The Friday Docback Revisits 'Planet Of Giants'!! The Recently Restored/Reconstructed DOCTOR WHO Story #9, And More!!
When the Docbacks first started, I mentioned that we’d occasionally revisit episodes I’ve already written about. The thought was that some of the stories I’d be covering would eventually be reissued - be they newly restored iterations, or as part of a Special Edition DVD, etc. This has already happened once - with The Sensorites (Hartnell, Story #7). In that case, my initial review of The Sensorites was via a decidedly inadequate DVD rip - so we touched base with the title once more when its very nicely restored DVD was finally issued many months later. And now the same dynamic has unfolded again with Planet of Giants, originally transmitted October/November 1964.
The recently issued Planet of Giants DVD (available HERE in the US and HERE in the UK) offers the amazing restoration one would expect from BBC’s super-fantabulous team - it’s an extremely safe bet that this episode has never looked, or sounded, as good as it does here. As such, I’m going to jump up on my soapbox yet again and revisit a notion I touched on in my original review (re-printed below).
In genertal, I am a proponent of well-considered, affectionately approached ‘Special Editions’ which offer modernized visual effects (a la the wonderful Day of the Daleks - Pertwee, Story #60)...presuming the original version is fully cleaned up and remains available as well...but I do think this approach should be used sparingly and strategically. Based on the work evidenced in Day of the Daleks, I’d say one strong contender for such enhancement and embiggening would be The Keys of Marinus (Hartnell, Story #5). Another would certainly be Planet of Giants.
While we may never see a Planet of Giants sporting such technical tweaking, beholding this story with its newly bestowed level of visual robustness practically begs for such an updating to take place. What the show makers have already achieved here on an astonishingly small budget - and with heinously inadequate time and resources - is often rather breathtaking.
Conjuring the same work, augmented and improved with modern technology, is a compelling, almost painfully desirable prospect. Although Planet has not been (and likely won’t be - if I had to guess) spiffed up with new effects work, we do get something equally compelling here instead. This story was originally conceived and shot as four episodes - but The Powers That Be demanded its compression into three installments.
A Special Features option on this new DVD offers a meticulous reconstruction of those final two episodes as originally conceived...providing a sense of how this story might’ve played in a non abbreviated form. This is done by using a large amount of repurposed/existing footage, a smidgen of CG material, and some new audio (performers were called in to imitate no longer available actors, William Russell and Carol Ann Ford re-recorded lost dialogue - reprising their Ian and Susan roles, etc.)
The result? There are times when the effort is unintentionally comical (dubbing which doesn’t come remotely close to matching the mouth movements on-screen, a conspicuously concentrated effort to avoid showing speaking actors for the same reason ,etc.). HOWEVER, on more than a few occasions, the team successfully blurs the lines between the episode as broadcast and this re-constructed form. In one or two sequences, it’s difficult to know where the ‘transmitted’ version stopped and the ‘recon’ version began (I made a point of guessing about this during two specific scenes, and was wrong in both instances). Despite its overall unevenness, successfully perpetuating such trickery is no small accomplishment - and the recon team deserves a big Geekly hug for not only attempting such an undertaking, but pulling it off in a way that...,while admittedly imperfect...is enjoyable, not embarrassing, and even agreeably confounding. This is a kind of magic unto itself.
When all is said and done, the added material often slows down a story whose pacing was already challenged to begin with, and doesn’t do a great deal to broaden the scope of the tale past resonance which already existed. Except in one case...
Planet’s decidedly Green Agenda is amped up a bit in the reconstruction, evidenced by an expanded sequence featuring the Doctor’s steadfast determination and stop the spread of the pesticide which is threatening our heroes, and the environment at large. This sense of a larger ecosystem being threatened adds considerable breadth to the crisis at hand. The pesticide threat becomes a bigger, more obviously global consideration (whereas the abbreviated version was a bit more vague about the substance’s potential, large-scale threat), and represents the most unfortunate and damaging of the trims made when the story went from four eps to three. It’s nice to see this material back in play here, as these moments in particular help the audience find better footing with why they should care about what’s happening on screen. Especially in light of these tweaks, Planet emerges as a story which would still feel highly relevant today.
