Sunday, 30 October 2011

Colourised Episode One: Invasion of the Dinosaurs – the Falco Review

Older Doctor Who stories of late have been subject to a whole bunch of tricks to try and improve them, upgrade them, make them either complete or more acceptable to a 21st century audience. In recent years, we’ve seen animated episodes completing The Invasion, and, recently the almost-complete overhaul of Pertwee’s Day of the Daleks. Invasion of the Dinosaurs is an odd one though – most of it exists in colour, while Episode 1…notsomuch. The black-and-white copy that’s been in existence up till now has always caused something of a disconnect with audiences – far more than stories that exist entirely in black-and-white.

Now, as its DVD release becomes imminent, it’s been, if not entirely recoloured, then certainly recovered, through a process that Dan Hall, Commissioning Editor at 2 Entertain, describes as ‘magic,’ which pulls colour signals from black-and-white recordings, where they continue to exist as ‘noise.’

So – does it work?

Unhesitatingly, yes. No, it’s absolutely not perfect – occasional shots of Sarah Jane’s face flicker from warm pinkish-brown to cold blueish-grey, and the whole thing has an air of age, but the point really is that the disconnect dissolves. The colourisation essentially bridges the gap, and stops you thinking of a modern world that you instinctively feel should be in colour, as less ‘real’ when rendered into black and white. With that gap gone, Invasion of the Dinosaurs grips you from the very first shot – in some respects, it feels as thoroughly modern as, say, The God Complex. In other aspects, it feels more determinedly 1970s than many other Pertwee stories – the abandoned streets, the distinctly 70s cars and fashions, somehow even the scenery, gives a feel of a Cold War nuclear war information film. But the colourisation pulls you in, and at the screening at the Time 5 convention, the delightful Pertwee humour shone through beautifully. No, of course, the dinosaurs don’t look real or anything like it. But there’s something almost endearing about the level of dreadfulness of the dinosaurs, and while they absolutely break the otherwise sharp realism of the story, if you understand the point and the fun of Who at all, they probably won’t kill your enjoyment of an otherwise well-written, tense, funny, modern story. So – UNIT box set, stand by your Amazon baskets.

NB: image in this post NOT from the recoloured episode 1.

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