This is a review of the special edition DVD version of Day of the Daleks, with newly created special effects as well as replacing the original Dalek voices with Nicholas Briggs and shooting new scenes for the climactic battle at the end.
I’ll talk about the new additions first. The producer for this DVD loved Day of the Daleks when he first saw it as a child but was disappointed with it when he saw it again years ago because he realized that his young imagination filled in a lot of things and that the actual product was lacking. When he got a chance to put out the DVD he decided to try and do a special edition to make the story look as he remembered it as a child.
He really went above and beyond. He shot at the house where the original story took place using an actor dressed as an Ogron, a Dalek, and an actor as a UNIT soldier. He made sure to film with an actual 70s camera. He then took that footage and, using special effects, made the Dalek and Ogron army actually look like a huge invading force.
Special effects were added elsewhere, mainly to add laser blasts and disintegrating humans. New establishing shots of the Dalek controlled future were created. It all looks great, and the final battle at the end is tense and action packed.
Of course, no amount of special effects can save a bad story but luckily Day of the Daleks is an amazing story.
A peace conference is about to take place in an English mansion to be presided over by Sir Styles. However, he claims that he was attacked by ghosts. UNIT is called in to investigate, and that means the Doctor and Jo are on the case. The Doctor discovers that the ghost is actually a rebel from a future where mankind was plunged into a world war after the peace conference, leaving it open to eventual invasion by the Daleks. The rebels have decided that Styles sabotaged the conference and have come back in time to kill him and hopefully create a new Dalek-free future. The Daleks, of course, aren’t taking this lying down and send their Ogron warriors into the past to kill the rebels.
There is a lot going on with this story and it all works. The time travel plot hangs together quite well, with a nice paradox existing that the rebel actions of trying to kill Styles is actually what brings about the Dalek future.
The future is realized quite well, with humans a subjugated work force with a few humans being given special positions of power. This introduced us to the Controller, a human collaborator who easily could have been a typical villain but is a much more fleshed out, shades of grey character. I was surprised the way his story went since I expected him to be a simple villain but he ended up being much more complex. His conversations with the Doctor and Jo were fantastic.
The Daleks are menacing here, having won in the future. They control Earth completely. When the Doctor does arrive in the future he is at a major disadvantage. The Daleks are also able to field a large invasion force at the end, showing just how much power they do control.
What I like about the story is that the Daleks, while they are the villains, really only take advantage of what humanity did to themselves. Humans started the world war that left us open to invasion. The story does a good job of pointing out how close we are to starting another war (especially true in the Cold War era).
The characters are all in top form. With one season under their belt the UNIT family hs really meshed well. An early scene displays this quite wonderfully. The Doctor has made himself at home in Style’s mansion and has made a fine meal using Styles’ wine and cheese. Jo chastises him but takes the food to a hungry Benton, only to have Yates pull rank and take the food for himself. These are all people who are fond of one another and work together well. It is nice to see.
Oh, the story also sees the Doctor working on the TARDIS, hoping to fix it so he can travel wherever he wants. I hope this means we will be getting more time travel and planet travel stories soon. While I like the Earth set stories I am anxious to see more of this Doctor and Jo interacting with the galaxy at large.
No Master here. While I love the Master, an entire season with him being the enemy got old. If they had attempted to add him here it would have been too much. I’m hoping that when they do bring him back it is in a story worthy of his character.
All in all, Day of the Daleks is a great DW story that I’d recommend to any fan. I think it highlights all the positive things about the 3rd Doctor era and is just a fun adventure.