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Reviews for The Last

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By:Joe Ford, Eastbourne
Date:Sunday 21 November 2004
Rating:   4

This should have (and could have) been the best eighth Doctor audio ever. The idea that he could land on a doom laden planet set to explode, mix in with the survivors, lose both his companions and wind uo being the last survivor is gripping and dramatic. Unfortunately this production is not brave enough to go through with these changes and the big shiny reset button is pressed at the end basically rendering the entire production worthless.

Not only this but Paul McGann's performance is lazy, he sounds totally bored throughout and cannot even perk up when Charley and C'rizz pop their clogs. This is especially bad on the part of the director who should be keeping his actors in check but the Doctor's bored reactions to the story means we can hardly be thrilled by events either.

A shame because there are a few seminal scenes hear, the moment Charley is smothered by a pillow is discomforting to say the least and the sort of uncomfortable tone the whole story should have adopted.

Could have been so much better...

Everything Must Die...

By:the Traveller, Bortresoye
Date:Saturday 11 February 2006
Rating:   8

Until the very end, The Last came across as a magnificent triumph from Big Finish. That was, until the reset button was pressed, and everything that the listener had gone through with the characters was rendered obsolete, as if the writer wasn't brave enough to finish the story with the ending it deserved.
Despite the lame ending, The Last makes for excellent listening, and the cast are all on top form.

Fascinating Resolution

By:Doug, Pocono Summit, PA, USA
Date:Wednesday 11 October 2006
Rating:   9

A bleak but very suspenseful story, with an equally bleak soundtrack.

The story appears to be a very stark commentary on our present geopolitical situation, but as we head into the fourth episode, we slowly begin to realize that all is not as it seems - we begin to feel a creeping, radical shift occurring. The planet where this is all taking place is revealed to be far more alien than we've been led to believe, and the final resolution changes this from a good story into a great one. (From the other reviews, I guess that's *really* a matter of opinion...)

A very good story indeed...

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 28 March 2008
Rating:   10

The Last is a fantastically grim and thought provoking tale. A nuclear winter on the planet of Bortresoye. Carolyn Jones really plays Excelsior brilliantly. She is a horrible and cold hearted snake of a character, fully encapsulating all that is bad about warfare. A fine performance from Carolyn. And India Fisher gets to be more vulnerable than ever when Charlie is apparently left paralysed from a roof fall in. The Doctor's optimism really is pushed to breaking point in this story. This has the feel of a tense and gripping drama of emotion. Conrad Westmaas is great in his portrayal of C'rizz too. The last hope of a whole world that has been destroyed by one bomb dropping. Madness has set in to say the least. And the few survivors live in a bunker a mile underground, yes, i can see why that would make people loopey. Very well written stuff.

Just Right For McGann

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Friday 25 April 2008
Rating:   8

I am going to start with a digression. Of all the actors to have played the Doctor, only Paul McGann could have hit just the right tone on the "What the Hell" line in Part Four. This may not sound like much, but it is actually crucial to what makes "The Last" effective. "The Last" is one of the few stories that fits McGann's portrayal of the Doctor. First, it is perhaps the grimmest of all the Big Finish productions, grimmer even than "Spare Parts." Like "Spare Parts," it has a gloomy inevitability about it. Our heroes have walked into the land of the dead, and there is no escape. Though some here have complained of a "reset button" ending, this ending is actually very well prepared for, and is necessary for thematic purposes of the whole divergent universe story arc. The desperate story works with the McGann Doctor because of his vulnerability, because his is the most "human" of the Doctors. His seemingly emotionless performance is really the right choice, the behavior of a man beaten down by grim, existential fact - the stupidity of total war, selfish preservation instinct run wild, a political leader whose egotism runs beyond comprehension, and the inevitability of death. Timeblind, bereft of friends, impossibly far from home, he finds just living a greater and greater burden without any subsequent reward. So, his "What the Hell," is just the final testament of a man who finds mere existence to be without the slightest pleasure.

There are some problem spots in the story. Excelsior is just a little too crazy in an over-the-top-old-movie kind of crazy. The rocket's magical return to exactly the same spot where it took off also makes little sense given the nature of celestial mechanics.

In general, though, this production is well done.

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