Daleks)as Earth expert 'Mr. Cooper', Who stalwart Jimmy Vee (Moxx of Balhoun, Aliens of London, Attack of the Graske) as 'Bannakaffalatta', Debbie Chazen (Tittybangbang) as 'Foon Van Hoff' and Gray O'Brien (Coronation Street) as the token bad penny 'Rickson Slade'. The special also runs slightly longer than the usual TV episodes and clocks in at a respectable 80 minutes. The pacing is fast and has no problems getting past the character introductions and into the action. Before you can say 'Alons-y' the Doctor is battle killer robotic angels in race to save the passengers in his charge. There are many allusions such as mention of Passenger 57', teleport bracelets straight out of Blakes' 7, references to the previous Christmas specials and we meet a character who's called.... well if you havent seen it and you bypassed the spoiler warning (assuming other reviewers are just as considerate) then I'll leave that as a nice surprise. There are many good things to be said about VotD such as the acting (for the most part), the effects, the cast; but for some reason I feel compelled to list the bad. In fact some parts (for me) were downright cringeworthy but it all seem to decline with the introduction of the storys 'big bad'. From then on we were submitted to 'Michael Bay-esque' slow-motion-dramatic-effect-with-flames and the obligatory 'Nooooooo!'. The Doctor clicking his fingers so the angels could fly him away, the angels adopting Superman flight poses and worst of the worst - the Queen waving atop Buckingham Palace and saying 'thank you Doctor'. Kylie's (IMHO) acting was a tad wooden but to give her credit she's been out of the game for a while. Anyway, the series 4 preview more than made up for it as we were treated to a few of the upcoming episodes 'The Sontaran Strategem', 'Planet of the Ood' and 'Partners in Crime' as well as the (as yet unknown titled) Pompeii and Agatha Christie episodes. So only 3 months to go before another 13 weeks of Doctor Who which I'm hoping will be as good as ever. Here's to 2008!
“Dunno” gives it mixed notices:
Just seen Voyage of The Damned, the 70 minute long Dr. Who christmas special. Spoilers? Well Kylie Minogue's acting skills almost spoiled the show, does that count? Alright, so the Doctor left the shields down when we last seen him, then he crashed into the Titanic. The Titanic happens to be a space cruise ship, floating around close to the earth. Dr. gets down to earth for a few mins with the help of the ship's "tourist" thingy & notices something is wrong cause there's nobody around, he then finds out the Queen has said "One is going to stay in Buckingham Palace this Christmas", to reassure the people of the UK or some shit, it was all exposition, the dialogue came second. He gets beamed back up to the ship, notices the shields are down & there are asteroids coming towards it. So a lot of people panic & a lot of thing go wrong on the ship. The Titanic does what it does best & breaks. The TARDIS drifts off into space, headed for earth without a Timelord inside. Robot angels go crazy. Explosions happen. The doctor has to save earth again. Can he do it? Sort of. Tennant was great, as per usual, although one scene had him, Minogue & the bad guy (who i wont name to avoid spoiling the episode for all the people who live outside the UK) making faces at each other, so cheesy. it kinda reminded me of DragonBall Z. Minogue was pretty bad, kinda reminded me of why i never watched Neighbours back in the day. The supporting cast, excluding Kyle, were all spot on. They were not hamming it up & they all looked like they knew what they we're doing. Actually, the little clip of the Queen running around a corridor in Buckingham was pretty poorly acted too. At the end we see some footage of what's in store. Clips of explosions, the Doctor running, Catherine Tate, some creatures that remind me of Cthullu that I'm sure we've seen before & a shot of Martha. After that, some footage of the next series/season of Torchwood. Clips of Captain Jack, the rest of the crew and, you've guessed it, Martha. That's it' i can't remember much more. If you use this, hold on, i hate seeing all those "if you use this..." bits at the end, but what else can you say? Call me Dunno.
“Candy ass monkey suit” likes Kylie but not the bad guy:
Hi Herc Just thought id give a quick review of the Christmas special of Doctor Who which has just aired on Christmas day here in the U.K. "VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED" WRITTEN BY RUSSELL T DAVIES RUNTIME 1HOUR 10 MINS VOTD is the 3rd Doctor who xmas special since the series was relaunched A few years back. Viewers may remember the Tardis being hit by the titanic at the end of season 3's finale ep "last of the time lords" well this immediatley continues at that point. The doctor after repairing the tardis visits the titanic to find out why the ship hit him and so on..but after looking out of the window see that this is not the original titanic but a replica of the ship in space which is orbiting earth!! turns out folk from the planet stowe are fascinated about earth culture, even though their knowledge is largey inacurate and have recreated a replica of the titanic which is giving its passengers a tour of earth. The Doctor meets astrid peth (played wonderfully by kylie minogue, australian actress and singer who is very famous in the u.k and europe but is less well known probably in the u.s) who the doctor takes a fancy too. the doctor discovers that the ships shields have been de-activated and tries to warn the ships captain who ignores the doctor..turns out that he was the one who deactivated them! anyway,3 comets are on a collision course with the ship and eventually hit..cue major VFX shots here..from here on in the episode basically becomes a kinda space version of the posiden adventure with the various crew and passengers being killed off as the episode progresses. Whats behind the disaster..well the ship has as its kind of information givers,robots which look like angels,these have been tampred with and re-programmed by as yet we do not know..but more of that in a minute. the doctor and various shipmates try and get from one end of the ship to another etc. We eventually find out that the ships owner max capricorn is behind the nefarious goings on's..why?..well thats not really important..really it isn't and is the eps only real failing. The doctor is captured and until astrid ..MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!! .. sacrifices herself killing max in the process to save the doctor and the passengers. The doc then has the problem of trying to avoid the ship crashing to earth which due to the ships power supply would be catastropic to earths population causing deats of billions. In a very very british scene! the doctor steers the ship clear just as it is about to crash into buckingham palace! The story thus ends as a few loose ends are wrapped up and the doctor travels off in the tardis. We are then treated to a short trailer showing clips from the upcoming season 4,which is due to begin in march 08..whats in store..well as we know the return of donna (the brief companion from last yr's xmas special) a visit to ancient rome,the return of old enemy the sontarans and meeting agatha chrisrie. What the trailer didnt show was the return of rose tyler played by billie piper,probably because the eps with her in have only just been shot. THE GOOD STUFF? Kylie minogue..shame she cant be the new companion but after seeling milions of albums has other priorities i guess! THE FX..again The Mill have done a marvellous job on a TV budget,ther's some great fx in this ep,truly epic in places. David tennant of course..a great actor. THE BAD A crap bad guy,truly awful typical of rusell t davies who wrote the ep But it didnt matter as 90% of it was very good. the alien passanger banakafalatta..again silly creation. All in all probably the best xmas special yet and am now amped up for season 4//bring it on !! Thanks Candy ass monkey suit

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