With so much time and effort and affection being lavished on Planet of Giants, the answer to one fateful question still remains hazy at best. HOW did your heroes shrink, and HOW do they return to normal size again? Pondering such matters about a show in which normal science is regularly thrown out the window is probably an irrelevant waste of time - but it’s a quandary which at least has to be noted.
In the end, however, why our heroes shrink doesn’t really matter as much as the journey they experience while they’re small. While Planet of Giants is sometimes a bit laborious for its own good, it’s a lot of fun when all is said and done. And, in the end, that makes it bigger than a great many shows on any number of series.
Episode 3 & 4 Reconstruction (52:38)
Rediscovering The Urge to Live (8:29)
Insight into the above-mentioned reconstruction from...
-- Ian Levine (director)
-- William Russell (companion Ian Chesterton)
-- Carole Ann Ford (companion/Doctor’s granddaughter Susan Foreman)
-- Ed Sradling (DVD Feature Producer)
-- Toby Hadoke (Forester in reconstruction material)
-- John Guilor (the Doctor in reconstruction material)
-- Paul Johns (Smithers in reconstruction material)
Explains key impetuses for this reconstruction.
1) A fascination with the story on the whole, given that a variation of it was originally intended to represent DOCTOR WHO’s first-ever episode (instead of An Unearthly Child - Hartnell, Story #1. Apparently, in the originally conceived series opener version, the TARDIS would’ve materialized shrunken in a schoolyard)...
...and 2) an inordinate number of the story’s original makers have since passed away, leaving the DVD Extras team with precious few interviewees. Thus, this restoration takes the place of a standard ‘Making of...’
Suddenly Susan (15:19)
In a 2003 interview, Carole Ann Ford discusses her time as Susan Foreman - companion and ‘granddaughter’ to William Hartnell’s first Doctor.
“Unfortunately, my part was toned down a hell of a lot because, originally, she was going to be tremendously athletic. You know, sort of a la AVENGERS. And, at the time, I was a dancer and a acrobat and I could have done all these things really very well indeed. That didn’t happen. And she was going to be very stylistic. She was going to have an amazing wardrobe, and that didn’t happen. She was going to be extraordinarily intelligent and have telepathic communication, at least with her grandfather and possibly with some of the aliens. Well, that only happened in one story, the Sensorite story.”
-- an assessment of her experiences with William Hartnell...
-- talks about the standard prep process for shooting an episode...
-- discusses producer Verity Lambert...
-- ...dealing with fame
-- ...Marco Polo (Hartnell, Story # 4) (her favorite lost episode)
-- being freaked out by the disembodied brains-in-a-case in The Keys of Marinus (Hartnell, Story #5)
-- Planet of the Giants
-- she speaks of leaving the role behind due to under-development, and the departure of her character.
The Lambert Tapes (14:01)
A 2003 interview in which Lambert...
“I wanted the Doctor to have two sides to his personality - or more if possible. But mainly to be able to be authoritative, but at the same time kindly, also unpredictable and perhaps uncontrolled in certain ways. I suppose, in a way, the Doctor was almost a grown-up child...”
-- discusses Susan (addresses some of the concerns mentioned above)...
-- discusses budget (£2000 a half hour - for actors, effects, etc)...
-- addresses criticism that the show was too scary for kids...
-- talks of conceiving the show’s iconic theme and developing the visuals which accompanied it...
-- assesses DOCTOR WHO after her involvement...
Photo Gallery (3:23)
Coming Soon (1:10)
A trailer for Vengeance on Varos (C. Baker, Story #138) - released as a restored DVD concurrently with Planet.
-- Radio Times Listings
-- Prop Design Plans
HERE'S MY ORIGINAL PLANET OF GIANTS WRITE-UP FROM 11 NOVEMBER, 2011
"PLANET OF GIANTS"
"Just forget how absurd things are..."
- Ian Chesterton - "Dangerous Journey" - "PLANET OF GIANTS" PART 2
The TARDIS' standard de-materialization goes dangerously wrong when the vessel's doors open during the process. A subsequent "overloading of the scanner circuits" further implies that something is very wrong with the ship, although The Doctor remains cagey about what exactly happened and why. Mysteries are further compounded when exploration outside of the TARDIS reveals a world of giant worms and oversized ants - all dead. A ginormous matchstick and matchbox lead to a grim and inescapable conclusion: The Doctor and companions Ian (William Russell), Susan (Carole Ann Ford) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) are actually undersized visitors to a normal Earth, where our leads become threatened by plans of a man named Forester (Alan Tilvern). He wants to generate a powerful and dangerous insecticide called DN6 - an environmentally dubious construct whose effects now imperil Barbara...
