Sunday, December 17

Doctor Who Review: "vampires of Venice" Series 5

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Annnnndddd…we’re back!  Groan!  Vampires!  Venice!  How can that go wrong? What an anticlimax!  Once again I found the episode stilted, contrived and disappointing.

Got a theory – can we just ban all writers from the show whose name isn’t Stephen Moffat? Please? No? Oh well!

I loved the atmosphere, the setting was amazing, Rosanna’s gilt intricately embroidered head dress, the candles and warm orange glows, that amazingly gothic and fantastic three doored vaulted room with the antique fashioned mirror, the gondola’s (historically accurate and beautiful).  Yet so much more could have been done – here we had an astrologers dream – two of the great elements, fire and water, so much symbolism and poetry could have been derived there especially set in one of the most romantic cities of the world.

Love’s Labour’s Lost?  The plot should have been seductive and alluring, the gorgeous porcelain waifs displaying a lot less garish Hallowe’en bargain box sale canines and please sultry? No slutty more like?  At one point I thought I’d actually tuned into one of those horrendous semi porn b movies shown on movies for men like “Maniac Nurse find Ecstasy” or the porn-ised historic retelling of Dumas’ three Mustakeers which I was unfortunate enough to stumble upon one night, all heavy bosoms and back combed 80s hair dos with too much flesh and melodramatic acting.

Oh what potential and what a mess.

The idea of speed was pushed like an out of sync audio, the actions not matching the urgency.  The plot seemed to veer between seductress’s dungeon and Finding Nemo plus a healthy dose of Freud.  I mean we were supposed to laugh at the aliens, the Doctor’s lines spelt that out, it was like a spoof gone wrong. 

And how convenient were some of those scenes?  The noble suicide of the grieving mother and the ineffectual doctor who always seems ineffectual in such moments, Rory’s last line whose delivery was like Oh shit we forgot to tie all this together somehow. 

The serious conversation of genocide and loss parodied with fish people and the Doctor struggling to save a city by flicking a switch?  No need for an instruction manual there like!  Again more acting class cheers of encouragement to hype up the drama from down below when at the end of the day everyone just seemed to get a bit wet and very confused.

What bugged me was this was a story where the “everyone lives” was possible.  The Doctor didn’t even suggest an alternative to the arch villain’s plan.  One city for an entire species?  She asked him to help her and he could have but no, no relocation programme no emotional connection accept those supplied in words that weren’t followed through.

Once again it was all over the bloody place, no particular lines of note or scenes, I mean how dramatic could they have made Amy’s first bite, or the Doctor surrounded by what looked like painted nymphos but no they keep conveniently managing to run away and just as easily saunter back in to a heavily fortified palace?  What?  The sacrifice of Isabella’s father, trite and so obvious as well as the virginal sacrifice scene, it was like a series of bad hammer horrors linked together with tearing gossamer.  Oh but it could have been so much more.

So many lines in there because they should be, it’s like Doctor who dialogue law, a mantra.  The attempt at comedy with Rory and Amy about as hilarious and accurate as Alanis Morsette’s Isn’t it ironic song in which none of her examples are actually ironic! 

Another writer trying to mesh four stories into one and not understanding the quirks and subtleties of the show.  I mean I was surprised that Mark Gatis messed up because I know he’s a devotee but this oh it wasn’t that it was terrible it was that it had so much potential.

However on a redeeming note the special effects for the actual alien form were amazing, brilliantly designed aliens and I have to say the acting was top notch.  This time no fault was with the actors they made the best of a jumbled script and I am still very hopeful for the regenisis of Matt Smith as the Doctor, as he proved by adding some gravity and intensity in those more emotional scenes, Rory vs. the Doctor, the Doctor and Madame Calvieri almost waltzing in their cat and mouse dialogue and she (Helen McCrory) nailed the part – wow, perfect amount of pathos, empathy and pomposity with that big dash of arrogance oh she could have lured the most contrite soul.

Brilliant beginning before tail spinning into some half concept that wasn’t necessary or well executed.  I know I am being to hard on this episode but watching the trailer last week and after that chilling and moving two parter I was really enthusiastic and excited to see such an established horror plot merging with DW but like a lot of films these days the trailer showed all the best bits of the feature and drew it’s audience in but didn’t deliver.

Two stars for this one I’m afraid and a good kick up the rear to the DW cast and crew because they are so much better than that; they not only reinvented an amazing show but also the standard of British drama.  Next week certainly looks intriguing and kind of twisted fairy tell so let’s hope for some redemption and DW love!

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