Monday, February 25, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary: The Tomb of The Cybermen by @cheezypeas

Doctor Who:
The Tomb of The Cybermen
Reviewed By Nicky Pugh

"You belong to us. You shall be like us".

As we are still reviewing the Second Doctor’s era for the 50th Anniversary, you can’t help but feel sadness, due to the many incomplete or lost stories. As much as we all keep our fingers crossed that some of these missing gems will be discovered in some dusty attic, we have to be realistic that as time goes on, the chances of finding anymore in playable, restorable condition diminishes.

However, we are lucky to have some stories and episodes that survived the infamous BBC “junking” of the 60’s, one of which, Matt Smith himself has disclosed as his all-time favorites.

And what a fantastic story to pick, Mr. Smith!

Out of the many encounters the Doctor has had with the Cybermen, this story is one that many fans agree with Matt on, and consider it as arguably one of the best.

It begins with the proud Doctor showing his new companion Victoria, around the TARDIS. They land somewhere looking suspiciously like a quarry, and bump into a suspicious expedition group, trying to gain access through an odd looking door set within the cliff, which has clearly been booby trapped. When Parry, the leader mentions Cybermen, the Doctor becomes worried and tries to talk them out of their dangerous quest.

Once inside, this seemingly cohesive team begins to show cracks. Kaftan, seems obsessed with finding ways to incapacitate Victoria whenever she can. Kelig, is keen to thaw the Cybermen in their icy tomb. The Doctor, Jamie and other members of the expedition try to stop him, with fatal results. As the ice melts, an iconic scene of the Cybermen stirring from their icy slumber emerges. Kelig, and Kaftan then disclose they are part of a group who believe the Cybermen’s immense power will complement their advanced intelligence and that they will become allies by freeing them. Of course, they didn’t bank on the Cybermen not being interested in collaborating with them, and it’s a race against time to get the Cybermen and their nimble Cybermats back into their icy tomb. 

The initial scene involving The Doctor and his companions is wonderful, the passion, pride and love the Doctor has for the TARDIS is clear to see, and coupled with Jamie’s gentle ribbing it makes the beginning of a pretty sinister story very light hearted. You can tell all three of them had a good rapport behind the cameras. Then of course there is the scene with Victoria feeling self-conscious about her dress, and the Doctor commenting about Jamie’s, infusing the story with more humour. Who could forget, the infamous hand holding either...

The age of the story is pretty evident, with racism and sexism being acceptable at that point in time. It is a bit of a shock to see it so prominently within a show that saw millions of families watching every week, but luckily what we find socially acceptable has evolved since then.

Having listened to what other fans think of the Cybermen themselves, primitive and “annoying voices” have been mentioned quite a bit. Personally, I think they were perfect for their era, and people should be mindful, this was the 60’s after all, you’re not going to get 2013 SFX or the larger budget either. Their design was pretty complex for that time, and they did scare people back then. If we weren’t spoilt by today’s special effects ruining our imagination and making our expectations more and more unrealistic, we would still find these Cybermen as a scary as they were back then. In fact, they are still creepier as you can see they are people, not just stomping pieces of metal.

I thought the scene with Victoria and the Doctor talking about losing loved ones and keeping their memory alive very touching and a perfect scene to break up the darkness of the story.  What the Doctor tells Victoria makes you think about how little we know about his past and particularly his family. The tragic, yet fond glaze in his eyes as he talks with Victoria is prominent. It makes you ask questions about his family, and makes you wonder how Susan is getting on after their heartbreaking farewell.  The Doctor demonstrates how much he cares for his companions.

Kaftan and Kelig are particularly unlikable characters, which really help you to root for the Doctor and members of the expedition with some common sense. I did found Kaftan particularly unsavory, especially with her relentless campaign to overcome poor Victoria.

I adore this story. It’s a wonderful, classic and utilizes the Cybermen perfectly. The characters are a perfectly balanced mix of good and evil.

No comments:

Post a Comment