"Planet of Giants" is a fun but ultimately frothy tale which is filled with clever and smart elements throughout. While contributing little to overrall DOCTOR WHO lore, the story takes on greater resonance when approaching it from a technical perspective. For better or worse, "Planet of Giants" feels like the story in which DOCTOR WHO's "game" was upped considerably. The effects work here is ambitious and, while admittedly wobbly, much of it is more complex than anything we'd seen on the show thus far.
A few music cues here are noticeably embiggened in size and are bold in application - previous DWs felt humble and sparse in this regard. While never close to attaining the lofty levels current WHO composer Murray Gold would eventually reach, one or two passages here offer the first subtle hints at how grand a DW score could someday become. There's also one moment of exceptionally nice editing in "Planet of Giants"- it's somewhat hard to explain in writing but, essentially, it involves our heroes hearing a murder without knowing it (due to sound differentials brought about by their miniaturization).
Indeed, the script's treatment of the mechanics of miniaturization - and how difficult it would be for miniaturized beings to impact our "real" (bigger to them) world - is, on the whole, more well-considered than one would often find in shrinking tales of this ilk. Affecting changes to real-world objects is a daunting proposition at best for our travelers, and issues like the perception of sound play and its relative-to-size wavelengths plays a critical role in the story's overall plot. For example, our tiny people can not be heard by the considerably larger "real" world because their voices are too diminutive, and normal world sounds are dramatically accentuated when heard by our leads. I.e. a gunshot sounds like an "ancient cannon," doors closing like thunder, etc.
"PoG" can be a tad plodding at times, but it's never the atomic stinkbomb we got with "The Sensorites," or as energetically misguided as "The Reign of Terror" which followed it (both preceded this).
Ironically, the episode's most bewildering shortcoming directly pertains to the story's chief gag. Scripter Louis Marks (who would later write the tremendsouly entertaining "Day of the Daleks" for DW) addresses the ins and outs of shrinkification admirably and often carefully, but seems satisfied to rely on a Deus ex machina for both his tale's causative crisis (how the TARDIS and it's crew are shrunk to begin with) as well as how they are eventually re-enlarged. There's little or no explanation for either, not even a desperate stab in the dark. Which is agreeably fanciful to be sure, but also a tad conspicuous considering how much attention is given to other elements of the story.
There's a surprising (but welcome) concern for ecology running beneath the surface of this adventure - the ironically named Forester's pesticide is clearly spun as a dangerous "big bad" which must not be deployed, and the effects of such pesticides on the biosphere play a critical role in the narrative. A tip of the hat to Marks for allowing our heroes to have their own adventures in miniature while the larger-than-life humans around them scheme and toil and struggle and betray - inadvertently impacting out shrunken heroes (who they're never once aware of) while our leads are generally helpless to influence humanity in return. A wicked parable for the relationship between ancient Greek/Roman Gods and humans...by turning humans into Gods while smaller, unseen life is endangered by our actions and inaction. This move brings something of a classic mythological context to the proceedings, and transforms "Planet of Giants" into a saga that's a bit less frivolous than it might otherwise have been.
Fun, interesting, sometimes inspired, and never too heavy on the subtext I note above, "Planet of Giants" (another fun twist of phrase considering who the "Giants" are, and are not) is not yet available on DVD - but VHS of the episode can be found HERE in the U.S. and HERE in the U.K. A DVD of this episode is almost certainly forthcoming; this would be a very nice candidate for the kind of "Special Edition" (reworking of visual effects, editorial tightening, etc.) we recently say with "Day of the Daleks" I should think. To be clear, I haven't heard that such an undertaking is actually underway. I'm just sayin'...
A huge thanks once again to Docbacker Bytor for setting me up with the video files.
