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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks'
(Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin, Katy Manning, John Levene, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2011 / BBC Home Video)

Overview: Rebels from a future Earth conquered by the Daleks travel to the 20th Century to prevent that from happening. But will their actions prevent that future, or make it inevitable?

DVD Verdict: In truth, I'm surprised that it took so long for 'Day of the Daleks' to see the light of day on DVD. Perhaps the folks at BBC Worldwide and 2entertain were waiting for CGI technology to advance, to the point that they could produce a cheap but good-looking special edition (which is what you get on the second disc of this DVD two-pack).

Generally speaking, I don't care for special editions; new special effects or new scenes that are shoehorned into old productions tend to look distractingly out-of-place, in my eyes. For example, like much of the world's population, I dislike George Lucas' special editions of the Star Wars movies, for their anachronistic use of computer effects and pointless tinkering with minor plot points (such as whether Han or Greedo "shot first"). And previous special edition Doctor Who DVDs have tended to look a bit ... well, lame, as they featured often-primitive CGI that barely improved on the original special effects.

But with "Day of the Daleks," the BBC has finally produced a special edition that looks really good, and is (somewhat) worthwhile. They have added many new special effects to this story, and even a handful of new shots, primarily to make the battle scenes more exciting. Wisely, the DVD producers decided to make the new special effects retro-looking, so they fit well into a 1970s production; for example, when the Daleks zap people in the special edition, their victims turn into skeletons, which is cool but also in the same pleasantly goofy vein as "Mars Attacks!"

While all this effort to "improve" the story is impressive, this is still "Day of the Daleks," and if you've seen the original version you've basically seen the special edition as well. As a piece of Doctor Who, this holds up pretty well; Louis Marks' script is a somewhat intelligent exploration of time paradoxes, and there is some good characterization of the human villain. Still, I've always regarded "Day of the Daleks" as a little *flat*. To be more specific, the direction lacks pizzazz, the music score stinks, and the political dimension of the story is underdeveloped. These are not the sort of problems that can be addressed by the addition of new ray beams!! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Audio Commentary Track with actors Anna Barry and Jimmy Winston, producer Barry Letts, script editor Terrance Dicks, and vision mixer Mike Catherwood
Making-of Featurette, 'Blasting the Past'
A View from the Gallery Featurette
Blue Peter Featurette
'Special Edition' Version of 'Day Of The Daleks'
Making of the Special Edition Featurette
Now and Then Comparison Featurette
The Cheating Memory Featurette
The UNIT Dating Conundrum Featurette
The UNIT Family Part 2 Featurette
Trailer, Photo Gallery, Pop-Up Informational Text Option, and More!