Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Horns of Nimon

The Horns of Nimon was the last Doctor Who story to be script edited by Douglas Adams, and the last to be produced by Graham Williams. It’s a shame that given that the first two seasons of Doctor Who that Graham Williams had produced had been so good that his time as producer had to end with a story like this one. The Horns of Nimon is one of those Doctor Who stories where if you were to look at it just from the point of view of what had been written, the ideas, the dialogue, not the visuals then it would have come across as a good story. If you then look at the finished production your view of The Horns of Nimon would probably drop. One of the things that Doctor Who was criticised for at the time that The Horns of Nimon was made, is school boy level humour. While its true that season 17 had its fair share of humour, the season 17 story that seemed to have the most was The Horns of Nimon. The main contributors of this when watching it are clearly Graham Crowden who played Soldeed and Tom Baker. Graham Crowden is incredibly funny in some scenes in The Horns of Nimon and incredibly bumbling in others. With Soldeed, you clearly have a villain who is a genius scientist but is also a lunatic underneath it all. Particularly when in Part 4 of The Horns of Nimon when Soldeed's plan to restore the Skonnos empire to its former glory falls to pieces because the Nimon have deceived him and he ends up being reduced to this insane, hysterical mess, its really funny when Soldeed looses it. With Tom Baker its feels like when he got his hands on the script for The Horns of Nimon that he didn't think to much of it and watching The Horns of Nimon its clear that the two reasons that he puts as much humour as he does into the story is because one he doesn't much of the script for The Horns of Nimon and two because he's clearly trying to improve what he had to work with in the script by putting more humour into it but at the same time as that it's also clear in this story that The Doctor uses humour in The Horns of Nimon link he does in City of Death, as a ploy to put his enemies off guard. Lalla Ward has a lot more to do than in other stories in season 17 and that was written in on purpose because the writer Anthony Read felt that the writers hadn't been making the best use of the character and Anthony Read also felt that Tom Baker would feel thankful that he wouldn't have to be in every scene. Now lets talk about the Nimon themselves, I loved the masks, which where very good. I really liked their voices which I felt, and still feel are really effective, I'd love it if their look was updated and they were brought back in the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi's era. I had mixed feelings when I first saw The Horns of Nimon and still do now, there are things about it that I like and things about it that I don't like, on the whole it's an okay, fun story and is a better story than people make it out to be, not 10 out of 10 better but a 4.5 or 5 out of 10 I'd say.

Nightmare of Eden

I remember really enjoying "Nightmare of Eden" the first time I saw it, but you can’t help but see where in certain sequences the production of Nightmare of Eden could have been a lot better. The first thing that stands out are the spaceship model shot sequences which were shot on video over the course of two hours in a single day, but should have been shot on film, which would have taken four days. If they had shot it on Film like it normally was it would have looked a lot better. Problem number two would have to be Nightmare of Eden's monsters, the Mandrels. They're supposed to be terrifying and yet they look (as others have pointed out in the past!) like cute rejects from The Muppet Show. They look good in the Jungle where you can only see the shape of a Mandrel and its glowing eyes, but as soon as you move them to the ship where everything is flood lit, the Mandrels loose any scariness they might have had and end up just coming across as a bit of a laugh! On a better note however, one of the better effects of the story was when one of the Mandrels broke back down into the drug substance that the creatures were made up of in the story. To achieve the effect of the Mandrel braking down into the drug, a Mandrel costume was recreated using brittle foam and covered bits of it in latex, and had all of it attached to pulling wires and they then pulled it inwards and at the same time they were pumping smoke through it. When they finished the effect with a roll-back and mix, while putting in some more dust and the finished effect is probably the best effect in the story. When watching "Nightmare of Eden" it’s clear that the writer Bob Baker had thoroughly researched his ideas behind his script for "Nightmare of Eden", namely drugs and the scientific ideas behind the C.E.T machine (The Continuous Event Transmuter). The acting could have been better namely Lewis Fiander who played the character Tryst, he really could have done without the accent he chose to put on for the character and the square sun glasses. On the whole I still find Nightmare of Eden surprisingly enjoyable despite its flaws; it’s definitely not as bad as The Creature from the pit that's for sure.