[Season / Series Seven Docbacks - MOST RECENT DOCBACK IS HIGHLIGHTED]
[SEASON / SERIES SIX DOCBACKS]
"The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe" (2011 Christmas Special)
[RETRO-WHO DOCBACKS ]
"An Unearthly Child" (Story #1)
"The Daleks" (Story #2)
"The Edge of Destruction" (Story #3)
"Marco Polo" (Story #4)
"The Keys of Marinus" (Story #5)
"The Aztecs" (Story #6)
"The Sensorites" (Story #7)
"The Sensorites" (Story #7 - full DVD release)
"The Reign of Terror" (Story #8)
"Planet of Giants" (Story #9)
"The Dalek Invasion of Earth" (Story #10)
"The Rescue" (Story #11)
"The Romans" (Story #12)
"The Crusade" (Story #14)
"The Space Museum" (Story #15)
"The Chase" (Story #16)
"The Time Meddler" (Story #17)
"Galaxy 4" (Story #18)
"Mission to the Unkonwn" (Story #19)
"The Myth Makers" (Story #20)
"The Gunfighters" (Story #25)
"The Tomb of the Cybermen" (Story #37)
"The Mind Robber" (Story #45)
"The Krotons" (Story #47)
"The Seeds of Death" (Story #48)
"Spearhead from Space" (Story #51)
"The Abassadors of Death" (Story #53)
"The Colony in Space" (Story #58)
"The Daemons" (Story #59)
"Day of the Daleks" (Story #60) + Preview of the DotD Special Edition
"The Three Doctors" (Story #65)
"Carnival of Monsters" (Story #66)
"Death to the Daleks" (Story #72)
"The Robots of Death" (Story #90)
"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (Story #91)
"The Sun Makers" (Story #95)
"The City of Death" (Story #105)
"Nightmare of Eden" (Story #107)
"Kinda" (Story #118)
"Snakedance" (Story #125)
"The Five Doctors" (Story #129)
"The Awakening" (Story #131)
"Frontios" (Story #132)
"Resurrection of the Daleks" (Story #134)
"The Caves of Androzani" (Story #136)
"Vengeance on Varos" (Story #138)
"Time and the Rani" (Story #144)
"Paradise Towers" (Story #145) + New WHOvian Documentary / Newsbits
"Dragonfire" (Story #147)
"The Happiness Patrol" (Story #149)
"The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" (Story #151)
"Doctor Who: The Movie" (aka TVM) - McGann)
Merrick's Personal Journey With The Doctor (How Merrick Got Hooked On DOCTOR WHO)
"The Crash of the Elysium" (Manchester version - interactive DOCTOR WHO adventure)
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Oct. 26, 2012, 9:13 a.m. CST
and now I really want to. Especially since the restoration team have done so much work on it!
Oct. 26, 2012, 9:16 a.m. CST
by Kevin Bolinger
Enjoy, feedback welcome. Still working out the audio issues on Charles' end. :) http://darthdevious.podbean.com/2012/10/25/who-gives-a-whoot-episode-2/
Oct. 26, 2012, 9:38 a.m. CST
I think I'd be like the ghost at the feast," he said. "What would I do - turn up and make the tea?
I think I'd be like the ghost at the feast, he said. What would I do - turn up and make the tea? Davies added: I have asked current boss Steven Moffat not to tell me what they are planning. The Welsh writer also insisted that there will be no Doctor Who references in his new CBBC show Wizards Vs Aliens. I drew the line at Doctor Who - it would feel like the most awful in-joke! he explained. Even though I'd love the Daleks to turn up one day, we couldn't do it. They are separate universes.
Oct. 26, 2012, 10:14 a.m. CST
Really, he deserves a lot of credit, and many don't give it to him. He tries hard, and provides (on the cheap) things which are interesting and helpful. Too bad they are not using his Shada
Oct. 26, 2012, 10:18 a.m. CST
by Smoky Bourbon
What's this about a new series? I thought Davies stopped making Torchwood to take care of his partner who has cancer?
Oct. 26, 2012, 10:41 a.m. CST
He stopped making Torchwood because Starz wasn't interested in making it. He left America and returned to England, to take care of his partner who has cancer. But that didn't stop him working. He developed a new childrens show (premiering in 3 days now) called Wizards versus Aliens. It's been picked up for a second season already.
Oct. 26, 2012, 10:57 a.m. CST
I'm interested in seeing how they do with this series. I read that it's not just RTD, but most of the group who did Sarah Jane Adventures doing this show.
