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|By:||David Layton, Los Angeles, United States|
|Date:||Thursday 22 June 2006|
|Rating: || 8|
My favorite kinds of Doctor Who stories are the surreal ones (The Celestial Toymaker, The Mind Robber, Warrior's Gate) and the assault ones (The Wheel In Space, Earthshock, The Curse Of Fenric). The Moonbase is tense and does not insult the listener's intelligence. Furthermore, we do not get stereotypes and stock characters. The Moonbase commander, for instance, is rather open-minded and not prone to rash or stupid actions. The other characters are intelligent scientists and technicians who put their minds to solving problems, not to panicky hysteria. The one big problem in the story is Jamie, clearly an afterthought and left hallucinate phantom pipers and other pseudo-scots silliness.
|Gripping but Flawed Classic|
|By:||Doug, Pocono Summit, PA, USA|
|Date:||Saturday 8 September 2007|
|Rating: || 8|
In The Moonbase, the TARDIS lands on the moon, just outside of, well, the moonbase. The Doctor and crew get suited up and head out. Jamie promptly misjudges the low gravity and conks his head, and everyone heads into the moonbase, where a strange and horrible illness is spreading throughout the personnel. The Doctor promises to find the cause, and sets out to do so, though he and his friends are under suspicion by the base personnel. It turns out that Cybermen, believed by the Earth crew to have been wiped out ages ago (in the events of The Tenth Planet) are covertly disabling the base crew, so that they can get control of the gravitron, which is being used to control the Earth's weather. They intend to use it to destroy life on Earth, thereby eliminating what they see as a threat to their own continued survival.
Episodes 2 and 4 of The Moonbase exist, but have not yet been used for a video release of the entire story.
The sequences on the surface of the moon are fantastic, and the TARDIS being parked there on the barren, airless, low-gravity surface of the moon is an almost mythic visual. The interior of the moonbase and the gravitron feature great visual, if not functional, design. The redesign of the Cybermen here gives a mixed result. They look much better than the Cybermen in The Tenth Planet, with nicely designed metal heads in place of the previous stocking-covered ones, and smaller, more practically-designed chest units. But the voicing has been degraded. Gone are the better, semi-organic voices of The Tenth Planet, replaced by a less-effective and less understandable, slurring, robotic, monotone voice. Incidental music and sound effects here are of a good quality, creating a suitably spacey/creepy vibe for the story. And lastly, the concept of the gravitron as being a necessary weather control device is quite interesting and seemingly prescient, considering the weather and climate troubles we are now facing in the 21st Century.
Now for the gripes. Jamie was clearly excess baggage to the scriptwriter, and is quite improbably incapacitated for much of the story from a little knock on the head, occasionally moaning from his sickbay bed about seeing the phantom piper (the grim reaper of his folklore), in reality a Cyberman who is lurking around the sickbay. We are also asked to believe that a Cyberman could hide under covers on a bed there for a considerable period of time without being noticed, and that a plague-infected man with dark veins all over him and strange headgear could just sneak into the centrally located gravitron control chamber unnoticed.
Aside from a few minor failings, The Moonbase is classic Doctor Who, and classic Troughton, the first of his four encounters with the Cybermen. If not for the few flaws here, this story could very well merit a rating of 10.
BBC - are you listening? Put together a reconstruction like you did for The Tenth Planet, and release The Moonbase on video!
|By:||Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom|
|Date:||Wednesday 8 September 2010|
|Rating: || 9|
"There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things, things which act against everything that we believe in, they must be fought"
So says the Doctor in this so nearly perfect story. This is one of the plethora of brilliant lines that Pat was allowed to speak during his time as the Doctor. This story is all claustrophobia and convincing action and is only let down by one thing in my opinion.
The only thing that lets it down is the clear obvious plothole of "We are in it already", the line said by the Cybermen just before they blow a hole in the base. If they are in it already, then why are the Doc and everyone so uplifted when the cybermen are shot off into space? Surely the few inside would still be a very major problem...maybe a plot hole left open for the sequel that never came!!!
But aside from this little nag this story is brilliant. Once again it is cramped and claustro, due to the limitations of the budget. But the moonbase outdoor scenes seem very realistic indeed. With all the craters and everything along the way. And the newly designed Cybermen are highly impressive. The Borg are just tepid retreads in Star Trek of these classiest of monsters.
And the score is affecting and menacing, even if it is one that has been sampled in stories previous to this one.
I like to see Polly coming up with the thought of throwing the cocktail into the cybermen's chest units. She is a lot stronger a character than seems to be often remembered. Anneke's portrayal is brilliant.
Morris Barry directs this story very well indeed, the menace is brought to the fore right from the word go. And once the cybermen appear in full force, they are in it for a decent amount of time too.
And the thought of the gravitron is very original and intriguing idea. Who knows if this could happen in the far future? I doubt it. We've harmed this planet far too much already to start fiddling about with the weather more than we already have anyway.
And Jamie's incapacity to me is a strength. Listening to the audio, you can think he's hurt himself much more than we think. And the phantom piper is not a stupid line of speech. People back in far history were highly superstitious, so this just adds to the realism of the tale. Nearly spotless. A very good cyberman story.