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Reviews for The Ark in Space

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Good, if you overlook the bubble wrap!

By:Adrian Sherlock, Melbourne, Australia
Date:Friday 23 August 2002
Rating:   8

See a man mutate into a mass of green bubble wrap! See a monster that walks although it's legs don't touch the floor! You'll thrill to superimposed toy space stations that wobble about as if supported by strings! Okay, well, if you click on NEW CGI EFFECTS it will suddenly look a whole lot better! I actually enjoyed this story a great deal, it's a wonderful script and the cast do it very well. But the set is the thing that really makes it work, like the impressive sets for the very similar Fifth Doctor tale Four To Doomsday, the Ark set is very nice to look at, a forerunner of spectactular futuristic tales that came later (Earthshock, etc). This is also another example of a top notch story being put on DVD. I was convinced by the first batch of releases (Five Doctors, Caves of Androzani, Spearhead, Robots of Death, Resurrection of the Daleks, Tomb and this one) that the DVD's were going to represent the "best of" Dr.Who.

But sadly we will soon have such major dissapointments as Carnival of superimposed Muppets, The Ribos Yawn, The Power of Krap, The Insult of Tara and the Armageddin' Outa' here Factor on DVD! I mean, WHY in God's name?
Bring on Earth shock, The Visitation, Kinda/Snakedance, The return of the Master Trilogy/Black Guardian Trilogy, Pyramids of Mars, Genesis of the Daleks, Inferno, The Silurians, even the rather dreary but classy Talons of Weng Chiang! Heck, I'd prefer Warriors of the Deep over the Key to Time sequence. Seriously! I hate to keep saying it, but Tom Baker wasn't THAT great. He was great in the lead role, but some of his stories...a lot of his stories...just weren't that good.






The Annoying Ark

By:Theta Sigma, USA
Date:Friday 19 September 2003
Rating:   4

I gave this one a 4 and that was only because it has Tom Baker in it. Also the behind the scenes interview with Tom was creative to say the least.



One of the finest episodes

By:Edd Paffett, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA
Date:Wednesday 1 December 2004
Rating:   8

The story and dramatic presentation of such was one of the finest in the entire collection. Special effects do not make stories. Those who need realistic effects must not have the imagination required to fully enjoy great science fiction drama at its finest. I pity those who need such. As enjoyable as



Getting there...

By:Matthew B, Cardiff
Date:Monday 13 November 2006
Rating:   7

There are certain things about The Ark in Space that are done very, very well; The Nerva Beacon sets (Roger Murray-Leach's design work is the major reason why this story is considered a classic), Baker and Marter, some good dialogue, and a general air of newness brought about by incoming producer Phillip Hinchcliffe. What is interesting is that these positive elements almost completely obscure several dreadful ones. The story has promise but the dialogue is very patchy, swinging wildly from the good (Tom's "humanity" speech, most of Harry's lines) to the painful (virtually all the other cast, but especially Noah). The Wirrn are just as dreadful as Alpha Centauri or any number of other heavily-ridiculed monsters, and yet are somehow let off the hook by fans - why these and not any other? The supporting cast are very stilted (except perhaps Libri), and even Sladen is below par here.
It is the invigorating presence of a new Doctor and those aforementioned sets that make this story stick in the mind; take these elements away and you have a story that would have fitted in well with the more tired sections of Season Eleven. Promising, but far from successful.

DVD EXTRAS
The commentary by Baker, Sladen and Hinchcliffe is reasonably enjoyable, but not worth getting the disc for. The archive interview material is rather fun, shot during the "Revenge of the Cybermen" location work and showing a marvellously spaced out Baker. The new CGI effects are beautifully done but not far reaching enough, though I can see how it would have been difficult to recreate the shots of the Wirrn scampering over the surface of the shuttle. The unused title sequence is not as exciting as it sounds, but the Roger Murray-Leach interview is lively and interesting.



A 'joint effort' that paid off

By:Huw Davies, Taunton, United Kingdom
Date:Wednesday 4 June 2008
Rating:   9

This story could be described as a joint effort, being written mostly by Robert Holmes, but from an idea from John Lucarotti. Two great writers each offering chunks of this brilliant story, which is very good as the Fourth Doctor's first adventure away from present-day Earth. The only bad point is the particularly poor use of bubble wrap to simulate Noah turning into a Wirrn.
Apart from that, however, a brillant story.



Fails to get motivated....

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Saturday 9 October 2010
Rating:   4

This is a story that looks a tiny bit on the cheap side. the Wirrn arent the most convincing monster to grace the Doctor Who universe. And the characters here are rather strangely vaguely characterised, strange considering this was a largely rewritten segment by Rob Holmes. Bob's two weak moments were this and Pyramids of Mars. But all his other tales are almost beyond parallel.
But here there are no titan views and no titan laughs that are always present in other Bob tales. It seems he was bored doing this story.
Even Tom Baker's humanity scene cant save this. And again the brilliant Ian Marter is direly underused. He was a great oppurtunity missed as far as Im concerned. And the same goes for Liz Sladen. After her first season with Jon where she was very strong in every story, now she is just becoming that run of the mill companion that a story doesnt really even need. After the brilliance of Robot, this really is dissapointing.

But remember that bubble wrap was just coming out in the seventies, so it isnt as bad looking if you look at it in the time it was made. Rather innovative actually. And the head of Noah when he appears behind Harry and the crewmember is excellently done. The end too may just lift up the ratings, as it is rather neat and touching. Human spirit coming through. But on the whole scale, a sore let down...



Ark In Space Special Edition.

By:Trevor Smith, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Date:Tuesday 18 September 2012
Rating:   10

And so one of the greatest ever Who story's gets the SE treatment.
So what do you get on this new version ? Well the picture has been cleaned up an absolute treat. The wonderful people at the RT team have made it look like it was made just last week.
There are a host of new extras, as well as everything that what was on the old one.
There's a really good making of documentary and some glorious footage of Tom Baker in Northern Ireland in the 1970's at the height of his powers.
Of course it's worth getting for the story alone, one of Robert Holmes very best story's. The cast all play of each other brilliantly and the sets are fantastic.
If you haven't got a copy buy it. If you've got the original replace it with he SE. You'll thank yourself for doing so.




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