Oct. 26, 2012, 11 a.m. CST
It's been quite a while since I last watched it (on VHS) - the reconstruction sounds interesting. Maybe I can get around to watching it this weekend (though I'll probably be first watching FDR: American Badass - having FDR fight Nazi Werewolves in his special Wheelchair of Death designed by Albert Einstein just sounds like too much cheesy fun to pass up. I suspect that this would make a good double feature with Iron Sky.)
Oct. 26, 2012, 7:11 p.m. CST
by Rebel Scumb
Is one of the better Hartnell ones, it starts off slow, but because they had to edit parts 3 and 4 into one episode it actually has better pacing towards the end then most classic stories, and I've always liked things about shrunken people
Oct. 26, 2012, 7:54 p.m. CST
When are you going to get back to reviewing the episodes in order? Seems like we've been waiting a long time for this one.
Oct. 27, 2012, 9:04 a.m. CST
It's on the list of my least-favorite Who stories. It bores me, which is a grave sin for Doctor Who. I understand and appreciate it for its technical detail, but this is not the kind of story which I enjoy. I'm glad others do, however.
Oct. 27, 2012, 1:06 p.m. CST
by Andy Kay
Hey everyone. I've been reading on AICN since the late 90's, but never once touched the talkbacks. As a massive fan of Doctor Who I was quite wary of entering the talkbacks here, but seeing the friendly community here, I'd love to take part and add in my two cents. I've recently started to go and watch all who episodes in order starting with An Unearthly Child. I recently saw Planet of Giants and I must say that the visuals for the time were quite impressive. Oh, and I agree puby, what ever happened to Glen reviewing these episodes in order? We've got large gaps in between stories #20, #25, and #37. I'd be curious as to what Glens thoughts are on the first appearance of the Cybermen in The Tenth Planet...
Oct. 27, 2012, 2:16 p.m. CST
Always glad to have new people posting! My watching the classics in order was with PBS broadcasting them, which (of course) left out the stories that didn't have all the episodes. There's a lot of surprises with the first Doctor stories - so-called conventional wisdom about the historicals turns out to be wrong, and there were definite gems buried that weren't really talked about before general release (The Time Meddler, to some extent The Gunslingers)
Oct. 27, 2012, 2:17 p.m. CST
It's been confirmed that there will be a prequel to the Christmas special as well as a preview trailer of the Christmas Episode that will include Jenna Louise Coleman.
Oct. 27, 2012, 2:23 p.m. CST
next week Neil Cross' episode films. There will also be a readthrough of Neil Gaiman's episode. Most of the Moffat episode that will be the first of 2013 has been filmed. No mention of the final episode of the season yet, so I imagine that they still have to film that. The Cross episode should finish November 6, and I imagine the Gaiman episode will be right after that. If the final episode of the season is the only one to film after that, it should be filming late November - early December.
Oct. 27, 2012, 3:11 p.m. CST
one comment on something you said though - the storyboarded scene P.S. wasn't a cut scene from Time of the Angels. P.S. was written by Chibnall, not Moffat. It would have made a good DVD extra though (who knows - we still might see it on a complete Season 7 set as an extra).
Oct. 27, 2012, 3:36 p.m. CST
by Kevin Bolinger
yeah, I kind of realized that after the fact, but still, I think it would have made a nice and moving ending to TATM...There were a few other things I got wrong during the recording, I chalk it up to my lack of sleep and a busy day before recording LOL...Glad you have been enjoying this, I had no idea how it would be received.
Oct. 27, 2012, 5:57 p.m. CST
Hope you've battened down the hatches, as it looks like Hurricane Sandy's going to come right over you. Try to stay safe through it, and I hope everyone comes through okay.
