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Attack of the Cybermen


Chase - Posted on 24 July 2009

1 (or for the US 1 and 2)

This first 45 minute parts is...and I have to admit that I've always hated this story and considered it awful...is not as bad as I thought. In what is probably the most changed opinion and turnaround for me, I found this first part fairly engaging. Perhaps it was the going back to the girl-Doc double pair, perhaps the threat of changing the TARDIS or getting rid of it once and for all, or perhaps it was...Peri, I don't know but here, I found all of it engaging and even exciting.

The tunnel scenes are not unlike the atmospheric ones in THE INVASION. Peri is not annoying at all and in fact, her scenes with Colin have less of the fighting they are known for and there are even some smiles between them; the fight scenes are not as bad as I remembered and the police from RESURRECTION get their comuppence and the Doc finally uses some violence and glad those creeps that caused Adric's death are getting their own deaths handed to them by the Doctor. I am not bothered, today, by the Doctor using violence to kill the Bas-ards that always kill humans. I don't know why they brought the criminal policeman into the TARDIS but he saved the Doc and Peri but lost his own life.

The cliffhanger is not too great but not terrible either as Peri screams, "NOOOOO!" about to be killed by Cybermen. The Cybercontroller on Telos I think...it's hard to tell but the two bases are seen back and forth and rather quickly...the pace is better than I remembered and the motives seem intact and logical, even if they're not. Lytton is still a creep here, taking humans to Cybermen to be converted. Anyway one of the Cybercontrollers or the main one seems to be...putting on some weight but not as badly as  I remember.

At first, I thought the Telos scenes were going to be awful compared to the Earth scenes but in fact, they're not. Yeah, the double act of Bates and Stratton does seem to get on my nerves a bit but they do garner a few chuckles. Not sure what the point they offer to the plot but...it's different and unexpected. Cybermen seem to be easier to kill here both on Telos and on Earth. Telos looks as grand as it did in TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN.

Colin and Nicola have some good interplay here. I love that they are at 76 Totter's Lane and that the Doc is still unstable, name checking old companions and Zodin (also mentioned in THE FIVE DOCTORS). While not a GREAT episode, it's not terrible either and is fast paced and entertaining, with action, a few laughs, and a few unexpected twists (how did the Cybermen get in the TARDIS...did the Doc leave the doors open again!?). I didn't even mind, THIS TIME, the changes in the TARDIS exterior, now fully knowing they would not be permanent.

Oh, and I don't mind any of the continuity references that everyone always complains about: they make sense here and they don't seem to detract from the story at all, in fact, they add to it, at least in this part.

All in all, re-evaluating this, has been fun, something I was not expecting.       

Or for the US parts 3 to 4.

I'd like to be as positive about part two as I was about part one but... just can't. That really stunk. Part of the problem was that explanations finally come...fast and furious and...most of them don't make much sense. The tone is morbid, the Cryons are an interesting race but the masks the actresses wear have huge eye holes that make them look cheap even if they're not...the costumes, not the actresses. The subplot of the two escapees goes no where, even if we find out they are partial Cyberized men...where did the time ship come from? How come Lytton didn't warn anyone it was electrified or didn't he know? Almost all the human cast get killed and even some of the Cryons do. Colin and his Cryon partner in Cryon crime in the cell have a strange conversation which almost makes sense. The Doctor upon escaping bangs his shoulder on a door trying to open it. One Cyberman has no organic parts in its head at all. Cybermen's plans seem...a bit all over the place. They want to destroy Telos, change history, save Mondas, fly Halley's Comet into Earth, convert as many people as they can, expect Lytton to work for them...etc etc etc. It just doesn't work now.

Added to that, Peri's bs that the Doctor didn't give Lytton  a chance to explain himself...YES, he did. Lytton was a monster and the Doctor DID not misjudge him. Lytton did what was good for him and was a cold blooded ruthless killer. The fight at the end, almost makes the Doctor look like an action hero...almost. DIE HARD this is not. Peri and the Doc don't even find out about Griffith at all...like the other humans, he's dead.

This does leave a bad taste in the mouth, even more so now that I have re assessed the first part as being somewhat good.

Oh and almost forgot: we don't get the Tardis outside shell stuff explained. Is it stable now? Also: how did the Doc and Peri know there were no more Cybermen inside. Was the explosion enough to finish the Cybermen on Telos? It didn't seem so. What about the Cyberman base on Earth?  This part has over one million less viewers.

Also: While the first part had some good music and both it and some of this part EFFECTIVELY use some short bits from EARTHSHOCK, the music in part two...is awful. It's all wrong in all the right parts or something like that. It sounds terrible, sometimes comedic when it shouldn't be and just...tin like and jovial when it should not be. It really adds to the overall poor tone and tune of this part of the story. The other thing is: this part makes me realize that there really is no story. Despite continuity, a story could have been told and there could have been some rousing action, instead we get a few Cybermen running for cover,a Cyron melted to death or boiled, another one shot dead, and more Cybermen shot down. Then the whole mess with Lytton which left me...cold. It's hard to sum up any sympathy for Lytton at all since the last few scenes from his Dalek story had him shoot one of his own troopers in the face.

The hand crushing scene was ...one of the bloodiest in DW's history if not THE most violent thing seen in DW ever. It is most uncalled for, to be honest, giving it the look of a gory Hollywood movie. I don't know what the production team was thinking...and we see a lot of smeared blood on the floor. I guess in a way it does make the CM more...deadly and callous. It would have made them look even more dangerous if they had plans that actually worked...

Yeah, so this part fails miserably, making the whole story quite poor to be honest. I'd still probably give this a 4 out of 10 or maybe splitting it for the first part a 7 out of 10, and for the second a 3 or a 4 out of 10. It's that bad really. Humorless, totally devoid of any thinking, and quite angry in spirit and mean. And things get worse from here on in...     

Proper Dave's picture

I watched Attack of the Cybermen only to see a working chameleon circuit! I agree that part 1 is much more fluid and easier to watch. It was a little work to watch part 2, but it was okay overall. My first full Colin Baker story.

The dvd is loaded with a ton of good extras. Especially the Cybermen retrospective and a look at the future possibilities of actual human "upgrading."

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