Oct. 28, 2012, 8:18 a.m. CST
Oct. 28, 2012, 9:06 a.m. CST
by The Transformed Man
Oct. 28, 2012, 9:34 a.m. CST
by The Transformed Man
Oct. 28, 2012, 9:43 a.m. CST
Did you hear the two part interview he did recently for Doctor Who Online...well, interview isn't exactly the right term, as he was basically just let rant for a couple of hours, bagging out and attacking pretty much everyone who has ever had the misfortune to work with him or come under his crosshairs, as he all too often tends to do to anyone who doesn't bow down and worship at the altar of Ian Levine. If you want to know why Levine will likely never work with anyone from 2E or the current BBC Worldwide team, take a listen to how he lays into them on that podcast, and you can practically hear the burning of all bridges. Honestly, if you have ever had any real contact with the guy I doubt very much you'd want to praise him for much of anything either, deserved or not, as he truly is an unpleasant, toxic spewing, self aggrandising twat. The kind of person who believes they are absolutely never wrong about anything, and will continually whine about how others don't show any respect to them, while simultaneously laying out insults and bile laden accusations by the bucketful. Don't get me wrong, I truly am appreciative for his efforts to save The Daleks from BBC destruction (though his part in saving other Who tapes from being wiped has always been a little overblown, just as he tends to do in regards to most of his Who related linkages, talking his own involvement up, and other people's down), but having met the guy more than once, and witnessed him lay into someone first hand (no, it wasn't me) he is just the worst kind of egocentric fanboy imaginable, and can be a truly nasty and spiteful piece of work at times as well. I mean, honestly, there is a reason why so many who have had associations with him, both in regards to Who and in the Music industry, speak so ill of the guy, or refuse to speak of him or work with him again. When the list of those who have grievances with you gets as long as the one that circles Levine, then maybe it's not them, it really is you. Plus, fact is, everything he does is for Ian Levine first, anyone else a far and distant second. He also has a habit of not paying those that work on his little projects, or giving them the run around. So while I appreciate some of what he has done in the distant past, there is pretty good reason why so many don't like to credit him, and almost all of that is down to who he is and how he acts and treats people. Being a fan of Who, or even someone who has at times aided Whodom in general, does not automatically excuse him for being a completely poisonous and odious jerk. My personal opinion anyhow.
Oct. 28, 2012, 10:47 a.m. CST
by Kathryn Gail
Oct. 28, 2012, 11:33 a.m. CST
by Kathryn Gail
. . .or I guess comics was really last week (here in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region, my Storm Coming, Time to Hibernate' response is resisting any amount of coffee) but anyway: http://io9.com/5955524/russell-t-davies-pitched-a-doctor-who-graphic-novel-was-turned-down (links to WvA interview that is source of graphic novel claim but that I haven't watched yet due to my gradual metamorphosis into a sleeping bear). I was not fully aware of Ian Levine at all! He sounds like a daily newspaper comic character we wake up loving to hate every single day, so I'm sad to have been missing his antics as they unfolded in real tim. . . I was also not aware Carol Ann Ford was so brilliantly qualified for a much more exciting Susan. When I first started watching about a dozen geological ages ago, I thought the BBC was sooooo cool for casting someone who so captures the look of a real-life, early-60s trendy schoolgirl rather than a cookie-cutter pop star type, but then gradually realized that sadly 'brown hair, no false lashes' could have been an early-60s TV exec's idea of 'unearthly' (this all without having read/heard anything on the subject). Now it turns out she was simply the best qualified all around, but they were too lame to fit in any Avengers-quality action scenes. Or even. . . you know, some of the music was fairly cutting-edge at the time, and the show was successfully somewhat attentive to fashion and fads for much of its run, how good would it have been to have livened up some of the drawn-out exposition scenes with Susan in the background practicing the latest dance crazes to her portable record player while her grandfather grumps about pointless Earth nonsense (or did they ever do that but it was in lost episoded)? But I suppose licensing the music would've put a stop to that, if 'not science-y enough' didn't. Certainly would've raised the bar for later companions, though!
Oct. 28, 2012, 6:47 p.m. CST
Is because it is the truth. That is the problem we have with 2E of late. Yes, it is good to get the DVDs. However, the attitude behind the release is pathetic. I've had more than my fair share of run-ins with people behind the DVDs, and they do troll the fans quite a bit. The decision process by which 2E decides "let's not do something" like the Galaxy Four Recon (already paid for!), or the way the Aztecs is being forced as a double-dip for people who want the Galaxy Four episode shows quite a bit of their attitude towards the fans. Ian has had a constant number of people trolling him, lying about him, attacking him so as to disrupt any good he can do. He has done more than just save the Daleks -- to make it as if that is all he did is insane. Yes, he has an attitude. Everyone in the real world does, especially if they are constantly mistreated. Yet, to say he only does for himself is a lie. He WANTS to release the things he funds. He was willing to give Shada to 2E. He isn't just about himself.
Oct. 28, 2012, 10:58 p.m. CST
Honestly I won't waste the effort to talk any more about Ian Levine, it's just not worth the bother. You want to paint him up as some martyr that the whole world is out to mistreat and misrepresent for no real reason whatsoever, then go right ahead. It's not even remotely the truth, but I've said my piece, and I don't see any point to say anything more, or go any deeper into it, so I'll leave it at that.
Oct. 29, 2012, 1:11 a.m. CST
Also, I find the whole 'I offered them Shada for free and they didn't take it just to be petty' thing all a bit smoke and mirrors really...
A few points. 1. Tom Baker would only record his voice for Levine's project for eight grand, and that was at the time when this was still being advertised to all involved parties as a strictly personal non commercial project. Levine passed, and got a sound alike (who even most in the pro-Levine camp admit isn't altogether convincing). Tom Baker's fee to the BBC in order to record dialogue for a worldwide commercial release would be considerably higher than the fee requested of Levine. Even if they didn't get Baker to loop dialogue (which could potentially raise legal issues) they would still have to get Baker's permission and and pay Baker an agreed upon fee for using his likeness in the animation, and possibly also for the rights to even use a sound-alike. In the case of the latter they could potentially open themselves up to possible legal action on the grounds of misrepresentation unless the dvd were clearly marked as the animated sections being voiced by another party that was not Tom Baker. 2. Levine didn't pay for all of this out of his own pocket, he took money and other contributions from other fans in order to do so. He also sought no rights for doing any of this ahead of time, but instead produced it on the grounds of a non-profit, non commercial and private project. 3. Levine did not have the contracted clearances from all those involved in order to sell and distribute the work as part of a commercial entity and on a worldwide basis. Therefore every single person involved (who were initially hired, again, for what they likely believed to be private, non commercial project), would need to sign clearances and be re-contracted, a rather expensive process, even in the unlikely event that no one actually wanted additional money for their participation. The after the fact fees associated with attaining all of the required rights, clearance issues, contracts and so forth would hardly be cheap, again, even if all the people involved didn't want any extra money. 4. Levine made the decision to match certain things to the original script, rather than what was actually shot, therefore there are parts of the animation that would likely be needed to be slightly reworked, in order to make the transition more fluid, and better match the live action material. From all accounts, Levine steadfastly refused to allow any such changes when the viability of using the animated Shada footage was under discussion. 5. The quality of the animation. I'm not just talking about does it look good enough, though there is always that question, I'm talking more along the lines of has it been created in such a way as to allow for it to be transferred in optimum quality at appropriate size to the dvd format. Because fixing animation content after the fact to release quality requirements can be a very tricky and expensive thing to do (I was actually involved in a low budget animation project that screwed that up, it was going to cost so much to fix that the entire project was shelved). Now I don't know the answer to this one, only that it is another consideration that could, once again, add considerable cost to the project. Let us also not forget the fact that each DVD release has a set budget, and that any money that was spent on the animation in order to address these issues would have to come from somewhere, so again implying that Levine's Shada animation would cost then nothing (or very little), and that they have no excuse for not including it on the dvd release, is, frankly, at best extremely misleading, and at worst, a blatant miss-truth. Now with all that said, sure, I still would have liked to see it, and even though I think he goes about things the wrong way far too often, and I'm not personally a fan of the guy on a personal level, I do give props to Ian Levine for actually being passionate enough to try stuff like this, I just think it is a great shame that his nature and certain personality traits, as well as a refusal to work co-operatively with others, so often gets in the way and messes things up. Not that he'd ever admit any of that.
Oct. 30, 2012, 8:33 a.m. CST
I know part 1 was yesterday and part 2 is today. I'm curious to see how RTD's new show does.
Oct. 30, 2012, 8:34 a.m. CST
Is anybody besides me getting flashbacks to 1989-1996 from these Torchwood announcements? It's deja vu all over again...
Nov. 2, 2012, 12:54 a.m. CST
Um, Ian Levine wanted Nicholas Courtney to record dialogue on his death bed, and had to be talked out of asking him to do so...
He also asked Nicholas Courtney's son, at his father's funeral no less(!), to loop his father's missing dialogue for the same fan project. What with Nicholas Courtney being so unprofessional as to up and die before doing some voice work for Levine's little audio drama and all. That right there says everything you need to know about Levine and his view of the world. There's insensitive. There's blinkered. Then there's Ian Levine.
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